Hey guys! Today, I'll be featuring an author and her book on my blog. Asenath is a historical romance set in ancient Egypt. What's more, the main characters in the book are even biblical characters! Now, I haven't read the book yet, so I cannot tell you what I think of it. But I will say this. When I first saw the blurb, I was instantly intrigued and got it off Amazon immediately (it was free at the time). I hadn't even been contacted by the author yet, so I had no influence whatsoever. It just completely captured me!
Asenath by Anna Patricio
Two Destinies...One Journey of Love
In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman's daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.
When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.
Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.
Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?
Anna Patricio is a lover of ancient history, with a particular interest in Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. She is also intrigued by the Ancient Near East, though she has not delved too much into it but hopes to one day.
She undertook formal studies in Ancient History at Macquarie University. She focused mostly on gyptology and Jewish-Christian Studies, alongside a couple of Greco-Roman units, and one on Archaeology. Though she knew there were very limited job openings for ancient history graduates, she pursued her degree anyway as it was something she had always been passionate about.
Then, about a year after her graduation, the idea to tackle historical fiction appeared in her head, and she began happily pounding away on her laptop. ASENATH is her first novel.
Recently, she traveled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel, and Jordan. She plans to return to Egypt soon, and see more of it. In the past, she has also been to Athens and Rome.
Anna is currently working on a second novel, which still takes place in Ancient Egypt, but hundreds of years after ASENATH.
And now, let's welcome Anna to the blog to have a little chat with us! :)
Hey! It’s lovely to have you on the blog today! So, shall we begin? J
Hello Victoria, thank you for having me. Yes, we shall!
For starters, why not tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
I am a debut author. My novel Asenath is set in Ancient Egypt and is about the little-known wife of Joseph of the coat-of-many-colours.
Being an author of historical fiction, it might come as a surprise that I used to detest history as a child. I thought it was a tremendous bore. This is probably because in my younger years, I equated history with having to memorise lengthy lists of dates and names. Hence, whenever I would hear about something history-related, I would immediately tune out.
However, in my second year of high school, I had a brilliant teacher who was like a storyteller. She made history come alive, not to mention she did not make me memorise anything either. Not only did I truly learn about history, I even began to love it.
When I entered university, I decided hands down that I would study Ancient History. If my childhood self were to see me today, I think she would get the shock of her life.
Last year, I had the pleasure of traveling to the setting of my novel. My mum and I went on a bonding excursion to Egypt, Israel and Jordan. It was a wonderful experience. I will especially never forget climbing Mt. Sinai. It wasn’t easy, admittedly, but it is something I would not have wanted to miss out on.
As for something not many people know… hmm… well, this is totally random: I can’t eat onions. I cannot stand them. I guess this came to mind because many folks seem to be astonished whenever I mention this.
I used to be able to tolerate onions though. However, one day I ate a pizza that had too many onion slices in it. Since then, I have been careful to avoid them. Whenever I order food, I always ask the server if there are any onions in it, and if so, could they please exclude them.
What made you want to become a writer?
I have always been inclined to writing since childhood. That is to say, I felt more capable of it than, say, sports, singing, dancing, drawing etc. Whenever I wrote something for school, I would always get positive feedback.
However, I had trouble with writing outside of school requirements. The reason was simple: I did not know what it was that I wanted to write. I tried my hand at various things, mostly poetry and short stories (and I never thought to attempt a novel). But it felt and looked forced. So I thought perhaps writing was a fleeting thing.
Not long after my graduation from uni though, the idea to write a novel suddenly appeared to me. I don’t know why and how it happened, but I am glad it came. Now, as long as I can write, I will be happy.
So in short: I did not look for the writing life. It found me.
Do you have any hidden talents? *wink*
Well, I make pretty good spaghetti, satay, and fritata! Though of course, I wouldn’t make them at the same time.
What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
With Asenath, that was pretty easy. I have been an enthusiast of the Joseph story for a long time. Though for the record, I am not too crazy about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. It’s not really my type of thing.
Anyhow, I grew really curious about his wife Asenath. There did not seem to be much mention of her. I looked her up and found hardly anything on her.
I then thought to imagine what she might have been like. And I have actually been playing around with ideas for a novel about her since my uni days. In between my studies, I would write these really random scenes.
Backtracking a bit, I ought to add that when the writing idea came to me, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take the Asenath novel to the next level. Or, to be more precise, to seriously work on it. So I did.
Probably, I might not have thought to imagine about Asenath’s life if I had not been introduced to the historical fiction genre. Back in the day, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as historical fiction – and it could be because I eschewed from all things history, due to my previous perception about it. But not long after I came to love history, an acquaintance recommended to me Wilbur Smith’s River God. Since then, I have been hooked.
Are your characters based off real people, or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Both. With principle characters though, I have an easier time basing them on people I know. I won’t mention names though.
But I think it’s enriching that I’ve met all sorts of people, both the good and the bad. These experiences have richly contributed to my writing.
Could you tell us a bit about your book and why it is a must-read?
As I mentioned, it is a fictional memoir of Joseph’s wife. It is written entirely from the POV of Asenath, though Joseph still figures prominently in it.
The Bible mentions that she is the daughter of a high priest. In my novel, she is the priest’s adopted daughter. Her origins are in an inconspicuous fishing village along the Nile. When a group of marauders ransack the village and murder her family, she and other orphans are rescued and brought to the temple, where she is later adopted.
The story of Joseph is one of the world’s most beloved tales, enjoyed by people regardless of their faith. I thus thought it would be interesting to present his story as seen through the eyes of the woman he would marry.
What do you love most about the writing process?
I guess the mere fact that I am doing something I truly enjoy. There is nothing more fulfilling than having a job you truly love.
And of course, do you have a particular favorite character? I know an author will love most if not all of the characters he/she creates, but I’m sure there must be a favorite of yours! So who is it, and why?
This may sound totally predictable, but I would have to say Joseph and Asenath. They have been really fun to work with. Some readers have been suggesting to me a sequel of Asenath. And why not? I’d love to meet up with Joseph and Asenath again. They’re a lovely couple.
Will you tell us a little about your plans for the future, and maybe other books that are in the works? (Ideas thought out, perhaps even a rough draft?)
The abovementioned Asenath sequel is probably still something for the farther future. Currently, I am working on a novel set during the time of Moses.
I know it seems planned out that after writing about Joseph, I would write about Moses. But like what happened with Asenath, the idea found me! I totally was not expecting it.
This time, my heroine will be the princess who adopts him. She is not as obscure as Asenath, but again, not much is mentioned about her. So it will be nice to explore her emotions and motivations.
And now, just some little random questions!
All hues of purple – lavender, indigo, violet, orchid etc.
Egypt and Israel. Plus my house. It’s a sanctuary.
I have a lot, but these are my tops: Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha (which, I must say, influence Asenath), Wilbur Smith’s River God and Warlock, Alex G. Chappell’s Joseph and Asenath, and Gilbert Morris’ Till Shiloh Comes.
Favorite genre? (and why, if you like)
Historical and Biblical fiction, needless to say. Although I also try to expand my horizons. I pretty much enjoyed Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, which I read some years ago
To end off, is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
May you always drink from the Nile. (A common Egyptian blessing.)
Hmm, I think that should be about it for today! It was a pleasure to have you on the blog today! Wishing you all the best in your career! :D
Thank you, Victoria. My pleasure as well. Have a lovely day.
So yep, that's about it for today! Thanks for visiting!
My name's Victoria and I love to read! And I guess no matter how busy I am, I'll always find time to read because you can't stop a passion, can you? I love netball, especially shooting, there's just something so peaceful about it, isn't there?
I started blogging in 2011, around November. I've fallen in love with it. Blogging about books just is so fun. Of course, I haven't been the most active of bloggers due to school:( Hopefully that will change now that I'm finally free!
But above all, I love my Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior. I've put my trust in Him. Because I know that no matter what, He will never forsake me nor leave me.
If I have inadvertently used any of your material without proper linking, do contact me immediately and I will take it down at once/link the material to you, whichever you prefer. I do try my best not to use any copyrighted material (especially for photos) but sometimes I lack attribution due to ignorance.