By profession, Nina Bruhns is really an archaeologist (an Egyptologist) but she has worked all kinds of jobs, from real estate to a fabric store clerk to a student counselor at the Fulbright Commission in Stockholm, Sweden. Her favorite was a work-study job in grad school (go U of C!), reorganizing the ancient Egyptian pottery at the University of Chicago’s famous Oriental Institute. The pay was lousy, but holding ceramic jars actually touched by Ramses II and King Tut was awe-inspiring and unbelievably exciting.
Her novels have earned such prestigious honors as the National Readers’ Choice Award, the overall Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Supense (three times), the Dorothy Parker Award (five times), and been nominated for the RITA Award (twice).
My love of Egypt started long ago, while poring through the beautiful books my librarian mother had collected through her interest in ancient art. That love has continued for most of my life, resulting in three degrees in archaeology and Egyptology . . . along with a series of world adventures that have worked their way into my books.
When I was on my first archaeological expedition to northern Sudan (which was part of Egypt in ancient times, and my area of specialty) the team stayed in a tiny village on the Nile. The rumor was that this village was frequented by more vampires than anywhere else in Africa. When heard that, you can just imagine how freaked out I was. Luckily (or maybe not?) I never actually encountered one.
Later, after giving up the life of Indiana Jones (and it really was amazing) to be a mom (equally amazing), I became a writer (how lucky can one person get?) . . . the next best thing, in my opinion. Okay, in some ways it’s even better. No endless trips in planes and bumpy Land Rovers, no sandstorms, no nasty flies getting into everything, no terrorists threatening to blow up your hotel. And hey, you get to work in your jammies!
Needless to say, I was thrilled when Nocturne encouraged me to write a trilogy set in Egypt, combining the mysterious past with the fascinating present. I came up with the concept of the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS—-three very hunky shape-shifting sheikhs and three sizzling hot romances.
Then my editor suggested I make one of my sheikhs a vampire. Okay. How on earth would that work? That’s when I remembered the vampire-ridden village (who could forget it!) and thought, wow, it really would be interesting to incorporate the incredibly sexy archetype of the vampire lord into the ancient Egyptian pantheon! And on top of that, layer on the seductive modern image of the desert sheikh.
There were not a lot of references to vampirism in Pharaonic times, but I managed to gather and shape the few mentions into a plausible addition to traditional Egyptian mythology, which I then used to build the paranormal world in the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy.
I have to admit, IMMORTAL SHEIKHS was one of my very favorite projects. I loved writing the trilogy in a way that went far deeper than just adoring the characters and losing myself in the fantasy—-though that was certainly true. Writing these books, LORD OF THE DESERT, SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH, and VAMPIRE SHEIKH, was like coming home to old (very old!) friends. Especially the last story—-featuring my one and only vampire.
The hero, Seth, is an immortal demigod, servant of the ancient god Set-Sutekh. His task is to keep the house of his god thriving—-even in today’s modern world when most of the ancient deities have long since vanished and people no longer believe in them. This situation is a strangely interesting parallel to what actually happened back in Pharaonic times, during an era archaeologists call the Intermediate Period. This was a time of vast social, political, and religious upheaval and breakdown, and the literature of the times reflected the deep pessimism and uncertainty experienced by the aristocracy of the day.
The saying “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die,” originated from Egyptian writings of this era.
All this naturally influenced my hero, Seth. As a nobleman from the Old Kingdom, the dawn of Egyptian history, Seth has experienced the collapse and demise of civilization around him many times before. But this time it’s different. This time it is his own beliefs, and his own existence, which are threatened with annihilation.
His salvation comes in a totally unexpected form—-by falling in love.
Vampire, shapeshifter, demigod, leader of men, lover of women, Seth is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever created. I even took a fun liberty . . . I made him the original author of one of the classic pieces of Egyptian literature from ancient times, called The Man Who was Tired of Life: The Conversation of a Man with His Ba (ba means a kind of soul). I figure the copyright ran out long ago, so surely no one would mind.
As always, my heroines are strong, modern-day women who are firmly based in reality and not easy to convince a whole other world exists filled with mystery, magic, and sensual pleasures. It takes the gentle persuasion of three very special men . . . .
I had an incredible time conceiving and writing the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy. I hope you’ll download them and give them a try!
The books came out August and November 2010, and January 2011, and are now available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.
Web Site: NinaBruhns.com