I would like to welcome Killian McRae to One Book At A Time. Killian is the author of 12.21.12. Check out my review HERE.
When I first read the synopsis of 12.21.12, my first reaction was "How in the world did she think up combining ancient Mayan prophecy with Cleopatra?" Turns out I had the opportunity to ask her. And this was her answer ....
I didn't watch much TV after I got to be to in high school. But, there were a few programs that, if I knew they were going to be on, I'd be certain to catch. One such show was the BBC/PBS production (later shown on various cable networks), "Connections." In "Connections," legendary historian James Burke took the viewer through an hour-long exploration of history not categorized by the year or region, but by conceptional congruity. One moment we'd be learning how American farmers were using satellite imagery to plan and maintain field, the next we'd learn how ancient South American cultures used mountain-top views to plan irrigation systems, and in the next we'd learn how Ancient Egyptian used the annual floods of the file to feed an empire for a whole year.
Across all the epochs of history, one fact remains true outside all else: no matter our differences or even our interaction, we always have far more in common than we even realize. And when one beings to take two seemingly dissimilar cultures and examines them more closely, the actual similarities become startling.
I am hardly the first who has drawn attention to the similarities between Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations the early empires of the Near East (Egypt, Sumer, Babylon, etc.) But outside of common structures of government, law and commerce, when we examine even further the striking similarity of modes of adornment, knowledge of the cosmos and medicine, and the design and purpose and iconic pyramid structures, one has to wonder if perhaps these cultures didn't share an immediately common link. How could their advances have been so in tune with each other when we have little to no evidence that suggests they were even aware of the other's existence?
This is where the historian has to rely on abstract notions of coincidence born of coincidence. It is the place, however, where a fiction writer can pull back, smile, and say, "Yeah, it's highly unlikely they had any communication, but, just maybe, what if....?"
And then, if one is going to image a what if that connects these two cultures, one also begins to look into the realm of the cultures keystone events, achievements, and catastrophes ask again, "now, if that, then what if this." What if Cleopatra wasn't really a victim of suicide, but of murder? No doubt many stood to gain from her death under August's watch, and more than a few enemies and patriots alike would have thought the presentation of her "suicide" a least-harm solution to the situation at hand. What if the Mayan prophecy stated that the world will end on 12.21.12 has some merit to it? What could possible be the impetus that would set that fate in motion?
Then, if I'm going to suppose all this, what if they're somehow connected?
History is not a constant, but all of its variables are not known. I decided I wanted to take what is known and plug it in a few new formulas. This is the synthesis behind my novel, 12.21.12: The only way to future is to decode the past. The only way to decode the past is to save the future.
Napoleon said, " History is a set of lies agreed upon." Perhaps fiction can be a collection of truths ignored.
An avid reader since a young age, there was always suspicion that Killian may end up a writer. She completed her first novel at age sixteen, though she wouldn't find the courage to publish her work for nearly fifteen more years. She holds a BA in Near Eastern History from the University of Michican.
Originating from Southeastern Michigan, she now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.