Interview with Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney (Author of ASHA IN TIME)

A Backwards Story is happy to kick off The {Teen} Book Scene's tour for ASHA IN TIME!  Check out the tour schedule to see the list of events.  On December 29th, check in with A Backwards Story again for my review of this intriguing title!

ASHA IN TIME is Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney's second novel.  Her debut novel is entitled AUTUMNAL DANCER and features modern-day kings and magical abilities.  Follow her on Facebook. 

An interview with Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney 

How much research went into creating ASHA IN TIME?

About three months worth of research went into ASHA IN TIME. It almost became a full time job to delve into just a small portion of the writing there is out there about ancient Egypt. I used references books a lot, especially TEMPLES TOMBS AND HIEROGLYPHS by Barbara Mertz. I really wanted to take an untraditional route as well. I made an effort to read as much fiction as I could about ancient Egypt. I wanted to see how other people envisioned the Black Land, and that really helped me build the ancient world that made the most sense to me.

What made you decide to write about Ancient Egypt?

I’ve really always loved history and specifically been fascinated by the society that produced women like Cleopatra, Iras, Hatshepsut, Tiye, and Aahotep. That these women lived and were raised with expectations of greatness long before the modern world ever came to be is such a rich inheritance for young women today.

Thirteenth birthdays sound important. Can you tell us more about what turning thirteen entails?

In many cultures, including some sects of modern Judaism, thirteen birthdays mark a passing from childhood into adulthood. While this was not necessarily true in Egypt (some girl mummies have been found that claim the deceased to be a married woman at nine years of age), I felt that was simply too young for modern readers to feel comfortable with. I chose the thirteenth birthday as a special, magical one perhaps because it was when I felt I started to transition into womanhood.

Who was your favorite character to write about in ASHA IN TIME? Who was the hardest to write about?

My favorite character to write about certainly had to be Asarsit. There was a certain freedom in giving Asarsit a voice since she’s not a real historical figure like so many other characters in ASHA IN TIME, although she is based around an actual historic event. Plus, I thought it was really fun connecting the sacking of Troy with ancient Egypt. Mostly, those events are not thought of conjointly, but Egypt most certainly would have been aware of and effected by Troy’s destruction. 

I enjoyed making a daughter of Troy come alive in an Egyptian story. The hardest person to give a voice to had to be Isetnofret herself. Isetnofret was a real woman, a real wife of Ramses II. Yet, next to nothing is known about her. No one knows for sure if she had royal blood or was a common civilian. No one knows how she met the King of Egypt. No one even knows for certain when she died. All that’s really known is that she seems to have been married to Ramses before he came to his throne, which would have made them both fairly young. 

Most of what I had to go on about Isetnofret was a picture of a partially broken bust of her and Christian Jacq’s and Michelle Moran’s novels (which I thoroughly enjoyed) in which she was a character and a villainess. I knew that I wanted to give her a voice, the voice of a fairly innocent, maybe a bit na├»ve, but spirited and cheerful teenage girl.

What projects are you working on now? Will you return to Ancient Egypt in the future?

Right now I’m working (admittedly slowly) on my next novel, Autumnal Daughter, which is building off of my first novel, AUTUMNAL DANCER. After completing the writing portions of ASHA IN TIME in ten months, I’m allowing myself a measured start into my next book. Ancient Egypt could definitely be in my future! I haven’t ruled out returning to Egypt and even to some of the characters in ASHA IN TIME.

Mandy, thank you so much for stopping by and teasing us with hints of what is to come in ASHA IN TIME!

Bookworms, stop back at A Backwards Story on December 29th for my review of this novel! <3


  1. Sounds like Mandy really did her research into Egypt to complete her books. I think its great she took the time to do that for her readers. I like the cover too. It's eye catching.


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