By profession, Nina Bruhns is really an archaeologist (an Egyptologist) but she has worked all kinds of jobs, from real estate to a fabric store clerk to a student counselor at the Fulbright Commission in Stockholm, Sweden. Her favorite was a work-study job in grad school (go U of C!), reorganizing the ancient Egyptian pottery at the University of Chicago’s famous Oriental Institute. The pay was lousy, but holding ceramic jars actually touched by Ramses II and King Tut was awe-inspiring and unbelievably exciting.
Her novels have earned such prestigious honors as the National Readers’ Choice Award, the overall Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Supense (three times), the Dorothy Parker Award (five times), and been nominated for the RITA Award (twice).
My love of Egypt started long ago, while poring through the beautiful books my librarian mother had collected through her interest in ancient art. That love has continued for most of my life, resulting in three degrees in archaeology and Egyptology . . . along with a series of world adventures that have worked their way into my books.
Which brings me to the subject of vampires.
When I was on my first archaeological expedition to northern Sudan (which was part of Egypt in ancient times, and my area of specialty) the team stayed in a tiny village on the Nile. The rumor was that this village was frequented by more vampires than anywhere else in Africa. When heard that, you can just imagine how freaked out I was. Luckily (or maybe not?) I never actually encountered one.
Later, after giving up the life of Indiana Jones (and it really was amazing) to be a mom (equally amazing), I became a writer (how lucky can one person get?) . . . the next best thing, in my opinion. Okay, in some ways it’s even better. No endless trips in planes and bumpy Land Rovers, no sandstorms, no nasty flies getting into everything, no terrorists threatening to blow up your hotel. And hey, you get to work in your jammies!
Needless to say, I was thrilled when Nocturne encouraged me to write a trilogy set in Egypt, combining the mysterious past with the fascinating present. I came up with the concept of the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS—-three very hunky shape-shifting sheikhs and three sizzling hot romances.
Then my editor suggested I make one of my sheikhs a vampire. Okay. How on earth would that work? That’s when I remembered the vampire-ridden village (who could forget it!) and thought, wow, it really would be interesting to incorporate the incredibly sexy archetype of the vampire lord into the ancient Egyptian pantheon! And on top of that, layer on the seductive modern image of the desert sheikh.
Thus, the VAMPIRE SHEIKH was born!
There were not a lot of references to vampirism in Pharaonic times, but I managed to gather and shape the few mentions into a plausible addition to traditional Egyptian mythology, which I then used to build the paranormal world in the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy.
I have to admit, IMMORTAL SHEIKHS was one of my very favorite projects. I loved writing the trilogy in a way that went far deeper than just adoring the characters and losing myself in the fantasy—-though that was certainly true. Writing these books, LORD OF THE DESERT, SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH, and VAMPIRE SHEIKH, was like coming home to old (very old!) friends. Especially the last story—-featuring my one and only vampire.
The hero, Seth, is an immortal demigod, servant of the ancient god Set-Sutekh. His task is to keep the house of his god thriving—-even in today’s modern world when most of the ancient deities have long since vanished and people no longer believe in them. This situation is a strangely interesting parallel to what actually happened back in Pharaonic times, during an era archaeologists call the Intermediate Period. This was a time of vast social, political, and religious upheaval and breakdown, and the literature of the times reflected the deep pessimism and uncertainty experienced by the aristocracy of the day.
The saying “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die,” originated from Egyptian writings of this era.
All this naturally influenced my hero, Seth. As a nobleman from the Old Kingdom, the dawn of Egyptian history, Seth has experienced the collapse and demise of civilization around him many times before. But this time it’s different. This time it is his own beliefs, and his own existence, which are threatened with annihilation.
His salvation comes in a totally unexpected form—-by falling in love.
Vampire, shapeshifter, demigod, leader of men, lover of women, Seth is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever created. I even took a fun liberty . . . I made him the original author of one of the classic pieces of Egyptian literature from ancient times, called The Man Who was Tired of Life: The Conversation of a Man with His Ba (ba means a kind of soul). I figure the copyright ran out long ago, so surely no one would mind.
As always, my heroines are strong, modern-day women who are firmly based in reality and not easy to convince a whole other world exists filled with mystery, magic, and sensual pleasures. It takes the gentle persuasion of three very special men . . . .
I had an incredible time conceiving and writing the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy. I hope you’ll download them and give them a try!
The books came out August and November 2010, and January 2011, and are now available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.
Web Site: NinaBruhns.com
Thank you for that interesting post. The trilogy looks really fascinating and different than what i usually would read -and the fact that this was your area of study and work just adds to it because you know what you’re talking about! Seth seems like a great character. I’m definitely adding the books to my buy list.
I love the way you mixed egyptian mythology with vampires…definitely a must read!!
Intersting combination of Vampires and Egyptian mythology. Definitely have to check on this books
What a cool way to incorporate the subjects you love into a book. I think being an Egyptologist must be a very cool occupation.
Egypt is so fascinating, it’s on my bucket list. :) Sounds like an amazing trilogy!
I love this series! Actually, I love all of Nina Bruhns’s books. I wish she’d write faster!!!
I’ve always been fascinated by Egyptology, but I think it really started a spark of interest for me after reading all sorts of author’s takes on the subject in their fiction works. You must certainly have some fascinating stories since you actually studied and explored these places. I will definitely be getting my hands on your IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy!
I have always loved learning about Egyptian history! This series sounds fabulous!
Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all your great comments! I hope everyone who picks up the trilogy really enjoys it :). Let me know what you think!
I would like to read the series of the Sheiks, having yet to read a story of an Egyptian Vampire it must be an intriguing story, especially about a Pantheon that was hardly known for bring death, as they seem to celebrate life. Although the way the Royal Family used to kill themselves to gain power make it hard to believe. Then again these were the GODS not the humans. I love to read about archaeology and any finds that contradicts our outlook into the past. As for the VAMPIRES those are my favorite characters.
thank you for the wonderful post and the books sound wonderful. they are going at the top of my TBB list for sure.
i have always been fasinated by Egypt and want to go someday. hopefully soon. :)
i hope you and your family have a Happy Holiday Season.
cool !!! I like contests !!! :)
I loved all things Egypt since seeing Boris Karloff in The Mummy. I’ll definitely have to check these book out.
Great interview. I loved the trilogy. It was a compelling read. They have their own spot on my Keeper shelf!
Interesting combination – Egypt and vampires.
I think Egypt is so interesting. Your books sound so good. Great post.
Great post.Thank you for sharing with us .Happy Holidays to you and yours
Very interesting post, Nina! Your occupation as an Egyptologist sounds exciting. When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be an archaeologist, but ended up being a secretary. I want to read all 3 of these books.
This series sounds great. I am always interested in finding unique series and your Sheiks sound great!
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com
Sounds like a GREAT series…adding it to my TBR for sure! Side note…the eye candy doesn’t hurt either! ;)
I have actually read about Vampirism and Egyptian myths together before. And they have recently been prominant in Carole Nelson Douglas’s Delilah Street series I’ve been reading. I definitely need to check your series out.
Thanks for the fantastic post Nina! I love the Egyptian angle.