KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH
By Katie Hamstead
By Katie Hamstead
I am thrilled to have Katie Hamstead on my blog, as she tours around telling the world about her amazing NA Historical Fiction, KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH!
The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.
Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.
For this tour stop, I'm interviewing Mordad--a very supportive side character in KIYA: Hope of the Pharaoh.
I've asked Katie to please first tell you guys a little bit about Mordad, and who she is to the story/to Naomi.
Katie: Mordad is one of the wives of the Pharaoh along with Naomi/Kiya. She is a Persian princess, and becomes Kiya’s best friend.
Jessa: Did you draw from any of the supporting women in your own life to create this character?
Katie: She’s a bit like my younger sister; fiery, a little inappropriate, and places a great deal of faith in Kiya.
Jessa: Welcome to my blog, Mordad! Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.
I’m really excited to share Naomi/Kiya’s story with my readers today, and you play such a huge role in her life once she’s inside the palace. What I don’t know much about, is what life was like for you before Naomi/Kiya came to live with you. Please share a little about your journey, before befriending Naomi/Kiya.
Mordad: I was born in Persia, the first daughter to the second wife of the king. My father offered me to Pharaoh Akhenaten as a treaty marriage when I was thirteen, as he saw I was his most beautiful daughter and knew I would please the great Pharaoh.
When I was first brought to Egypt, the city of Amarna was still being built, so I resided in Thebes for a short time. I liked Thebes, even if the Pharaoh frightened me, and Nefertiti seemed positively terrifying. I kept a low profile then as I was so young and struggled with the language.
During this time I met Smenkhkare. He developed an interest in me, so I had to hide myself whenever he was around. I was grateful when we moved to Amarna as he didn’t come with us and instead moved between Memphis and Abydos.
I had my first baby, little Hepsati when I was fourteen. She was so beautiful and I suddenly knew what love felt like. Hepsati became the light of my life, my reason for living when all I wanted to do was run back to Persia, especially when I received word that my mother had passed.
I hated my life most of the time, but I did become friends with Abi, one of the other wives, not long after I gave birth to Hepsati. Then not long before I lost my second child, my son, Gerlind was brought in and needed people to teach her the language, so Abi and I took her in.
Then Kiya came. I loved her right away, and my life took a turn for the better.
Jessa: In reading Kiya’s story, we learn that Nefertiti is a very difficult woman to get along with. Was she always this way? Was there ever a time that the two of you were close?
Mordad: She definitely grew more difficult as her age set in. When she was still young and baring children regularly, she was so beautiful, and knew our husband’s favor for her was far above the rest of us. I think she felt safe then. But when she had six daughters and no sons, then ceased to conceive, she felt the pressure of her position. She started to talk about Queens inheriting the throne, which after Hatshepsut several generations ago, was not received well by the courts.
Akhenaten knew he needed a son too, and cast his eyes on his other wives for them to give him the heir he required.
I’d say Nefertiti felt her grasp slipping, especially as her beauty started to diminish with her age, especially compared to us younger wives. That was when she went from simply intimidating, to mean and spiteful.
Jessa: Kiya’s life would be much easier without Nefertiti in it, but since that isn’t likely to happen, do you have any plans to help Naomi along the way? Anything up your sleeve?
Mordad: I don’t know. I’m an in the moment kind of person. Kiya is the one who plans things, with that rotten Horemheb. Oh that man infuriates me! But, forgetting him, I will help her however I can and will stand by her to the end. If anyone can defy Nefertiti, it’s her. Already I see our husband’s attention turning to her and away from Nefertiti, and I will encourage that by singing her praises to our husband.
Jessa: Seeing what a great support you’ve been to Naomi as she’s taken on her role as Queen Kiya, I wonder if there are any people who have supported you in such a way?
Mordad: Abi and Gerlind have been my friends for some time. Although, hidden away among the harem we don’t get to see or get out much. I must say tough, things did get easier when Abi and I met. She is about a year older than me, but we have been wives for the same length of time. But she is clever and strong. Her father raised her to be a warrior queen after all, so she helped me learn how to defend myself and keep my head up.
The only friend I’ve made outside of the harem is Mehaleb, whom I believe Kiya calls Malachi. He is the only escort guard who never tried to touch me in some perverted way. He is kind, and easy to talk to, and even taught me some fighting moves for the times Smenkhkare comes to visit.
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