INTERVIEW: Author Lester Picker's Cool Hat and More

Fortunately for us, I was able to connect with author Lester Picker, and I asked him a bunch of hot seat questions. Lester has written ancient Egypt stories for adults such as The First Pharaoh and Dagger Of Isis

image: Lester Picker ancient Egypt
"I had a couple of hours off this afternoon between safaris . . ." --Lester
Lester in the Hotseat:

1. First off, I have to ask: Where did you get that cool Indiana Jones hat?
Good question! Forget where I got it, what I'd like to know is where it is right now! Last I saw, it was on a night table in a run-down hotel in Egypt. Either someone lifted it or the bedbugs carried it off. 

2. What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?
Persistent. Adventurous. Pain-in-the-rear. 

3. Give me five words that describe your writing style.
Focused. Passionate. Organized. Descriptive. Character-driven. (Do hyphenated words count as one or two?)

4. You write about Pharaohs. Do you think a leader should be feared or liked?
I think a leader needs to be both feared and liked, even if the peoples' fear comes from the grandeur of the leader's vision. 

5. You've faced all kinds of danger. What’s your greatest fear?

6. Are you a pen and paper writer, or computer all the way?
Computer all the way. If all I have is pencil and paper, I would choose to watch paint dry. 

7. Name your favorite Egyptian period.
For sure it is the First Dynasty, which I write about. I've always been interested in how this whole Dynastic tradition began. Who had the vision to unite Upper and Lower Egypt into one nation that prospered for 3,000 years? How was that accomplished? Those questions intrigued me from the time I was a kid which, coincidentally, was about 3,000 years ago. 

8. Growing up, who was your biggest hero?
Alexander the Great. He still is. 

9. Were you good at history in school?
Oddly enough, no. It bored me to tears. Same periods studied over and over from a dry textbook. My father loved history and took me to museums and encouraged me to read, write and explore our past from anthropology to archaeology. He instilled my love for history and science. 

10. Describe hearing about ancient Egypt for the first time.
Once again, my father was a great admirer of Ancient Egypt. His enthusiasm was contagious. I remember the first few times he took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I was enthralled by the statuary, the tombs, the smells of those dusty rocks, the mystery, and the depth of the civilization. Indeed, I still am. 

11. You're given a choice to be buried ancient Egyptian style. What do you choose, a pyramid or a tomb?
That's easy, it would be a simple tomb, or what Egyptologists call a mastaba. 

12. Name your favorite Pharaoh.
That would be King Narmer, also known as Menes. As far as we know he was the King (they were not really known as Pharaohs) who united Upper and Lower Egypt. For decades he was thought to be a myth, the man that later kings referred to as a god-king. But one of my Egyptologist mentors, Dr. Gunther Dryer of the German Archaeological Institute, found Narmer's actual tomb. Also, the famed Narmer Palette recounts his victory over Lower Egypt. 

13. You've had some great adventures. If you had to face off against the 16-foot alligator or the grizzly again, which would you choose?
Alligators are fast, but not as fast on land as a grizzly. Still, both would be a gruesome way to go. I hope I won't have those kinds of adventures again!  

14. What message would you like to leave with today's readers? 
Read. Be as passionate in your reading as we authors are in our writing. 

Be sure and look for The First Pharaoh online.
(Please note, this book is for adults)
image: The First Pharaoh by Lester Picker

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