Interview: Joshua Silverman, Author of The Emerald Tablet

Everyone, please welcome Joshua Silverman, a talented author who combines mythology, science fiction, and fantasy into his planned 7-part series Legends of Amun Ra.

Joshua Silverman was born in Washington, D.C. He moved to Orange County, California where he was raised.

While attending California State University, Fullerton and studying Criminal Justice, Joshua was introduced to a creative writing class where he wrote a series of paranormal stories. As a child, he has always been an amateur historian, focusing on ancient Egypt, Greek, and Roman civilizations.

Since working in the legal environment he has combined his passion for creative writing with his love of ancient history by penning his debut novel, The Emerald Tablet, the first of seven in the Legends of Amun Ra series.

Joshua currently resides in Orange County, California and enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his family.

SilvermanEmeraldTablet1) In my experience, some of the best fiction is based on facts and history. How do you build your research into your fictional works?

I usually try not to be terribly overt about it. Sometimes it’s as simple as names of places (i.e. Karnak district in the Thothian Empire is a real place in Egypt). The story Pythos tells Atlantia of Lycurgus and Osiris – Lycurgus was a real person in ancient Greece. Or even how the Amun Priest’s all have shaved heads and beards, which was standard grooming for priests in ancient Egypt. Also, foods they eat, how they’re cooked (which I get more into in subsequent books – The Emerald Tablet doesn’t focus too much on food), are all based on real cuisine in ancient Egypt or Greece. In The Soul of the World (book 2), I introduce a drink called Henqet, which is a whiskey-like cocktail. But the word “Henqet” is actually the ancient Egyptian word for ‘beer’. So it’s little things like that. Thoth’s conquest of the district of Messenia is inspired by true history as well, except it was the ancient Spartans that conquered Messenia in the 7th century, BCE, and made the Messenians into “helots” or slaves.

2) Hearing historical tales and ancient myths as bedtime stories, was there a time in your life that those stories were very real to you?

I’ve always been enamored with the story of Thermopylae. Not the fake one in the movie 300, which was an interpretation of Frank Miller’s comic book, which was an interpretation of real events, but the true story of the battle and that whole war, is quite amazing.

3) Which ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Ah, that’s such an impossible question. There are 21 books on ancient Egypt in my immediate TBR pile. A quick Amazon search reveals that there are 5,800 books on ancient Egypt available on Amazon. So you can see, the danger in writing about mythology is that there’s so much research material available, one could never stop researching. But, the most alluring books in the TBR pile are Serpent in the Sky, The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus: From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World, Thoth: The History of the Ancient Egyptian God of Wisdom, and Egyptian Magic: The Quest for Thoth’s Book of Secrets

4) In one of your first writing classes, you wrote a paranormal series of stories. Any plans to brings those to the published world?

Let’s just say that I have ideas. Something’s brewing back there for a story, but I need to work out some big questions first.

5) Your educational and work background is in legal stuff (technical term), including a degree in criminal justice. Does this background add to your writing skills, or was it all pretty much a snoozer and you keep it completely separate from your writing identity?

I don’t know if working in the legal environment has helped me directly with writing fiction – they’re completely different skills and styles of writing. What working in the legal environment has done for me, however, is give me a crazy passion for research and legwork as well as a very organized, logical way of doing things. It makes the writing easier.

SilvermanGardensOfAmpheia6) The Legends of Amun Ra series strongly incorporates Egyptian mythology. What are a few nonfiction books you would recommend to the uninitiated who are curious about alchemy, the Egyptian gods, and their daily practices?

The first one I’d say to read has nothing to do with alchemy. It would be Normandi Ellis’ modern translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It’s called Awakening Osiris. If that doesn’t get your curiosity going on the pure power of that book, then reading everything else won’t interest you at all. For a good intro book specifically on Thoth/Hermes/alchemy, I would go with The Hermetica by Thimothy Freke and Peter Gandy. It’s about 100 pages and a quick, easy read.

7) Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of self-promotion and what are some of the least favorite parts of self-promotion?

Conventions are by far the best thing about being an author. I love meeting fans and talking to them about Egyptian mythology and the book series. I’ll never forget that one guy asked me to write a blog post specifically about the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, because he couldn’t find any information on her in mainstream books. So I did. It’s that interaction that I thrive on. My least favorite things is anything to do with social media.

8) Brain candy – things that make you grin, guffaw, and let your mind relax: What do you relax with?

Some weights, my guitar, a scotch and a cigar and I’m good.

9) You’re constantly learning & paying attention to things like the Discovery Channel. What is the latest thing you learned about an ancient civilization that astounded you or rocked your socks? 

The find of the ancient port city of Heracleion in Egypt’s Bay of Aboukir. Researcher’s found 64 ships down there and the port is thought to be 1,000 years older than any other ancient port found. It lends some credence to John Anthony West’s and Robert Shoch’s theories about the origin and inadequate dating techniques we’ve used with ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Places to Find Joshua Silverman

Joshua’s Website

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2 thoughts on “Interview: Joshua Silverman, Author of The Emerald Tablet”

  1. Thanks for the interview! As a former resident of Orange County I’m always happy to meet people from the area. And I’m slightly jealous since it’s such a grey day in London.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I had fun interviewing Joshua.

      Part of me is jealous of your grey days, as it is so very hot and dry in the desert Southwest right now.

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