Saturday, October 15, 2011

Anna Patricio Author of the new historical novel ASENATH

Today I am happy to welcome historical novelist Anna Patricio author of ASENATH. To commemorate the occasion, I have prepared a complimentary musical jigsaw puzzle of her book cover for your enjoyment.  In addition, Anna will be awarding a Smashwords' certificate good for one complimentary copy of ASENATH, to one lucky commentator. 

A. I am Anna Patricio, a debut novelist of historical fiction. I have been an ancient history lover since my teens, and pursued formal studies in it at Macquarie University, Australia. I love Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome; and I hope to learn more about the Ancient Near East in the future. I recently travelled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel and Jordan. I definitely plan to return to Egypt and see more of it in the future, as my time there was way too short.

Q. Tell us about your novel, ASENATH.

A. ASENATH is a fictional memoir of the little-known wife of Joseph of
the multicoloured coat fame. I have always been an enthusiast of the
Joseph story and recently, I realised that next to nothing is known
about the woman he married. All the Book of Genesis tells us about her
is that she was the daughter of a priest of On (more famously known as
Heliopolis). When I looked up Asenath, I found practically nothing
about her. My curiosity about her then paved the way for imagination.

Q. What was it about historical fiction that captured your fancy?

A. I suppose it is because first and foremost, I am an ancient history
lover. Secondly, when writing historical fiction, I get to explore a
world different from the one I live in. I have a bit of a wanderlust,
I guess, so I really appreciate this. If I wrote contemporary fiction,
I would be limited to the same old environment.
Not that there is anything wrong with contemporary settings - who
knows, I may try it sometime in the future. But for now, I have no
intention to leave historical fiction. Especially Egyptian fiction.

Q. Do you have an all-time favorite historical novel, and what
elements make it your favorite?

A. I love MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden. I love the depths of
passion and emotion conveyed in this novel, especially the heroine's
long-suffering love for her love interest. I like especially the
analogies Golden uses to convey complex emotions - this is a
remarkable feat. And this has been said many times before, but I will
say it again: it's hard to believe a man wrote this book!
I also like the novels of Wilbur Smith and Pauline Gedge who, in my
opinion, are the tops in Egyptian fiction. I love how they bring
Ancient Egypt to life, and I also like the way they develop their
characters. It's very believable, and something everyone can relate
to. Not to mention that these 2 authors have managed to "humanise" the
Ancient Egyptians - portray them as real people. Usually, they are
portrayed as larger than life.

Q. How do you research your novels?

A. Well, I have a degree in ancient history, so this has been made
tons easier, less overwhelming. Not to mention that I have already
read much about Joseph prior to writing my novel - I read midrash
stories, Jewish folktales, and even some episodes from the Koran.
So when the time came to research on ASENATH, I looked at my
notes/syllabi and also headed to the library of my alma mater.

On Writing:

Q. Is there anything you absolutely must have in order to write?

A. Absolute, cemetery-like silence. I can't write when there's a lot
of noise around. I tried writing with classical music, but even that
was distracting. So yes, I need total silence.

Q. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

A. Overcoming writers' block, I guess. Sometimes, I want to write but
can't, for some reason. Eventually, it becomes clear that I won't be
able to write for the day.
But more difficult than that was searching for publication. At times,
I got really disheartened. But then, I landed a contract with Imajin
Books. It took me nearly a year, but it was worth it.

Q. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write?

A. It's very spontaneous, I have no specific routine. At the moment, I
am doing some promotion for my novel, so I haven't written in a while.
But when I do write, it is normally at night. I work better in the
evening, for some reason. I can't concentrate during the daytime,
although that is when I cook up ideas.
And I suppose I can write anywhere, as long as it is in a quiet place.
I tried writing in an airport, but it didn't work.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your life online and the sites you maintain.

A. I have a blog at I am also on the
social networking sites Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Just For Fun:

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. "Sometimes, the only way to get through adversity is to imagine
what our lives might be like if out dreams came true." -Arthur Golden,

Q. Where is your favorite place to read?

A. In my room at night, before going to sleep.

Q. What is your favorite non ancient history novel and author, and why?

A. I suppose JANE EYRE, which is in the Classics genre? Like MEMOIRS
OF A GEISHA, this is a story of a woman who overcomes adversity and
finds happiness in the end. I love those sorts of stories.
(MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and JANE EYRE, by the way, were inspirations for ASENATH.)

Q. If you were a supernatural or mythological entity, what, or who,
would you be, and why?

A. A faery - or any creature with wings. I would really love to fly!

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you
desperately want with you, and why?

A. My iPod, because I can't live without music; my furry blanket, as
that could definitely come in handy; and a super thick novel to keep
my brain cells from stagnating.


Please take a moment to comment before leaving as one random winner will receive a Smashwords coupon good for an e-copy of Asenath, and remember to download your complimentary musical jigsaw puzzle of the cover of Asenath. 
Smiles & Good Reading,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915


  1. What a beautiful cover! You've got me hooked!
    A wonderful idea for a story to. Best of luck.
    Grace x

  2. It is a stunning cover, isn't it. Very striking.

  3. The cover is delightful. I wish you the best.