Setting is one of the pillars of any good story. To find a place to set the story, one that fits the theme, stirs the senses and opens the author’s eyes in wonder is an art form. Hathanatum’s main setting is Egypt and part of it at an archaeological dig. I have a personal love for Egypt and was immediately drawn to this book due to the setting and the themes (star-crossed lovers, reincarnation, alien love) I asked Taylin about why she chose this setting for her new book.
Book Title: Hathonatum
Author: Taylin Clavelli
By Taylin Clavelli
History has always been a passion of mine. I am a historian at the manor house hotel, where I work. But Egyptian history has a special place in my heart. Since childhood, I have lost count of the TV programs I’ve watched featuring Egypt. Documentaries, films, series are just a few avenues. Stargate is a favourite of mine along with other sci-fi series such as Star Trek and the awesome Star Wars. So, I believe that subconsciously I’ve been looking for an opportunity to feature Egyptian history in a story.
I have seen many an archaeological program uncovering artefacts and mummies. I also own several books about Egypt, its tombs, pharaohs, and its people. A while ago, for fun (in the days of floppy disks), I completed a family tree of the first pharaoh to the last, including relatives. Did you know that the famous Cleopatra wasn’t the first Cleopatra – she was the seventh. Although, Greek by birth, she embraced all that was Egypt. Alexandria has a small feature in the story.
Many years ago, I was one of those who queued to see the Tutankhamun display when it came to London. Then, in 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the Cairo museum, and the pyramids, followed by a boat trip down the Nile. I have personally looked upon the mummies of Seti I, Ramses the Great and many others. I love going to the British Museum in London, but, The Liverpool Museum has a particularly good Egyptian display, too.
I originally planned a story involving the ancient pharaohs in a more active capacity. However, I discovered that I had to be careful. Egyptian authorities do not look kindly on anyone depicting their pharaohs in alternate ways, especially as the country isn’t especially LGBTQ tolerant. So, I had a rethink. I decided to stay factually correct regarding the essentials of Egyptian history. Records show that the ancient people were a nomadic race who could be brutal over territory, particularly water holes.
Given that so much remains hidden or is lost beneath the desert, I went back to a period where little is written. Before the first recognised pharaohs – To those times where, when historians talk about them, they start with, “very little is known about this period.” In the same way that in the film The Mummy Returns, Evie says that there very little is known about the Scorpion King. She is correct because at the time the film was made, Scorpion was only a name on a piece of parchment. Therefore, they invented a world for him. The era where I created King Sahakemwy was a window of opportunity where I could add some characters of my own within a believable world.
I am not out to teach anyone about archaeology, as the focus is on Ben and Ashari Hathonatum. So, having already watched much about excavating in Egypt, all I needed was maps. I downloaded many pictures of cities, tombs, digs and temples. Once I had my plans in place, I could insert my main characters.
Science fiction enters the story in several places, with the use of alternative dimensions. Although while reading, it isn’t actively noticeable until later. Science fiction links the past with the present before my characters get to have their future. Therefore, Egypt heavily features, especially Abydos, Alexandria, and Cairo.
Because Hathonatum is a science fiction set in the present day, I am hoping that some of the events and theories make people think – “Yeah, that’s possible.”
Publisher: MLR Press | Smashwords
Hathonatum is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.
Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually your voice?
Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost.
The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?
**The story is written with British spelling/grammar. **
Though Ben loved the thought of studying Seti, he was part of a small crew concentrating on Narmer (3180-3120 BC), whose tomb was located to the west of the dig, almost as far away from Seti as a tomb could get. Not much was known about the first pharaoh of the combined kingdoms, and Ben wanted to help discover something new. He wanted to shed light on a life that no one knew about—a new phenomenon to capture the imagination.
Ben had been on-site for a little over a week when he saw an intriguing man talking to Terry, his dig leader. Judging by his skin, Ben suspected the man to be local, but it was difficult to tell. Other than his face, the only other exposed part of him was his hands. The rest of him was covered with clothing designed to keep out the worst of the sand—layered, lightweight, loose, and black.
When the man locked gazes with him, Ben found himself staring into a vibrant blue sea of lapis lazuli, framed with black lashes and dark eyebrows. It wasn’t until a fellow worker walked between them that the connection was broken. When Ben sought to re-establish contact, the other had his back to him. Ben returned to his work, clearing out a trench of sand. The heat and excitement over what his group might find overshadowed any musings concerning the stranger.
At the end of the day, Ben was so tired he clambered onto the city-bound truck with as much grace as a stumbling mummy.
That night, while lounging on his bed, images of dark blue assaulted him. The event was rare for him, considering Egypt was his prime…prime everything.
Every day, the journey to the ruins was like being transported back in time. Ben could close his eyes and almost feel like he was there, in ancient Egypt. Often, he imagined he could see a partial image of the hustle and bustle of the ancient civilization continuing around him. At other times, he was in the quiet solitude of a temple. The images were odd, considering ancient Abydos was a graveyard.
From the drop-off point the next day, Ben made his way to tombs B17 and B18—the tombs attributed to Narmer. He worked there all morning with his small, square trowel and brush, slowly moving away the sands of eons.
As lunchtime approached, he relocated to the edge of the main dig and took his break. From there, he would imagine life in ancient Egypt.
Daydreaming, he chose to walk back to his station.
Suddenly, an alarm sounded. It was the warning for a sandstorm. It was similar to what his grandparents had described as the air raid warning from the war.
There was a flurry of activity while people efficiently covered artefacts and other areas of importance. Ben glanced around, noticing the storm was a lot closer than he’d originally thought. It had come out of nowhere. What crept toward the dig seemed like a moving wall of cloud, dense enough to shield the view and engulf anything below it. If it wasn’t for the cottonlike plumes of wheat colours, Ben could have believed a curtain of rain was heading his way. The screen of rapid shadow was making quick progress toward the dig, swallowing all in its path. Briefly, Ben went rigid, unable to move. When the sound of hissing reached his consciousness, and sand stung his feet and face, he dashed toward shelter. He was running a losing race.
Abruptly, he was grabbed and pulled to the floor behind a shallow wall. In a spell of activity as sleek as the sandstorm, a mask was put over his face, and his body along with that of his saviour rolled together. Over and over, they turned. Coming to a halt, and dizzy, Ben found himself cocooned, head to toe in a thick blanket. From the outside, the two of them probably resembled a fat, discarded mummy.
As Ben regained his senses, he could feel a wall to his back and secure arms around him. The only thing between them was his messenger bag containing the bottles of water he was required to keep on him to prevent dehydration in the desert sun.
Panting, he opened his eyes to a familiar sea of lazuli.
About the Author
I am proud to be British and proud to be an author of gay romance stories from varying genres. I write under the pseudonym Taylin Clavelli, not because I don’t want my real name out there, but because I think my real name is unmemorable for an author. The name came about from a night of Skype and a lot of wine.
My first published work – a comedy called Boys Toys and Carpet Fitters – came out in 2012. It was part of a Dreamspinners anthology called Don’t Do This At Home. Since then, I have produced a further two novels and five short stories, not including Hathonatum.
As well as being married for close to thirty years, and have a grown-up family, who I adore – I work part-time at a Manor Hotel, where I am also the resident historian. I am a book reviewer, too for a well-known site.
Not being a spring chicken anymore, I have a few hobbies that over the years have come, gone and resurfaced again. I am an experienced horse rider, and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I help my husband with DIY projects, upcycle as much as possible and love my garden. As for those simple things that make me stop in my tracks. The dawn chorus, baking bread, lasagne, and the scene where Shadowfax makes his screen entrance.
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