It took me almost thirty years to start writing adventure stories about the land of the pharaohs. Yet the fascination was sparked back then. And it’s never let up.
So I thought I’d indulge myself in a little trip down memory lane as it’s not possible to travel right now due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Here are a selection of pics from each of the trips I’ve taken over the years. These places have all inspired me, and many have provided locations for the action in my mystery/adventure series following Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt.
Here I am in July 1996.
A furiously hot time of the year to go. But I was a bit cash-strapped at the time, and mid-summer is low season in Egypt so it was affordable on my meagre budget. Here I am again with Karnak’s ram-headed sphinxes.
And more sphinxes at Luxor Temple – human-headed this time. By this time I was reading everything I could lay my hands on about Egypt. Barbara Erskine was my book of choice on this trip.
2008 and I’m back again. What can I say ? Egypt exerts a magnetic pull on me. But I’m yet to have the idea of writing about it.
I could afford something rather more special by now so this trip took me down Lake Nasser to see the mighty temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, up to Cairo to visit the pyramids and sphinx and then down the Nile, with stops in Luxor (more sphinxes) and at Edfu temple.
Back at the end of the same year, and surprised to find how chilly it is in winter despite the beautiful blue skies. Here at Medinet Habu and Deir el Medina. (The book I am writing right now – number 10 in the series – is unravelling the mystery of the murder of Ramses III, who built this fabulous temple.)
In 2009 and 2011 I holidayed in Luxor with my extended family. I made friends with Ramses the camel at the lovely Jolie Ville hotel. Also snapped here at the Ramesseum, in Karnak’s Hypostyle Hall and outside Howard Carter’s house (which is where Merry’s adventures begin). By now I’d discovered the wonderful books by Elizabeth Peters and the idea of writing novels of my own about Egypt was starting to form.
2012 and I’m back for a Nile cruise with my parents. We visited in January, and I started writing Carter’s Conundrums at Easter. Yes, you guessed it ! Here I am with some sphinxes !
2013 and back again, now writing Farouk’s Fancies and seeing it as a research trip. Not my happiest visit, this one. But regardless of what might be going on personally, Egypt never fails to impress and inspire.
Fast forward a few years and here I am in 2018, a Nile cruise this time. Didn’t seem right not to include the pic with the sphinxes !
And so we are up to date and my self-indulgent reminiscences are nearly over. Last year I was lucky enough to travel to Cairo twice, both times for a long weekend – just enough time to cram in the sights. And then a wonderful 2-week idyll over Christmas and New Year. Sitting on my hotel balcony in Luxor on New Year’s Eve, I could never have imagined what 2020 would have in store: travel restrictions the world over. So, thank God for photos and memories. And for writing ! Now Merry is embarked on her latest adventure I can journey to Luxor in my imagination whenever I choose.
So you see, when I was a teenager, Egypt reached out and grabbed me. More than thirty-five years later it shows no sign of letting go.
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, fiction books all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.