Interview with Anna Sykora, author of ‘The Scarab of Thutmose’

Anna SykoraNext we have an interview with Anna Sykora, author of ‘The Scarab of Thutmose’.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your writing

I grew up in a Manhattan apartment, a shy total oddball, reading my better world. Later I had a dream -I wanted to eat – so I actually practiced corporate tax law for 12 years (a nice living, no life). Then I married a German with visa problems. Now I’ve no living but a lovely life, reading and writing to my heart’s surfeit in this provincial nest (German Hanover).

I write everything from humor to apocalyptic horror and traditional poetry. I just placed my 98th tale and 188th poem, all by editors’ choice.

The internet keeps me connected with fantastic creatives pursuing their visions, all for tokens of money or just true love. At the end of the day, it’s love that matters more – most folks agree.

How did you get the idea for the story ‘The Scarab of Thutmose’?

I was reading the scholar Toby Wilkinson’s lavishly illustrated Lives of the Ancient Egyptians, and there on page 50 is a sculpture of a fleshy, almost female scribe. What if? I wondered. Down the ages, how many women have pretended to be men, in order to make careers they loved?

Looking at more pictures of art, and researching Egyptian life helped me fill in the story.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

As a girl I fell in love with H. G. Wells, and I still revere his lucid style. I just love Dostoyesky too, for his insights into the angels that dwell with the demons within us.

In poetry I’d say Rilke and Emily Dickinson rule my attention; both, extremely solitary, expressing their personhood through precise art.

As well as fiction I understand that you also write poetry. I am
fascinated to know more about how you balance working in these two
different formats.

Poetry for me is my deepest language: not even a ‘practice’, it’s what I hear in my head. On a desert island, I’d write poems in the sand, or recite them to the shrieking birds. I usually can write it after a short nap in the late afternoon. Sometimes it burbles up of its own free will, and I just have to write it down.

Prose, on the other hand, is WORK – best handled after breakfast, while the coffee’s still hot. I’ll rewrite a story 20 times, till every sentence sings. Then I’ll keep sending it out, no matter what, until it sticks somewhere. I once got a tale accepted after 37 rejections, no lie.

What are you working on at the moment?

My usual, ridiculous hodgepodge of SF and horror prose – and literary verse. Never will I ‘specialize’ and become a unique selling proposition! Indeed I’d like to try more alternate history soon. It tickles my imagination.

Having lived in Germany for decades now, I’d be confident trying a German setting.

Anna also told us about some of her other publications

I’ve got a humorous fantasy, ‘My Unicorn Summer’ in the latest issue of Mystic Signals, and my satire of marriage, ‘A Little Dust’ should appear in The Cynic Online on August 1.

Readers who liked ‘The Scarab of Thutmose’ might also enjoy my SF epic Megachicken, in last October’s archives of Radio Station WRFR’s ‘Beam Me Up’ programme in Rockland, Maine.

Don’t forget to read a free sample of Anna’s ‘The Scarab of Thutmose’ from the second issue of Alt Hist. We think you’ll like it.

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