Some ancient secrets should remain buried.
An American teenager in Cairo finds herself in the middle of the Egyptian revolution fleeing militant Islamic extremists. She leads her worst enemy and the boy she thinks about much too often on the adventure of a lifetime. When she discovers an ancient artifact that was buried for thousands of years, she learns that very powerful people will stop at nothing, including murder, to learn the secrets of a long-dead civilization.
Praise for Egypt Rising
From the first page, and quite possibly the first sentence, I was hooked on this refreshingly different YA read that is suitable and enjoyable for all ages! ~Dii
Stan Schatt has written thirty books on a wide variety of topics including a chapter book for children, a YA novel, biographies of Michael Connelly and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and books on technology and career changing. His love for teaching is reflected in outstanding teaching awards he received from the University of Southern California and DeVry Institute of Technology.
Rather than having one career, Schatt has had several. He has worked as an autopsy assistant, an English professor, a software trainer, a law enforcement administrator, a market research executive, and a sales manager.
What do you do in your free time?
I love reading. I also play the ukelele. In addition, I volunteer as a job club facilitator and work to help people find jobs.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Well, if there hadn’t already been a book and movie titled The Great Imposter, I’d grab that title for my biography. Over the years I’ve changed careers so many times, often learning what I needed to know on the fly, that my wife says she feels like she’s been married to 12 different men. I went to Medical School and worked as an autopsy assistant. I was an English professor with professor friends. I was a software trainer with programming friends who tended not to be that social. I’ve been a law enforcement administrator with police officer friends. I’ve been a salesman and sales manager and even an industry analyst and marketing executive –all required me to play different roles.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I always loved books. When I was 12, I couldn’t find a science fiction book at the library that fit what I was looking for. I went home, grabbed a pad of paper, and began writing my own novel. When I finished (I wrote it long-hand), I read it and enjoyed it because it was exactly what I had been looking for as a reader.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
My wife and I have a ceremony. We take the new book and put it on a special bookshelf. I now have written 30 different books that fill two different shelves, but we still have the same ceremony.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I spent many years in the technology industry, so I really enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory on TV. I feel like I’ve met many of the people portrayed.
Football—-both college and pro.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
Something your readers would never guess about you
I play the ukelele.
Where do you write?
I have an office with a large, very messy desk.
How did you go about publishing your book?
I read not long ago that the author of The Help had her book rejected 80 times and that she was revising while she was being wheeled into surgery to have a baby. I started off looking for an agent, but didn’t have any luck. The problem with traditional (large) publishers today is that they are looking for blockbuster books published by people who already have published blockbusters or by celebrities that bring large audiences to their books. I’m sure if Cher or Adele wrote a novel, no matter how awful, there would be agents lined up and promising six figure deals with major publishers. I then turned to smaller publishers who don’t have the reach of the big publishers but are more willing to consider new writers. I kept revising and resending; eventually I found a few publishers who expressed interest; some even suggested I make certain changes and resubmit. Eventually Eternal Press offered me a contract. Having self-published two other novels, I was thrilled to have a real publisher worry about editing and cover design.
Who or what inspired your last book?
My granddaughter had a 7th grade English assignment to read a novel set in Egypt. I saw how much she enjoyed the novel and thought I’d like to write a book set in Egypt for her since I’ve always been fascinated by Egyptian history and culture. I also wanted to create a main character that would serve as a role model for her, a teenaged girl who was intelligent and brave.
What is your favorite scene in the book? Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?
My favorite scene is when Olivia and her friends discover the black Sphinx and begin to explore it. It’s fun to create a fictional world that mixes real Egyptian culture and history with legends. One of my major challenges in Egypt Rising was to create a relationship between Olivia and Taylor and then show how that relationship could change dramatically over time until their feelings have changed completely and yet make that change seem realistic to my readers. I couldn’t let it happen to fast, and I had to provide enough incidents to make it seem plausible.
Do you like the spotlight or lurking in the shadows?
I’ve had jobs where I was definitely in the spotlight including appearing on TV and giving speeches to large audiences. Still, I have a writer’s personality; I prefer to be in the background observing. My wife is much more of an extravert than I am, and I’m happy about that.
How do you go about revising/editing?
The first time I write a draft I focus on the plot and don’t worry that much about getting everything perfect. I then go back to add foreshadowing as well as depth to the characters and their relationships. Often I have to go back to add a back story to give the novel texture. Editing is very difficult for any writer because you always see pages as you think they are rather than as they actually are. True story. Once I changed a main character from a woman to a man. My wife was helping me edit the manuscript and noticed that I had a scene where my male hero rises and grabs his purse before leaving the room.
Do you write as you go or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
I’ve found that you really have to work with an outline or you wind up writing yourself into a corner and not being able to figure out a way out. Another problem with just writing is that you sometimes reach a dead-end about 150 pages short of your goal for pages. I do allow myself to wander from the outline and just create when the writing flows. If you just stick to an outline, the writing can be very mechanical.
How do you come up with the characters names/personalities?
In the case of Egypt Rising, I actually asked my granddaughter for names she liked and names of girls she probably would dislike. As far as personalities, it’s important not to make characters one dimensional. I’m working on a novel right now where i’m making a real effort to create a character who really doesn’t understand herself very well, yet I want the reader to understand her. Of course, I can’t help thinking of real people I’ve met when it comes to adding personality traits to specific characters.
What is next on your to read list?
I’m looking forward to reading Nelson DeMille’s new novel, The Quest.
What makes your novel standout from the crowd?
While there are other novels with strong teen female protagonists (think Hunger Games), I wanted to create a novel that captured the sights and smells and culture of modern Cairo as well as provide some insights into ancient Egyptian history and culture. In some ways it requires a lot more research to provide an accurate description of this type of setting than it would to simply create a fictional world.
What is your view on self publishing?
I have one self-published novel that is selling very well. There are a number of problems associated with self-publishing. The major one, of course, is receiving any notice from the press, book bloggers, etc. Sometimes it seems like everyone is writing and self-publishing rather than reading. The second problem with self-publishing is that the burden of editing falls on the writer. It’s very difficult for a writer to catch his or her own mistakes and professional editing can be very expensive, particularly when a self-published novel rarely breaks even. Finally, it’s virtually impossible for a self-published novelist to find a bookstore to take the books since CreateSpace doesn’t take back returns. The alternative is for the self-published writer to pay upfront for a lot of books and then agree to take back any of the books that bookseller can’t sell. That approach gives the self-published writer a lot of financial exposure.
How do you juggle writing & family life?
It was much more difficult when I worked full-time and tried to write evenings and weekends to meet publisher’s deadlines. I would try to force myself to only work one of the weekend days so we could still do family things. Now that I can devote full-time to writing, it’s much easier.
140 Characters or less Tweet about your book.
In Egypt Rising, an ancient secret threatens the world and only Olivia Hunter holds the key.
How do you feel about banned books? Do you have a favorite?
I was shocked that both Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Slaughterhouse 5 have been banned in various school districts in the South. They both are classics. In the case of Invisible Man, students would learn enough to understand the current state of race relations in this country. Slaughterhouse 5 would help students understand the impact of war.
Titles: do you write the books first and the title comes next or does the title come to you as you write?
It varies. Egypt Rising’s title came AFTER I wrote the book. Silent Partner and Til Death to Us Part both came before I began writing.
Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books?
I’ve tried to include some people I didn’t like, but it’s very difficult because then the character becomes one-dimensional.
If you were not a writer, what would you like to do?
I’ve done just about everything from being an autopsy assistant to being an English professor. I’m very happy being a full-time writer. In fact, when I did have other jobs, I continued to write during evenings and weekends because writing was so important to me.
Do your characters really talk to you?
My characters do talk to me and, in fact, I sometime dream about them.
Are you for or against books being made into movies?
I’m very happy to see books made into movies. I just tell myself over and over that it’s a different medium and I can’t expect it to be identical. Most of the time, I’ve found the books to be
far superior to the movie versions. I guess the major exceptions are Gone with the Wind and The Godfather where the movies were far better.
What drives you insane about the writing process?
It’s irritating when technology gets in the way. As an example, I format something wrong and then have to look up the obscure way in Microsoft Word to correct the problem.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I think the subject matter pushes me towards a specific genre. As an example, Egypt Rising is an adventure because the subject matter lends itself to that treatment. I recently finished a paranormal mystery titled Silent Partner. The content pushed me to use the mystery genre. I am also working on a science fiction novel titled Til Death Do Us Part that covers a romance between a human and his alien girl friend. I can’t imagine writing that story in any other genre than science fiction.
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I enjoy the stage when I have finished a draft and gone over it a few times and now I can focus on tweaking the book to make it better. I can focus on finding just the right word to replace a mundane word or I can flesh out a scene that seems flat. There’s a good deal of satisfaction to feeling that you are making a good book much better.
TV or Movies?
It’s not even close. I love movies, particularly those you can lose yourself in. TV for the most part is not very satisfying because you can’t really get into a story before a commercial interrupts you. One major exception is House of Cards. I enjoyed being able to spend an entire afternoon just streaming one episode after another.
Print or Ebook?
I’m doing a book signing party pretty soon. I can’t imagine offering a digital signature to an ebook as anywhere near as satisfying as writing a personal note on a paperback. Also, it’s very satisfying to look at a shelf full of books I’ve written. What would I replace that with?
PC or Mac?
You’ve asked the right person. I’ve managed a computer store and even sold computers. I’ve also written books about PCs and taught classes. The answer is a Mac unless you have a very specific program for your work that only runs on a PC. The Mac allows you to focus on what you are doing and not how to do it. I prefer an intuitive machine.
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