I'm writing a historical fantasy series set in ancient Egypt. I'm crafting an ancient culture that is matriarchal as well as matrilineal because I'm tired of narrow, inaccurate depictions of gender roles in historical fiction. I'm also crafting a dynastic Egypt that is unmistakably and unequivocally African because I'm tired of the media, racist academics, and the commenters on my blog whitewashing it. Black women were at the center of everything in Egypt before the Greeks and Romans came, and the fiction I'm creating is designed to showcase and celebrate that.
This series is AfroRetroFuturist, a term coined by Nisi Shawl. She defines it as a blend of Afrofuturism – a movement focused on African contributions to, perspectives on, and presence in the future – and Retrofuturism – a re-visioning of the past including elements of its future and sometimes elements of our own future as well.
The Retrofuturist elements center around house-sized copper scarab beetles that run on steam generated by the sun. I'm using their development as a framework to explore the cultural, social, and spiritual movements that follow in the wake of the upheaval, ethnic conflict, and technical innovation in dynastic Egypt.
The series incorporates Afrofuturist elements because I want to see my people depicted as technological and cultural innovators in the past, present, and future. I'm representing Egypt in this era as an African country populated by Black people with a culture connected to and influenced by other nearby African cultures. This is historically accurate – I can back it up with reams of research – but not a depiction you'll find in the majority of media set in ancient Egypt, speculative or not.
The culture I've crafted for the series is also matrifocal, with widespread acceptance of multiple sexualities and roles for people of multiple genders. Though there are many academics who insist that most ancient Egyptian women were illiterate, second class to men, and had little role in state religion, this view is not supported by available artifacts and records. It's a holdover of the Western patriarchal views of the men who founded Egyptology as an academic discipline. There is plenty of evidence that in most dynastic periods Egyptian women had social and legal standing equal to men. Royal and non-royal women held property, inherited equally, had the right to divorce (and to be supported after), made their own marriages, were employed in the temples, and owned various types of businesses.
With this series I intend to challenge ideas about gender roles in the ancient world and explore what a matrifocal, technological, and unquestionably African Egypt could look like. I intend to do it with characters that exist beyond binary sexualities and beyond binary genders, and whose problems don't arise from those identities. And I intend to do it with queer Black women as my protagonists.
Does that sound awesome to you? Good! Because I could use your support as I write.
What Am I Supporting If I Become Your Patron?
Research Trips and Writing Retreats!
I've done years worth of research on Ancient Egypt in general and the eras I'm trying to portray in specific. In order to get the details right, I need to visit specific museums, libraries, and locations with collections and rare research material I haven't yet seen. I also need to visit Egypt! Money I get from patrons will go toward taking these research trips.
In addition to travel, I also need time to concentrate on writing. I make my living as a freelancer, which affords me some flexibility. Having a few months out of the year to focus solely on writing without having to worry about food, bills, and rent would be an amazing gift.
Funds up to $700 per month will go toward expenses around research travel. Funds above that will be split between research needs and retreat months.
What Do I Get If I Become Your Patron?
Writing and other fun content.
All patrons will get a piece of flash fiction once per month, writing exercises once a week, essays about the writing and research process (there is always a funny story to be told about researching Egypt. Think aliens. Lots and lots of aliens), plus livestreams, watch together parties, and other stuff as I think of it. Patrons who give above the $1 level get more content. Behind the scenes material, excerpts from the novels or stories in progress, a chapter a week as I write, critiques, free books, and more. It's all outlined on the right.
And yes, at the $10 level you get to read the early drafts of whole book as I write it.
How Do I Know If I'll Even Like Your Fiction?
You can read some of my published short stories for free online or you can buy the fabulous anthologies they're published in. I also put one of my background stories/DVD extras from the world of this novel on my blog for folks to read. Or, if you support me for just $1 a month you'll get access to all the patron-only posts, which include some excerpts from the novel and some other fiction I've written. If you really don't like any of it, you don't have to keep supporting me.
Okay, I'll Do It!You will? HOORAY! You're the best and I thank you.