Book Summary: The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The time-traveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter. The cat is quick-witted, wise-cracking narrator as well as free-spirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy. The cat travels from present-day New York City to England, both ancient and modern, then to ancient Egypt, where he confronts a horrible demon and experiences a sublime emotion. Once back in England, he descends into a psychological abyss so deep only the Pharaoh can save him. The Eye of Nefertiti interweaves feline and human, past and present, natural and supernatural. It contains numerous surprises, twists and turns, intriguing characters, both human and animal, fascinating revelations about ancient Egyptian history and culture, and an ingenious application of the Tarot and an Italian opera.
How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book,’The Eye of Nefertiti’?
I didn’t want to abandon my cat or the little family I’d created at the end of The Pharaoh’s Cat and felt the cat could further evolve emotionally and psychologically if he faced new obstacles and experienced new feelings. The Egyptian queen Nefertiti was also an inspiration. I’ve always been fascinated by her famous bust and the part she played in Egyptian history.
Did you already have your book, ‘The Eye of Nefertiti’, planned following the completion of your first book in the series, ‘The Pharaoh’s Cat’, or did it take some time to figure out where you wanted the storyline to venture to next?
When I was writing The Pharaoh’s Cat, I knew that there would be a sequel and Nefertiti would be involved. I spent several months researching Nefertiti and figuring out how to bring her and my cat together.
How many books have you written (published and unpublished)? Which is your favorite?
So far just the two, The Pharaoh’s Cat and The Eye of Nefertiti. Though both novels have the same major characters, they’re quite different. I can’t say The Eye of Nefertiti is my favorite, but it’s certainly more complex.
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
I combine different elements that are familiar and important to me. I describe my novel as comedy, fantasy, historical. Had I limited myself to a single genre, I couldn’t have written the novel I wanted to, a novel that reflected my interests and personality. I was inspired not only by my love of cats and fascination with ancient Egypt, but also by the creative freedom of comedy and fantasy.
What inspires you?
All the cats I’ve ever known–there have been many!–and my fascination with ancient Egypt. Also, since I enjoy comedy, I couldn’t resist the challenge of making ancient Egypt funny by having a wise-cracking ancient Egyptian cat as my protagonist and narrator.
What do you like to read in your free time?
Mysteries very often. Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford series has always delighted me.
Does music influence your writing, particularly when you are working on a certain scene or, do you prefer to write in silence?
I prefer silence, and get my best ideas at night when it’s very silent.
What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
Besides my love for cats, my fascination with ancient Egypt, and the creative freedom of comedy and fantasy, I’m inspired by life. I live on the Upper West Side of New York City, and as I did in The Pharaoh’s Cat, I used my neighborhood as one of the settings in The Eye of Nefertiti. In Nefertiti my cat leaves New York for Bath, England, before returning to ancient Egypt. I’ve spent a lot of time in Bath and know the beautiful Georgian city quite well. It’s one of my favorite places. When I was planning my sequel, I knew Bath would play a major part in it. Also, I enjoy going to flea markets, and my cat visits a Bath flea market.
What character in your book, ‘The Eye of Nefertiti’, are you least likely to get along with?
I could get along with any of the major characters, including my villain who, though evil, is also quite charming and funny. But I don’t like one of my secondary characters, the merchant who leads my cat to the royal tomb. He’s an ignorant drunkard who cheats his workers, and he tries to sit on the back of a pathetic donkey that couldn’t possibly carry his weight.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not new so much as contemporary. Martin Amis, Will Short, and Ian McEwan.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing ‘The Eye of Nefertiti’ to life?
Researching ancient Egypt thoroughly so that everything I said about it would be completely accurate, then integrating the information into the narrative without it sounding like something from a text book. With Nefertiti, I had to make sure that what’s known about her and her famous bust with the missing eye would be fully compatible with what I invented.
What books were among your childhood favorites and why?
Fairy tales, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dostoyevsky’s stories. Later, Kingley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog and The Master and Margarita. Lucky Jim is marvelously funny and Bulgakov’s two novels are fantasies with humor. My cat has some of Lucky Jim in him, and my novels owe much to Bulgakov’s.
What were the earliest inklings that you would someday become a writer?
I’ve sketched and painted, and writing seemed a natural extension. Writing seems to be in my blood. My mother wrote a memoir of her experiences in Rome during the war, and one of my brothers is a noted Italian art critic and the author of several books and numerous articles.
THE EYE OF NEFERTITI
Author: Maria Luisa Lang
Publisher: Maria Luisa Lang
Genre: Literature & Fiction / Genre Fiction / Historical / Fantasy
Price: $8.35 (Paperback) Kindle (Unlimited)
Available at: Amazon.com
Maria Luisa Lang has published two novels, The Pharaoh’s Cat and The Eye of Nefertiti, which is both a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat and a stand-alone novel. She was born in Rome, Italy, and lives in New York City. She often returns to Italy to visit her family and has stayed for extended periods in Bath and London. She has a degree in art from the City University of New York, and her artwork has been exhibited in New York galleries. She is an amateur Egyptologist. Her love of cats and ancient Egypt has inspired her to write two novels set there with a very special cat as her protagonist.
Both The Pharaoh’s Cat and The Eye of Nefertiti are available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition.