I'm back with another awesome author interview today to talk writing, books, and chips or chocolate!
Check it out...
Malayna Evans was raised in the mountains of Utah and spent her childhood climbing, reading Sci-Fi, and finding trouble. She earned her Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian history from the University of Chicago and has used her education to craft a time-travel series set in ancient Egypt: book one is Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh and book two is Aria Jones and the Guardian's Wedja. Book three is coming in 2021. Malayna lives in Oak Park, IL, with her two kids, a rescue dog, and a hedgehog. She's passionate about coffee, travel, and visiting classrooms to proselytize about ancient Egypt.
Twelve-year-old Aria Jones loves nothing more than a good adventure. But when she and her big brother Jagger are summoned back to ancient Egypt from their South Side Chicago home, danger lurks around every corner.
Can Aria use her newfound superpowers to track the evil general and his sidekick in order to save Princess Tatia and the gods of ancient Egypt? Or will the evil sun god banish magic from the land and destroy the royal family—and Aria’s own—in the process?
The adventure continues when Aria and Jagger reunite with good friends, forge new alliances, and battle old enemies. This time, Aria must find a way to interpret a troublesome prophecy if she and Jagger are to return home, safe and sound.
Grab your copies here!
Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh
Aria Jones and the Guardian's Wedja
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m a single mom, and an ancient historian by training. I don’t work in the field—well, I teach a women in the ancient world class from time to time—but I spent a good decade studying ancient history, first Greece and Rome, then Egypt and Mesopotamia, finally earning a Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian history from University of Chicago. So most of what I write is set in ancient Egypt, although I have a few MG manuscripts I’m playing with that are entirely modern. But sharing my passion for the ancient world, and educating today’s young readers on the many ways ancient Egypt shaped how we live today, is a huge motivator for me.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
My first series was inspired by my son, who, at nine-years-old, told me he wanted to read a book about a kid who looked like him lost in ancient Egypt. JAGGER JONES & THE MUMMY’S ANKH came out last May. Book two, ARIA JONES & THE GUARDIAN’S WEDJA, inspired by my daughter, is coming out on August 25.
When I started to write Jagger and Aria’s story, we were going through a difficult divorce and working on the storyline was a positive thing my kids and I could do together. I’d always wanted to write—I’d tried a few novels previously but nothing came together. This series was different in part because of all the chaos in my life at the time. I found that worrying about what Jagger and Aria would get up to next was a much more comfortable thing to stress over than my real life. Writing became therapeutic for me at the time, and still, years later, I still genuinely enjoy the process. (Can’t quite say the same for editing though, but I’m working on that.)
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
There have been so many unexpected pleasures: making friends with other writers, for example, has been a highlight, and not something I knew would be part of the experience. Visiting school has been another unexpected and fabulous part of the journey. I feel blessed that this lifelong dream has come true, and genuinely excited to see where it takes me next.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The hardest part for me is the tempo. I’m not a patient woman. I do everything quickly and everything in publishing moves slowly. Pretty sure I’ll never get used to that part.
The most enjoyable part has been spending time with kids during school visits and bookclubs and even online. Talking to middle grade readers and learners about what they think ancient Egypt was like, what they would—and wouldn’t—like about being magically transported back in time, and how things like our writing systems and calendars are inherited from Egypt has been a blast.
Would you go back and change anything?
I would actually. When I started writing JAGGER JONES, no one on Earth knew I was working on it except my two kids. Now, I have beta readers and writer friends to share with and, importantly, get feedback from. If I could change anything I’d have shared my work sooner, with more people, and learned earlier how to take and incorporate feedback.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10?
When I first started taking myself seriously as a writer, my goal was to set myself up to retire at 60 and write full time. That’s still the goal … and I’m about eight years away. Fingers crossed!
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Share your work, learn how to use feedback wisely, and embrace editing. Oh wait … that’s three!
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo?
Both! The combo, which my family calls pink sauce, is perfect with fries.
Night or Day?
Inside or Outside?
Outside if there’s a lake, mountain or big city nearby. If not, inside.
Dogs or Cats?
Twitter or Facebook?
Tough one – Facebook for friends and family but Twitter for writer stuff
e-book or Paperback?
Sun or Rain?
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook?
Comedy or Drama?
Chips or Chocolate?
Chips … then chocolate.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!