#Interview with Justin Newland, author of The Genes of Isis

This one is for those of you who love mythological fiction and fantasy. I have an excerpt for you from The Genes of Isis by Justin Newland, as well as an interview with the author. Feel free to ask him more questions in the comments as you follow the tour. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Akasha is a precocious young woman who lives in a world where oceans circulate in the aquamarine sky waters.

Before she was born, the Helios, a tribe of angels from the sun, came to Earth to deliver the Surge, the next step in the evolution of an embryonic human race. Instead, they left humanity on the brink of extinction and spawned a race of monstrous hybrids. 

Horque is a Solarii, another tribe of angels, sent to Earth to rescue the genetic mix-up and release the Surge. 

When Akasha has a premonition that a great flood is imminent and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change. But will it save the three races – humans, hybrids and Solarii – from the killing waters?

Read an excerpt:

Opening Fryme's package, she fingered the dark green leaves. She'd used hyssop many times before and had grown to enjoy its astringent odours. Deftly, she worked the herb into a paste and poured a droplet onto a wafer. Before lying down on the bench, she re-read the hieroglyphs on the wall: 'The Spell of the Gods' and beneath that, the warning, 'Use me wisely, lest I turn and rend thee.' 

This ritual was the ultimate. It was life and death. She had to be dedicated and fulsome, lest the warning would apply to her. She replayed every detail of the ritual in her mind before preparing for the trance. The timing was of the essence: according to the proscription of the ritual, it had to be conducted on the night of the round moon and completed by the rise of the sun. 

Carefully, she adjusted the aperture on the glow-lamp so the amount of light hovered on the twilight between astral and incarnate. Lying on the bench, she placed the wafer beneath her tongue, relishing the minty bitterness of the hyssop as it suffused her being. Slowly, a mists and vapours of the astral veiled her eyes. 

She drifted in and out of consciousness, as her ka eased out of her physical body, until she crossed through the Veil and entered its natural domicile, the huge edifice of the astral light. Immediately, she settled into her familiar astral cloak - the golden lioness. It felt good to be back amongst the warmth of her own kind. 

Oh, how she'd missed the freedom of the astral light, where she could fly the universe at the speed of thought and take wing through millions of years in an instant. Through her ka, she looked down on herself, lying on the bench. Would this be the last time she'd ever do so? She banished the thought. For now, she had to be meticulously correct. Her enemies were doubt, fear, and hesitation. 

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Hi Andi, many thanks for hosting this stop on the Goddess Fish promotional blog tour of my novel, The Genes of Isis. 

Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.

The Genes of Isis is a mythological thriller set under Ancient Egyptian skies and is a re-telling of the Biblical story of the Flood. 

What was the inspiration behind this book?

I love research and always have. I enjoy the discovery of it, the feeling of gaining new knowledge, a new piece of evidence that slots into some ongoing pattern or trend. 

I thrive on the discovery of history and of people and events which shed light on the human condition. 

What do I mean by ‘human condition’?

Well, it’s how and why we have inherited the society we live in today. How did we get to where we’ve got to today?  

What kind of research did you have to do for it?

A lot. Here’s a sample of it. 

The genes of Isis is a glyph for the word genesis, hence the reference to the Book of Genesis. This tells the story of how the Fallen Angels arrive on Mount Hermon and mate with the daughters of man, producing a race of mixed-genetic creatures. 

Legends from other ancient cultures mention cross-breeding between species; for example, the apocryphal Book of Enoch speaks of the Grigori or Fallen Angels who came to Earth and mated with ‘the daughters of men,’ spawning the Nephilim, an antediluvian race of giants. The Epic of Gilgamesh talked of strange beings such as fish-men who came ashore for the day and returned to the sea at night. 

Another thread in the story of the Fallen Angels is that of the Flood of 40 days and 40 nights. But if the deluge lasts that long, how did all that water get up there in the first place? This brings us to an utterance from the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts: 

‘I shall cross the great lake in the sky and return home to my double on the sun.’ 

Not only does this moot a ‘lake in the sky’, but it suggests the Ancient Egyptians were beings from the sun or sun-folk. So what was happening here? 

In the 16th Century, Old Mother Shipton, a Yorkshire prophetess, coined her answer: 

‘Beneath the water, men shall walk. Shall ride, shall sleep, shall even talk.’ 

What if the waters were already up there in the sky, causing the earth to shrink like a dried prune, leaving the remaining oceans on shallow sea beds? 

This gave me the idea to characterise the Fallen Angels as sun-folk who manifested in human form. Following the Book of Genesis story further, their shenanigans with the daughters of men made genetics unstable, loosening the bindings that normally prevented successful inter-species cross-breeding. NB Today, animals resulting from cross-breeding between species, like a liger or a mule, are themselves infertile.  

This was the germ of the idea for the novel: an alternative genesis of the human race. 

Esoteric concepts such as the akashic record and the astral body were interwoven with these ideas. 

The akashic record is a complete compendium of all thoughts, events and emotions in history encoded in a numinous plane of existence. From this, I derived the name of the novel’s heroine, Akasha, a Sanskrit word meaning aether or atmosphere. The astral body is a personal spirit entity which can leave a person during sleep, travel through the vast numinous corridors of the akashic record and re-connect to the history of any person or event from any previous epoch. This is what Edgar Cayce, an American mystic, claimed to have done. 

Other research involved reading Doris Lessing’s Shikastra, which speculated on how humans may have lived in the time before recorded history. 

And the name Samlios, where the initial action of the novel unfolds, is taken from Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson, another book I read in the research of the story. 

On what are you currently working?

I’m working on a two-book series set in Elizabethan times in 16th century England.

I had intended to write one novel, but my muse had other ideas, and that’s how I ended up with two. 

The hero is a young Flemish-Dutch émigré called Nelan Michaels, who flees to England from the Netherlands to escape Spanish persecution of his Protestant family. Spain was the wealthiest and most powerful Catholic country in Europe and had invaded the Netherlands.

Nelan participates in two of the most formative events in the history of England; Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world and the repulse of the Spanish Armada. Those stories form the basis for the two books.

The series is called The Shoes That Don’t Wear Out, and the enigmatic title alludes to my penchant for writing secret history thrillers. 

The questions I wanted to explore in these novels are: What is the nature of (the land of) England? Why were these two events turning points in the development of England as a nation?

Justin Newland

24th June 2022

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. 

His Books

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.

The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.  ISBN 9781789015829.

The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society. 

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.

“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war…  filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.

His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.  

“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.” http://www.justinnewland.com/ https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/

Justin Newland will be awarding one signed copy of the paperback (US or International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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