Hi everyone and welcome to our very first Author Interview! Today’s guinea pig/author is Tori Fletcher, author of “In the Shadows of the Pyramids”.
So Tori, hello! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you raised, what major childhood events marked you, and what major adult events have shaped you?
Tori: I was born and raised in Louisa, Kentucky, a tiny little map dot in the south. A major childhood event that marked me was my thirteenth and fourteenth year. In which, I attended six funerals for loved ones. It led to a lot of darkness and a very extended bout of depression. Adult events that have shaped me is doing things on my own, staying away from relationships, toxic and otherwise. I’ve learned volumes about myself, my own demons, my own ghosts in the last three or four years, which led me back to my writing.
Interesting! And how have these major events affected your writing?
Tori: The deaths that I mentioned earlier basically shoved me into darkness, as it did my writing. For the first year or two after the deaths, I continued writing, but I stopped soon after. I spent my entire high school career only writing when my English classes demanded it. It was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made to date. But, thankfully I picked it back up and reignited my passions for reading and writing. Thus far, I’ve learned how to harness the darkness I face into my writing. My latest writing professor told me my work was reminiscent of Poe, which was the highest praise for me.
Oh, Poe! What a compliment indeed! But what inspired you to start writing and When did you start writing?
Tori: It may sound cliché and broken record-ish but reading made me want to start writing. I was in love with book as much as I am now when I was little, so I spent a lot of my time in the library. I remember being in my elementary school’s library, I was looking for the Spiderwick Chronicles and thought, how cool would it be to see my own name on these shelves? So, I began writing, mostly nonsense, fairy tales and fan fiction, but it began and hasn’t ended, however grateful I am for that.
I think we’re all grateful you’ve kept writing 🙂 Now, what’s been your personal biggest stumbling block when it comes to writing?
Tori: It’s definitely my eagerness to spoil my own plot twists. I get into my writing so fast, that my characters let every secret come tumbling out of their mouths. I’m working on lengthening my work, ITSOTP is the first nearly full-length book I’ve written, edited, finished, and published. An even longer one (hopefully) is in the works right now.
Well congratulations on that! I really hope your works can lengthen up the way you want them to. But, what is more important to you, character development or plot?
Tori: Character development, for sure. I find that if my characters, my people, aren’t relatable, aren’t actually people, then the story they’re telling isn’t going to matter. I myself enjoy reading a book the most when I can connect with a character, so that’s what I try to do for my readers as well.
What makes your work and this one in particular special?
Tori: I believe that the combination of my gentle, want-to-please-everyone nature and the fierce darkness mix well together. I think it makes my work good, emotional even. ITSOTP is special in this way too because my characters sometimes let their emotions get in their way, sometimes they use them to their advantage and others’ demise. I’ve never read a story like it, even though I may be the smallest bit biased, I honestly believe I’ve never even heard of a story about Egyptian slaves turned vampires.
True, haha, I’ve never really read anything like it either! So, what happened ‘behind’ this book? Any funny stories that occurred to you?
Tori: The ‘behind the scenes’ of this book isn’t very interesting, I’m afraid. The story dawned on me as I was watching The Prince of Egypt for the millionth time. Coincidentally, I’d just finished binging The Vampire Diaries, and I thought, what if I were to combine the stories (sort of)? Of course, I didn’t follow the movie exactly, or even closely. I simply used the setting, theology, as well as the stories of the slaves in that movie. I didn’t follow The Vampire Diaries either, as it were. But, I feel like those two things were the driving points in creating this story. While I was writing it, the story started out simple, but as the characters grew, in history and numbers, it became more complicated in a good way.
Complicated can be hard though! What was the most difficult thing about writing this book?
Tori: The most difficult thing about writing this book was discovering that one of its main themes was death and overcoming your own circumstances. Like almost everyone, I fear death the most out of everything, so it was difficult to face down the chasm that yawned open as I was writing ITSOTP. I’ve only had the minimal circumstances, I know that, but I felt these characters’ grief, heartbreak, and other emotions like I feel my own, so it felt real. It felt like I’d experienced everything, and while it was amazing, it was also scary and difficult to put myself through that. But, I don’t regret it and I look forward to diving back in with my current work in progress.
Sounds intimate. What personal elements did you draw upon to write this?
Tori: Almost all of my characters experienced either the death of a loved one or the loss of love. In both cases, I’ve had my fair share of experience. The funerals, the breakups, even the disappointments that I’ve been through all aided me in the writing of ITSOTP.
Alright, personal aside! What objective material did you draw on for this novel?
Tori: I researched all I could about Egypt, how the pharaohs ruled, and their gods so I could create my own Egypt-like landscape and theology. I don’t think I can ever read another vampire book with all I’ve read in research to create my vampires. The mix some Dracula, The Vampire Diaries, and Twilight in order to come up with my glorious beasties. The research was cumbersome, but the outcome is amazing.
Nice! Any final takeaway lessons from this book?
Tori: The final takeaway lesson from ITSOTP is don’t be scared of the darkness inside of you. It can be scary at times, but everyone is a little bit monster. Keep family close, even if they’ve wronged you, left you, abandoned you. It may not seem like it, but they can help you. Whether it be helping you keep the darkness, the monster inside at bay, or embracing it, it’s never better to do it alone, lest it swallow you whole.
Well on that inspiring note, we have to depart. Thank you very much Tori for opening up to us and sharing so much!
And for all of you out there reading, you can find Tori on Instagram and Twitter here:
And her book “In the Shadow of the Pyramids” is available on Amazon here Link: https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Pyramids-Battles-Lore/dp/1973467593/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1544410946&sr=8-1&keywords=in+the+shadow+of+the+pyramids