So how does an archaeologist come to write fiction? Some of my associates in the other subfields of anthropology might tell you it’s no great leap – they think that’s what archaeologists do all the time. You can imagine how most of us feel about that joke.
Seriously, I never saw it coming. I always got As in English classes, and my teachers and professors said I was a good writer. But once I got to graduate school, all of my writing was academic. And trust me – professional archaeological writing will never appear on a bestseller list. It’s everything good fiction isn’t – wordy, passive, and jargon-filled. Have trouble sleeping? Pick up an archaeological site report. You’ll be out in no time.
Still, over the years I’d get some ideas and think they’d make an interesting book. But ideas are easy – writing a book is hard. Then, in late 2007 or early 2008, I watched a documentary about the Smithsonian Museums, and there was a segment about a naturally formed mummy. It grabbed my attention. Researchers couldn’t match the name on the headstone with local records from the time the guy lived and died. And some of his clothing wasn’t quite right.
Now there was an idea for a book. An archaeologist excavates a burial, and something doesn’t fit. When she examines the artifact more closely, she accidently reactivates it and the adventure begins. I tried to start it then, but the Muse wouldn’t unlock the door to creative writing. And so the idea kicked around in the back of my head with no way out. But the Muse apparently had plans for 2009.
To Be Continued – if you haven’t seen them yet, I’ve posted the current drafts of the opening scenes to both books