Welcome to Egypt Rising Author Stan Schatt! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
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.
Egypt Rising Interview with Stan Schatt:
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
The book features a strong female teen protagonist, high adventure, and a mix of modern and ancient Egyptian culture.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed writing the changing relationship between Olivia and Taylor. I wanted to show their slow movement from adversaries to the closest of friends and make that change believable.
What kind of research (if any) did you have to do for this book?
I visited Cairo with my wife. I studied many books on ancient Egypt, guidebooks on modern Egypt, and maps of Cairo. I also studied first hand accounts from journalists who lived through the revolution in Cairo in 2011. Finally I studied some ancient texts that suggest a link between Atlantis and Egypt.
What’s your favorite quote about writing or reading?
Sir Francis Bacon:
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
What Inspired you to write this book?
My granddaughter read a novel set in Egypt in her 7th grade English class. I thought it would be fun to write a novel with the same setting but create a character who could serve as a role model for her, someone brave and intelligent.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The hardest part for me was to try to capture Olivia Hunter’s voice. I wrote the novel originally in third person and finally had to rewrite it in first person to make Olivia come alive. One reviewer noted that I had captured a teenager’s voice. I found that statement very gratifying, considering how difficult a task it was.
Do you have a book that you enjoyed reading that would lend itself well to a discussion during a book club meeting? If so, share your recommendation with us.
I really enjoyed Nelson DeMille’s The Lion’s Game because of how well DeMille captured the voice of narrator John Corey.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written around 30 books on a wide variety of topics. I’ve written a novel set in the game of Minecraft (Journey to a Different Dimension), biographies of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Michael Connelly, a book on how to change careers and go into a green industry, a middle grade chapter book about the smartest girl in the world, and loads of books on technology including college textbooks on computers, telecommunications, and data communications.
Do you have any fall reading or writing plans?
I plan to publish my paranormal detective novel, Silent Partner. I also intend to finish a teen book I’m co-writing with my granddaughter entitled Jane Blond, International Spy. Finally, I intend to complete my science fiction novel, Til Death Do Us Part, a romance between a human and an alien that threatens mankind’s existence.
Tell us something about the book or main character that isn’t mentioned in the synopsis.
Olivia doesn’t think she’s exceptional in any way. She has the usual teen’s concerns about not fitting in and not being pretty enough as well as some problems such as being raised by her father alone that make life even harder. Only when she is tested in a life or death struggle does she discover just how exceptional and brave and intelligent she really is.
Describe your writing environment for us.
I love to work on several projects at the same time so my desk is really messy. Periodically my wife insists I straighten it up, but it soon returns to its normal state.
How did you come up with the title for this book?
The title has a double meaning. Egypt Rising refers to the uprising in Egypt in 2011 that resulted in the ouster of President Mubarak. The title also refers to the question of why ancient Egypt was able to rise so quickly to a position of leadership in the ancient world. My theory, supported by some scholars, suggests a link between the ancient Egyptians and refugees fleeing from Atlantis.
If you could pick any one author, which one would you like to co-author a book with?
Actually I’ve been very lucky. I co-authored Journey to a Different Dimension with my grandson and I’m co-authoring Jane Blond, International Spy with my granddaughter. These books should live on long after I’m gone.
What makes this book different from other books in the same genre?
I haven’t found any other novels that feature a female teen Egyptologist and combine ancient and modern Egyptian culture.
What books were among your childhood favorites and why?
I fell in love with Dune and still re-read the book often. I also enjoyed the Foundation Trilogy.
What are some your favorite books today and why?
I like all of Michael Connelly’s books. I’ve read them several times in the process of writing a book about him and his works. I enjoy Nelson DeMille for his very strong narrative voice and excellent plotting. I enjoy Wilbur Smith’s books about ancient and modern Egypt for the way that he makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
eBooks, hardcovers or paperbacks and why?
I’m doing a huge signing soon. I wouldn’t think it would be nearly as personal or satisfying to just offer a digital signature and comment. I also like to see the two physical shelves of my books. So, I prefer paperbacks.
Most likely to _________ in high school?
light up a party
If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were writing your first book, what advice would you offer?
I would tell myself to write the book in first person rather than third person. It was tough to revise because of the difficulty of catching all the changes during editing.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, and Wilbur Smith.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was around 12 years old, I couldn’t find a science fiction book that had everything I wanted in it, so I took a pad of paper and wrote one longhand. Of course I was the only one who could read my writing. I enjoyed the novel because I wrote it with myself in mind and I knew the reader I was writing for. Over the years I continued to think about writing a book. I finally did write one when I was around 26. After that, the books just poured out even though I had to write them in my spare time while working.
What genre do you write and why?
I think it would be boring to write in a single genre. I’ve written adventure novels, but I’m also completing a science fiction novel. I have completed a paranormal mystery. What’s fun is that each genre has its own challenges.
What makes a book appeal to you?
If the book only has a good plot, then there’s no reason to ever re-read it. What appeals to me is a book with good plotting but also well developed characters and strong narrative voices.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy reading all kinds of books, but I also enjoy volunteering as a job club facilitator. In that capacity I help people find jobs by helping them with their goals, their resumes, their interviewing, etc.
Describe the cover in 10 words or less.
A young woman stands in front of the Sphinx.
Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn’t?
No, but I have written something that I thought wasn’t controversial and my editor gave it a very deceptive title that implied that a major company’s product was going to fail. The result was that this company called my company’s parent company and threatened to cancel $10 million dollars in advertising. Now I realize just how important a title really is.
What’s your ‘guilty pleasure’ TV show?
The Big Bang Theory.
Who designed the cover of your book?
Eternal Press designed it. I like the cover, but I would have preferred a younger looking girl who wasn’t quite as attractive.
If you could require high school seniors to read one book, what would it be?
I used to be an English professor so I could name some classics, but I don’t think the kids would enjoy them. I’d require either Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man or Frank Herbert’s Dune. Invisible Man would tell seniors everything they needed to know to understand why we still have a race problem in this country. Dune would tell seniors why preserving the environment is so critical and how difficult it is to recover once the environment is damaged.
What can your readers expect from you next?
I have completed a paranormal mystery entitled Silent Partner that features a very spunky, sassy, very dead guardian angel. I am writing a teen adventure entitled Jane Blond, International Spy. I also am writing a science fiction novel entitled Til Death Do Us Part that features a romance between a human and an alien that threatens the future for mankind.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve had an amazing number of different careers. Just to give you a sampling, I’ve been an autopsy assistant, a law enforcement administrator, a sales man and sales manager, a software trainer, an English professor, an industry analyst, a market research executive, etc. I find that knowing about so many different types of jobs and the people associated with these different jobs gives me a wealth of information to draw upon when writing fiction. The careers I’ve had are so different and the people I worked with so very different that my wife says she feels like she’s been married to 12 different men.
Thanks Stan, for joining us today and good luck with Egypt Rising!
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.
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