Mary R. Woldering
Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me tonight, Ms. Woldering. I have a few questions so we can learn more about you and your current and future works.
1. Have you always wanted to be an author?
I would have to say that’s a maybe. I wanted to do spectacular things like time travel, being a trapeze artist, a princess, a sea captain, a mad poet, a famous archaeologist, and more, but the bottom line was that I wanted to have adventures and then write them down.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
I couldn’t find anything in my Junior High School Library that I wanted to read, so I started writing stories and reading them to friends.
3. What is the name of your latest novel?
It’s the third book in my Children of Stone Series – Opener of the Sky
4. How did you come up with the concept for your novel?
There’s a novel in that too! Friends and I explored spirituality when I was in college. Part of the study was self-styled “ghostbusting” and past-life regressions which were more like time travel to other time periods. The crazy part was that what we saw started checking out years later. The series is based on the things we saw.
5. Who is your favorite character and why?
That is tough. I like them for different reasons. Marai of course is the hero, but he’s fragile and naïve in his own way. Ariennu is the wild child in my inner self, given permission to be promiscuous and make decisions I’d never make in my own life. Maatkare Raemkai is just plain hot and wicked – the man who will just do you wrong but you want him to.
6. Who is your least favorite character and why?
I don’t have one. I love all of them.
7. Which character do you relate to the most and why?
As above, Ariennu – her rash decisions, her obsessions, she’s my hidden wild side
8. Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your readers to grasp?
Our lives are combinations of choices on the road to wisdom, but decisions we make along the way constantly re-write out script. Important to keep growing and learning right up until the end. If you are breathing you’re not done.
9. What books have influenced you the most?
Why? Books? I guess anything Edgar Allan Poe wrote. Herman Melville. I was also fond of Robert E. Howard’s pulp Conan the Barbarian adventures…Evangeline Walton’s Island of the Mighty Series… folk tales and hero stories of all lands. One of Kola Boof’s books: The Sexy Part of the Bible
10. Who are a few of your favorite authors?
Those mentioned above. I’ve never been one to read the popular works.
11. What author would you love to have a conversation with?
Kola Boof. We are Facebook friends but have never met. Any of the above and also Stan Lee.
12. Any future projects you would like to talk about?
Book 4 of the series Heart of the Lotus also some spinoff novellas with the series characters visiting other eras. One I started was Miss Hattie and the Hoppers which is a steampunk mystery.
I have also written portions of a post-Roman Celtic saga tentatively called Raven (something…) I wrote a historical fiction set in 19th century England & America, and one set in 16th century Spanish Mexico. And there is the modern Dionysus story…
13. If you could start again, is there anything you would change in your latest book? The latest one?
No. I plan to tune up the first book Voices in Crystal and part of the second at some distant date.
14. Is there a short excerpt of your current book that you would like to share?
Without giving too many spoilers, Ariennu and Naibe have been serving as concubines of King Menkaure. Hordjedtef, the king’s uncle and a high priest, has had them kidnapped and rushed up the river as potential threats on the king’s life. Their captor is his sadistic grandson. Using her own psychic ability Ariennu visits in the form of a brown hawk. She is attempting to get a message to his majesty to send someone to save them.
“Where are they? I want them brought to me at once!” she heard the king roar and saw him struggle to his feet while his grooms fell to their knees, his clothing in their hands. One man held out the pleated linen that formed the king’s shendyt, but Menkaure swatted at the air near them and the man shrank back knowing he could be punished with instant death. Menkaure paced for a moment then noticed his own nakedness and tersely beckoned for one of his grooms to fasten and belt his clothing neatly. He beckoned the other man who held his ordinary khat to put it on him and to clasp his pectoral at his throat.
“Lady Naibe…” The king called “Lady ArreNu.”
“Your Majesty.” a low and timid voice suggested the king calm himself enough for the kohl to be painted around his eyes.
Ariennu saw guards returning up the stairs strong-arming the young concubines, Irika and Suenma, who had been rude to her right before the party commenced. They had been chosen by the king to entertain him after the party but when Menkaure had seen Naibe’s dance his plans changed. The women froze at the door, reading the king’s displeasure. The guards behind them pushed them to the floor in an attitude of worship.
“Where are they? What have you done to them? Then “Guard your words with your worthless and jealous lives.”
Ariennu shuddered, almost ready to leave that scene. She had seen the king mildly happy, tired, depressed, slightly ill and even paternal but never enraged to the point of breathlessness. The concubines were clinging to each other and crying. Menkaure slumped into his wicker day chair and had the guards bring them closer, pushing them face-down on the floor before him.
“You two know something. You will tell me everything and if what I hear is not to my liking or if I even begin to sense you are lying to me, your throats shall feel a draft and your last words to your Father will be an apology.”
He pointed to Irika first.
“You… You did not like my fire haired healing woman…or the young goddess-girl.” He shifted in his chair uncomfortably. “You spoke ill of my young dancer as if you told a joke, but I knew your spiteful heart from the day she joined her sister here.” He leaned forward, accusing. “I know you women plot to be with your Father, and to be the star in his eye. This morning Lady Naibe has gone from me when I did not give her leave and her dear sister is missing too.”
The tall and lanky woman whose arm Ariennu remembered twisting when she insulted her, buried her face in her hands. Ari smirked inwardly. I should have become a fly so I could see this closer. Look at that. I could almost laugh at the stupid kuna, scared like that. Not so proud and sure of yourself now, are you?
The sensation of a controlling utterance at the door stirred Ari’s attention. She layered extra secrecy over her hawk shadow and sensed more than saw the elongated skirtlike shendyt that swept gracefully into the room: Count Prince Hordjedtef.
And there it is. The demon himself. Damn! Ari sighed. I see the bastard saving the day for his young pet. Wretched girl knows who has the real power in this place… she watched the elder prince bend to the girl to comfort her and then dismiss both of them.
“Uncle, did you just dare speak for me?” Ari heard the king snarl “I will know what became of the sojourning women who were in my house. The girls were bold enough to speak of their discomfort. I asked for them to be brought for questioning and now you release them?”
Uh-oh. Ari’s vision continued. King Menkaure leapt to his feet and strode to the elder priest in such a rage that for a moment Ari hoped she would see the king liberate the Great One’s head from his neck.
Be strong your Majesty…
He is the one.
He is the architect
She tried to get into the king’s thoughts, but winced when she felt the Great One’s gaze search the outer porch as if he had sensed something.
“I’ve known you as my wise uncle all my life as a young prince and all through the good times and the bad with my heavy crown. I looked up to you, even passing over the advice of my brothers and my good vizier Neb, yet your heart decides it speaks as god?”
Ari knew the king blamed Hordjedtef for her and Naibe’s disappearance. She watched as Menkaure pushed the elder aside and headed for the door. She saw him pause, seize the old man by the top of his collar and yank him close to his rage-darkened face. Ariennu heard his words and felt her heart suddenly drop. She knew her thought had reached him but now she realized she should have kept it to herself.
“Just so you know, Uncle, I have also heard the cry of my sweet child’s soul again through the gifts of these holy women you so callously sent packing. I am taking fine offense at what you have done.” He shook the old man loose from his hand and stormed to the door about to send for his guards.
Ariennu sensed the old man scrambling after the king; trying to get his attention.
“Don’t.” Menkaure turned from his elder. “It seems I’ve listened to your whispering and your spells long enough. You have been holding back and dismissing as fantasy the very truth I knew from the day my heart was torn out. The ladies, without me asking them to do so, brought my sweet one back to me. “I know this is why you sent them away. You are to protect goddess Maat, not bury her or choke her with lies.” The king whirled in another pacing turn. “I will see the best rowers on my swiftest boats sent to take them up and bring them here back to my arms. They are to me more than gold.”
Ariennu bowed her head, feeling an impossible blush of pride.
“But Most High Majesty. Hear me once more and then no more if you wish.” The elder protested. “These women have gained your trust and have cast spells of their own on you I fear. You know their sire was a would be- foreign usurper whom I and my second man Prince Wserkaf apprehended and routed…You had approved all that was done to him at one time.”
Fearless wretch… Ariennu murmured, He’ll turn it around and now I’ll have to watch how it happened. She saw the king pause, then think. Goddess; she thought quickly. Do not listen, Majesty. Do not believe him.
“I did, it’s true.” The king paused, still pacing and becoming even more agitated. “Have I piled on even more evil? Or is it you, Uncle?”
“The fault is also mine to have taken pity on these pleasing ones, Majesty. I discovered that they cast spells on us all with their weeping and grieving, but under it, the whole time they were plotting and planning. I know the elder one whispered to you that you ought to take in her flower teas and creamed broths and not the tonics I labored to produce for you. Remember that soon enough you knew them to be weaker medicine? The younger beauty then came to you in your weakened state and further seized your godly heart.” The Great One of Five straightened. “I feel there was less of love in them for you and more of vengeance.”
Ariennu saw the old man’s secretive gesture and the resulting twinge in the king’s chest. She winced and made a cawing screech.
Ah, Majesty, you see…he said, rushing to Menkaure to heal him with all of the proper series of touches. She saw the elder priest look up once and noticed the reddened glare in his slit-like bird eyes. Everything dissolved around her.
15. Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?
Start publishing much earlier than I did. I wrote for YEARS on spiral notebooks. I had to wait until I retired to really get started. And don’t be a perfectionist to the extent that you feel your work will never be perfect. It won’t be. Just get it out there. Don’t die with the stories untold.
Thank you for stopping by the Desu Beast Blog, Mary. I look forward to reading your series and upcoming releases.