Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Nefretiti A. Morant, Author of Across the Sands

Today we are interviewing Nefretiti A. Morant about her historical fiction novel "Across the Sands."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mom firstly, a wife secondly and a passionate writer who decided to go out on a limb and snatch her dream.  I've always loved literature but I didn't about pursuing writing seriously until about three years ago.   The journey has been humbling yet very rewarding.

Describe the plot of “Across The Sands” in a few sentences.
Across The Sands is a coming of age novel about a girl who is determined to live life on her own terms.  Awa Camara is the daughter of a wealthy salt merchant who is betrothed to marry the son of Mali's King.   In a bold attempt to take her life into her own hands Awa decides to run away.  The reader will meet a colorful array of characters from the various social classes of mid-evil Mali as they journey into a time and place almost forgotten in history.

How do you think most people will appreciate this book?
I think people who like historical fiction will appreciate this literary exploration into a world not often explored.

What attracted you to the genre of historical fiction?

Well since I was a child I've loved reading stories and watching shows set in different time periods.  I'm a big fan shows like; The Tudors, Downtown Abbey and Reign.    I thought it would be interesting and different to write a story set in Africa's golden age.  It's rare to find works from this time period.

Author Nefretiti A. Morant.

What inspired you to set the novel in Mali circa 1332 – 1334?

I had the idea in mind but wasn't sure which African nation to pick.  I decided on Mali and Mansa Musa's reign because of his infamous pilgrimage from Mali to Mecca.  This journey took a year to complete, and his envoy consisted of 60,000 noble men, officials, priest, and servants.  He is the richest man in history, even to this day.   His philanthropy was also remarkable.  While on his pilgrimage he commissioned the construction of a mosque every Friday in the towns he passed through.  Mansa Musa also gave out so much gold on his journey and while in Cairo that the value of gold in Egypt plummeted.   It took 10 years for gold to regain its value in Egypt's economy.

Do you have a favorite character in the book?
Awa and Maghan.  Their love is so young, innocent and pure.  I'm a romantic through and through.  I like how they both enter their relationship with false perceptions of each other.  I don't want to give too much of the book away but they both soon learn that things aren't always as they seem.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Not sure if they've influenced my writing style, but I am a big fan of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley and Mildred D. Taylor.  I think my writing style is unique, but their works have definitely inspired my love for the written word.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I'm not sure what's next.  I've been working on and off with a science fiction piece, but now that I've completed Across The Sands, I am tempted to do some more historical fiction books.  I just had so much fun writing Across The Sands.


An excerpt from "Across the Sands":

I head back to my room, grab a few clothes and some jewelry to sell.   I sneak back out, ready to take my destiny into my own hands.  Shafeeq mounts his horse and hoist me up behind him.   We ride through the night; the power of the horse between my thighs invigorates my soul as I hold on tightly to his waist,    We flee ahead of the approaching orange sunrise,  and I smile as the wind whips through my hair.   I was free.  As free as I have always dreamt of being.  I was finally escaping the long  shadow, cast by the role of the wealthy salt merchant's daughter. 
As we ride I enjoy the scenery of the passing countryside.   The sun rises in the east and a trail of meandering images appear on the horizon.  Could it be a caravan I think as we near the long chain of men and horses.  
"We are husband and wife, traveling to relatives in the West."  Shafeeq says with caution as he slows the horse to a trot.  We lag to the south of the caravan for hours before.   

As night approaches we decide to set up camp beneath a Kola tree.  


"It will get cold.  Work on the fire while I set up the tent."


I had started camp fires plenty of times.  Some nights Mahmaudou and I would head off to the edges of father's property and laugh under the same immense African sky. 


"You smile.  What pleases you?"


"Being here.  Being away from all the expectations.  I feel happy."


Shafeeq secures the last sides of the tent to the ground and walks over to myside.


"I am happy you came with me. I know I am no prince.." He begins to say.  I put my fingers to his lips.


"You are greater than a prince.  You Shafeeq are a Hero. You have liberated me from a life that would have caged my dreams."  He smiles and his white teeth shine in the darkness of the night.
"Across the Sands" book trailer: 


More Information
Visit Nefretiti A. Morant's website 
Follow Nefretiti A. Morant on Twitter
Like Nefretiti A. Morant on Facebook
Buy "Across the Sands" on Amazon

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