Born in CA; married. Education: Pomona College, B.A.; Claremont Graduate University, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, archeology, literature.
Home—CA. Agent—Anna Ghosh, Scovil Chichak Galen, 276 5th Ave., Ste. 708, New York, NY 10001.
Full-time writer. Previously worked as a high school teacher for six years.
Nefertiti (novel), Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.
Author of blog History Buff.
Nefertiti is also available as an audio book.
Writer Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley area of California, outside Los Angeles. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and by the time she was twelve years old she had purchased a copy of the Writer's Market, a book that lists potential publishers for all types of writing, and had begun to submit her stories and novellas with an eye toward publication. She attended Pomona College, where she majored in English literature, focusing in particular on the classic British authors such as Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Milton. After graduation, she spent a summer working as a volunteer archeologist in Israel, but literature remained her first love, and she returned to do her graduate studies, earning her master's in English from the Claremont Graduate University. Her interest in travel was piqued, however, as well as a passion for history. Moran has visited many countries around the world, including such exotic locations as India and Zimbabwe, and has continued to visit various archeological sights. This passion led to her interest in writing historical fiction. After spending six years teaching high school, Moran began to focus full-time on her writing career. She devotes time to hosting the history-related blog History Buff, and her first novel, Nefertiti, was published in 2007.
Moran first became interested in writing about Nefertiti following her archeological work in Israel, when during a stopover in Berlin she had the opportunity to see the famous limestone bust of Nefertiti at the Altes museum. The graceful lines of the woman's head and her enigmatic smile caught Moran's imagination and made her want to know more about Nefertiti's life and history. She found research into the subject difficult, however. In an interview for the Dasef Central Blog, Moran explained: "She'd been a woman who'd inspired powerful emotions when she lived over three thousand years ago, and those who had despised her had attempted to erase her name from history. Yet even in the face of such ancient vengeance, some clues remained." Those clues eventually formed the foundation for Moran's novel. She read every book she could find on her subject, then created a storyboard or timeline of Nefertiti's life so that she could determine what information was missing. Because she was writing fiction, she was able to fill in the blanks with events of her own devising, but was careful to keep all of her own creations consistent with what was known about Nefertiti's life. General reading on archeology and Egyptology in particular, along with the help of experts who would answer questions when Moran was uncertain about the feasibility of certain ideas, helped her to keep her work true to both the time period and to the overall history of the pharaohs.
Nefertiti and her husband, the Pharaoh Akhenaten, were renowned for their wild ideas and extravagant rule. Nefertiti had been meant to serve as a calming influence on her husband, who wished to alter the Egyptian practice of praying to multiple gods and instead introduce a monotheist belief system, with Aten the sun god as their sole deity. However, Nefertiti proved to be as ambitious as her husband, and together they made for a chaotic period in Egyptian history, building a new capitol at Amarna and holding themselves up as god-like rulers. Moran took inspiration from a drawing that depicts Nefertiti and Akhenaten worshiped and extolled by their subjects, with the exception of Nefertiti's sister, who stood quietly by, arms down in apparent disapproval. That sister, Mutnodjmet, or "Mutny," serves as narrator for Nefertiti, and it is her skepticism regarding her sister's actions that adds a human element to the political turmoil depicted in the novel. Moran traces Nefertiti's marriage and rise to power, as well as her deep disappointment at giving birth to only daughters, unable to give her husband an heir—something he achieves with a lesser wife.
Moran's effort garnered both strong reviews and excellent sales. Lisa Yarde, in a contribution for the Historical Novel Reviews Web site, noted that some of her choices were somewhat controversial, but concluded: "Moran fills in the gaps of history with such creative skill that most minor distortions do not detract from her flowing narrative or compelling characters. Nefertiti remains an entertaining read throughout." A reviewer for the Edgy Inspirational Author Blog dubbed the book "an unforgettable novel … one that draws you into another world as long as you are reading it, and lingers in your thoughts after you are done. Brilliantly revealed through the eyes of Nefertiti's only sister, the rich history of ancient Egypt comes to life." Library Journal reviewer Jane Henriksen Baird observed that the use of Nefertiti's sister to narrate was "a stroke of genius," and concluded that Moran's work is "beautifully written and completely engrossing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of Nefertiti, p. 7.
Kliatt, January, 2008, Janet Julian, review of Nefertiti, p. 43.
Library Journal, May 1, 2007, Jane Henriksen Baird, review of Nefertiti, p. 73.
Publishers Weekly, April 16, 2007, review of Nefertiti, p. 26.
Art Snob Blog,http://artsnob.blogspot.com/ (January 2, 2008), review of Nefertiti.
Dasef Central Blog,http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/ (July 26, 2007), "Michelle Moran—Walk Like an Egyptian"; (August 8, 2007), review of Nefertiti.
Edgy Inspirational Author Blog,http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/ (July 19, 2007), review of Nefertiti.
Enduring Romance Blog,http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/ (May 16, 2007), review of Nefertiti.
Historical Novel Reviews Blog,http://historicalnovelreviews.blogspot.com/ (September 5, 2007), Lisa Yarde, review of Nefertiti.
Michelle Moran Home Page,http://www.michellemoran.com (March 20, 2008).
Written Word Blog,http://myreadingbooks.blogspot.com/ (July 9, 2007), review of Nefertiti.