Here’s my interview with Alexander Marmer, author of Four Ways to Pharaoh Khufu, a novel I found on Book Club Reading List.
How did you come up with the idea for Four Ways to Pharaoh Khufu?
I’ve always been fascinated by Egypt. Egypt and the pyramids always mesmerized me, the Great Pyramid in particular. I always knew there were more mysteries to the Great Pyramid than what we learned about in school and in numerous books about Egypt. The meeting of Anatoly Vasiliev, who devoted more than 40 years of his life studying and analyzing the Great Pyramid, back in 1996 in Moscow, cardinally changed my perspective about the Great Pyramid’s constructive methods and inspired me to write this book.
Who is your favorite character?
Michael Doyle. In some ways he is like me. I always assumed that Michael is a more adventurous version of me with much bigger ambitions and determination.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Some of the characters are totally based on real people. For example, Michael Doyle is the “unrealized” version of me. The character of Kirilov in the book is almost identical to the real-life World War II veteran whom I had the honor of meeting in 1996 in Moscow. The other characters were products of my imagination and “collective” images and traits of a several real-life people.
Describe your writing process.
I started writing the book back in 2007 and was writing it on and off for a long 7 years. While I was writing my first novel I held a full time job in the police department and at the same time was in the US Army National Guard. In addition I also had a family and two kids. To find free time was hard, but somehow I managed to find time to write, typically on a commuter train to/from work or during a free time on my two deployments overseas.
Who are some authors who have influenced you?
Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes adventures! I grew up on these adventures, reading and re-reading them over and over again.
Agatha Christie and her two detectives Ms Marple and Hercule Poirot.
Alexandre Dumas and his “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers.”
Robert Louis Stevenson and his “Treasure island.”
William Shakespeare and his “The taming of the Shrew.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald and his “The Great Gatsby.”
Dan Brown and his eminent “The Da Vinci Code” inspired me to write my own novel. Dan Brown’s widespread use of trivia facts throughout the entire novel made his book for me the most enjoyable piece of reading material I’ve ever read.
What made you want to become an author?
Mystery and adventure have always being a part of my DNA and lifestyle. I was always intrigued by the stories of the hidden treasures, sunken ships, etc. I always dreamed that one day the opportunity would arise and I would go to some remote jungle, desert or under the ocean and participate in the treasure-seeking expedition. Well, I’m still hoping that this day will still come, but in the meantime I decided to use my imagination and mentally travel to those remote places and go on the treasure hunt. That’s why I wrote my first novel.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Keep on writing – don’t give up! I know a bunch of unrealized and unpublished authors because they could never finish their manuscripts. I know that by publishing my book I have already inspired at least three “hung up” authors who “resurrected” their unfinished manuscripts and got back in the writing chair.
Thank you Alexander! Watch for my review of Four Ways to Pharaoh Khufu coming soon!
Contact the author on Book Club Reading List.
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