Maybe it’s the meltdown in Libya that urged me on. The revolution in 2011 certainly inspired the book. Part One is set in Roman and modern Libya with explicit scenes from ancient Leptis Magna followed by Isis’ revisit in modern times where she comes face to face with the militias.
Completing my saga of Isis and her reincarnations in ancient Egypt, The Black Scroll is set in Roman North Africa during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. If you’re familiar with the other two books, you’ll know that the first novel, The Red Mirror, takes place in the days of the last Egyptian Pharaoh on the dawn of the Persian invasion. Book Two, The Emerald Tablet, explores Greek Egypt, especially Alexandria, under the rule of Ptolemy.
As always, the story of modern Isis continues through all three books. I confess to being easily bored; I hunger for travel and adventure. The Red Mirror Series is my chance to share my rich life experience of languages, food, art, religion and history. I’m excited to take you back to the past, but I’m equally thrilled to take you to Las Vegas, New York, Copenhagen, Malta and London – all places I know well and love.
My books don’t fit into one genre. They reflect my eclectic mind and life. Adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery, mysticism, sex, time travel, history, thriller…these are all hastags I could use. You won’t be able to put the Red Mirror Series into a category. But I believe you’ll have a wild ride.
Inspired by my recent real life odyssey to the ancient Roman world:
the Villas of Stabia,
Tiberius’s Villa in Capri,
Hadrian’s Tivoli Compound,
and glorious Ostia Antica,
my dear Antinous is festooned this Christmas in ivy and gold.
Is he Dionysus? Or the Ghost of Christmas Present from my all-time favorite classic film, A Christmas Carol?
Either way, he is still history’s most beautiful man. At least, he gets my vote.
Taste Life Twice
Exploring, adventuring, and tasting what life is all about
Below is an excerpt from the interview I did with Margaret Pinard for her blog Taste Twice Life. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to engage in such intelligent dialogue.
Here’s four questions that you’ll need to go to Margaret’s blog to read my answers:
MP: You make references to Ancient Egyptian and Persian politics and intrigue. How much research did you do to bring these scenes to life? And how necessary is it to make fiction (or historical fiction) resemble real-life events?
MP: There are plenty of steamy sex scenes in the Red Mirror Trilogy, and your earlier book Sex and the Zen of Shopping also focuses on sex, at least in the title. Is this part of what makes the stories exciting, or a symbol of something larger in life?
MP: You use the tagline, “One Life Is Not Enough.” In what ways is this related to your own life experiences? Is there something in particular that made you want to write these stories, bring these characters to life?
MP: Ok, last one: what’s your quirkiest writing routine or habit?
For the full article go to Taste Twice Life: Author S. L. Gore, On Writing, Passion and Sex
MP: Your books in the Red Mirror Series shred traditional genre boundaries to pieces, containing elements of historical fiction, thriller, erotica, mystery, time travel, and romance. Was there a particular type of story you set out to tell, or how did this combination otherwise come about?
SLG: I never planned to cross genres. When I started the first book of The Red Mirror series, I had specific intentions: to take the reader on an adventure to Ancient Egypt and tell the story of a woman who has fulfilling but unique relationships with three men of different cultures. I also wanted to challenge the concept of one ‘Mr. Right.’
As I began to write the tale of Isis, the story revealed itself to me. I had a loose trajectory in my mind that she would be kidnapped by a Persian and eventually escape from Egypt on a ship. From Day One, I knew the names of my evolving woman: Isis the Egyptian, Athena the Greek and Elektra the Roman (coming soon!).
Friends who followed me through the process said that I was channeling. Many times, I closed my eyes and typed, the words flowing through my fingers. Those were the times that I effortlessly wrote 3-4,000 words a day. Five thousand words, I think, was the most.
I never thought of the book as time travel, although it’s an apt label. Parallel stories propel characters back and forth between lifetimes. In each subsequent book, a more empowered modern Isis continues her present story and experiences yet another past life.
The Red Mirror series isn’t typical romance with a man and a woman estranged until joined happily ever after in the end, but the tone is intensely romantic. Yes, the sex scenes are erotic but intended always to be sensual. Sensuousness is what makes sex human not animal—and romantic, not pornographic.
MP: You’ve written a series, and I’ve heard that’s a better strategy for finding an audience than writing a stand-alone novel. What would be your top publishing and marketing tips for self-publishing writers?
SLG: I didn’t write a series because it was recommended for marketing. The concept of three books, each based on a different lifetime with a continuing story of an evolving woman influenced by—and influencing—her past, was there from the start.
Before I started the first novel, I read a cross-section of thirty “women’s” books in one month, and not one of them captured what I was envisioning. I made the decision to write what flowed through me rather than what was commercially popular, even though I’d never tell anyone to do that.
You have to choose your own path.
Marketing, for me, is far harder than writing. I find it very difficult to sell myself. But, you have to, so here are my tips:
- Choosing your audience is incredibly important in marketing. You have to be confident your product will fit. My books cross so many genres that targeted promotion is almost impossible. If you write in one genre with a defined and guaranteed audience, you may have an easier path.
- Social media is too vast to cover here, but absolutely necessary for an author today. You must have an internet presence—not a problem for anyone born after 1980 (Interviewer’s note: *ahem!* ;-).
- ‘Presence’ includes a website (which can be a blog), a Facebook page and a Twitter account, the more followers the better. Few, if any, of them will ever read your book, but the numbers make it look like you’re “somebody.” And you’ll make surprising connections that lead to opportunities. Have patience.
- Get on blog radio to talk about your book. It’s fun if you’ve got the gift of gab. (Note: Sandra also just completed a Blog Tour promoting Isis Erotica, the really steamy version of the Isis story.)
- You must have a brand. For example, get a URL for your website/blog with your name. Your Twitter handle should also use some form of your name.
- I recommend following Anne R. Allen’s Blog for practical tips on self-publishing.
- My best and final advice? You are going to feel like giving up. Don’t. And remember what Horace said a couple thousand years ago:
“If you want to be a writer, write.”