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Friday, January 3, 2014

The Lady with the Pen - An interview with Inge H Borg

I am delighted to present an interview with Inge H. Borg, a multi-talented lady who writes fascinating novels covering several different genres.  I think an interesting life makes for interesting writing (and considerable charm) and Inge fits this notion.  She graciously agreed to let me interview her:

You are  a lady who knows what she likes and has the Austrian flair for expression and charm.

Diana, thank you for your kind words. Now that my head is bigger, i.e. swelled, I am happy to answer some questions. I really do appreciate my visit with you and your blog-fans here.

In the time that I have known Inge H. Borg (her author’s name) I have learned that she is humorous, wise, understanding, with a spark of mischief.  I also learned, to my surprise, that she was not born speaking English, but learned this terribly difficult language, which she speaks better than I do. 

In the course of our conversations she has let slip facts about her life that hint of travel, of cosmopolitan experiences, with a dash of intrigue.  So let me ask: can you tell us about your life, where you grew up, what you learned and where (schools?  Training?) and what brought you here? 

I am an old Austrian mountain goat (think Heidi), but left home on a long train ride when I was 18 to do the “au pair-thing,” first in London and then in Paris. An opportunity opened up and I worked a year in Moscow at the French Embassy (Talk about intrigues. Perhaps better not.) 

I actually vacationed in Sochi (recently of Olympic fame). This is interesting because I left Russia for a great job at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck from where I was transferred to Vienna to help prepare for the Tokyo Games; alas, I had to wait for another 8 years before I got there on a tour. 

In Vienna, a new company recognized me as a ‘gypsy’ and sent me to Chicago. After three years, my heels itched and I moved to Boston. Loved that town! However, a former NYC multi-national corporation beckoned and I moved to New Hampshire to join the ranks of “them,” meaning that if you were recognized as one of “them,” the price went up as soon as you entered an antique store 

During another frigid winter, somebody said that I would love San Diego with its good opera and palm trees. That was enough for me...except that my boos cautioned that in California, they were all crazy and young. Heck, I wasn’t even dead yet. Sold my little house, gave the cat away (he rejoined me via American Airlines six months later), and drove my little Opel cross-country. And what a grandiose country it is! 

After I managed to buy a townhouse in La Jolla, that Jewel of the Pacific Coast, I thought I had died and gone to heaven – I also thought I would never leave it. You know what they say! Okay, it was time to come down from my lofty existence, and I searched the Internet for a little house I might like with high ceilings and a garage. Anywhere on a lake. “Anywhere” turned out to be in the Foothills of the Ozarks. I mean, Arkansas. 

Okay. Off I went. This time in an older Volvo and with my old cat. House turned out to be perfect. While I am not right on the lake, I look out over a golfcourse. Alas, once again, it is colder than I had imagined and I dream of warm ocean breezes and tropical islands. Who knows what the future holds. 

Aren’t you sorry now you asked?
Not at all, Inge.  As one who moved a great deal, I admire your adventurous outlook. 

I encountered you for the first time on Goodreads, where you are a Goodreads author.  You had quite a few books to your credit – poetry, humor, intrigue.  Can you tell me about them?

Inge H. Borg's books, from Mystery to Intrigue to Poetry to heartwarming memories...
 I am glad you touched on some of my books’ ‘traits.’ Probably like most of us, I started out being ‘earnest’ with my outpourings, mainly my poems. 

Then, I discovered that there was this mischievous splint in my soul and I dared to mix some lighter stuff into my writing (and if anyone asks, I will steadfastly deny that any of that stemmed from my own experiences. I will also deny that I sometimes tell a fib). 

How long have you been writing?

I began to concoct fairly good essays rather early mostly to make up for my mathematical ineptitude. (My mother even told the school principal to ‘let it go.’ It was hereditary.) Luckily, the stunned man obliged and let me matriculate with good grades all around.

Tell me about passages in your books of which you are most proud of. 

I feel that the three Prologues for Khamsin, Sirocco and Cataclysm are my most ‘cherished’ passages. They set the mood, introduce foreboding, and even clarify the choice for the titles. But for the sake of not making this interview interminable (people hate that), why don’t I post them separately on my blog. By the way, there is a funny annotation from a native English-speaker after he was told (by me) to leave them alone!

What was it that made you start writing?

You mean, books? Actually, it was a chance suggestion from a colleague at work. I started my painstaking research (no Internet then) in 1991. When I had Khamsin done (all 250,000 words of it), my eager ‘mentor’ offered himself up to be my ‘editor.’ 

The outcome was quite funny (in retrospect). Not to bore you here, I will write another post for my blog as to how that little venture worked out:


I have linked to my review of Khamsin.  The happenings of that novel appear in your later ones, most intriguingly.  Tell us about that.

After years of querying agents (surely you remember that painful process), just about two years ago, I happened on an article about Amazon’s self-publishing opportunities. I slashed and burned 100,000 words until I was happy with this Historical Fiction novel about Ancient Egypt. 

The learning curve of figuring out how to format for e-book and print was as steep as my first cover was banal. Luckily, we befriended each other on Goodreads – with the result that you designed a wonderful cover for Khamsin; windswept and foreboding; I can taste the gritty sand between my teeth. You also inserted a winged scarab which I then gave more importance in the novel itself—hence, the Legends of the Winged Scarab series was born; thanks to your inspiration. 

Book 2 - SIROCCO, Storm over Land and Sea- is a modern-day archaeological thriller that deals with the Golden Tablets from Khamsin. From Cairo to the Kharga Oasis, through the Red Sea. A storm-tossed sailboat in the Med, with action on Cyprus and a devastating sirocco that sweeps over Crete. (Travel, anyone?)

One of the main characters is a powerful fierce Egyptian archaeologist who has vowed to save his country’s heritage from the new Morsi government; and is fired for it. Oh, he always wears a Fedora hat. (Anyone?)
What projects are you working on at the moment in the writing field?

I am working on Book 3 – After the Cataclysm. We now follow those Golden Tablets to an island off Venezuela. I have also given a real ghost ship a new life (they are still looking for it in the Atlantic; I will have a link to its dedicated website in my book). This dystopian novel plays out around 2016 after the eruption of a super-volcano.

You have written about, and worked with, rescued shelter animals and have adopted two beautiful Maine Coon cats. Pasha and Lilliput. Since Pasha  is the more gregarious one, his handsome self is on the cover of his own book.  This obviously plays a large part in your life: tell us about it.

After I retired and moved to Arkansas, I was roped in for an hour or two a week to do volunteer work at a small local animal shelter. You know how that goes.

Within a short time, I had chucked my high heels and silk suits and was scooping you-know-what on a regular basis. My book not only tells of the wonderful cats and dogs we cared for, but of some of my initial hilarious ineptitudes and how I was taught to overcome my lifelong cynophobia; by the dogs, of course. 

Let us pretend that you somehow came into a situation where you could go wherever you wished and do whatever you wished.  Where would you go, and what would you do?

Have a delightful, simply little bungalow in Hana on Maui. There, on my terrace facing the ocean, I would – what else – write the day away. 

If you could go back to any time in history, whether ancient or recent, where would you go?

I often felt that I was born one hundred years too late, and that I would have loved Vienna during the last of its imperial hurrah. Of course, my dream fully assumes that I would have belonged to the privileged few. If, in reality, I would have been a chambermaid or worse, things obviously would not have been so much to my liking. Ah yes, we all have our little illusions about ourselves...I only pray that I do not have them about spewing forth pertinent and interesting words by the thousands.

I am going to be coming by for dinner at your house, Inge.  What would you serve?

How delightful, Diana. I know that you are a good cook. I, however, am an utter disaster in the kitchen. So, if you want meat, I hope you like shoe-leather.

Hm...  Shoe leather...  I think that is called Jerky here.  I like jerky, but perhaps I'll roll up my sleeves and cook something while you entertain me with sparkling conversation and some Merlot (see below).

I have two menus for dinner guests; after that, understanding friends are either served the same thing, or guests don’t come again. Since one of my menus includes fresh seafood (easy when I lived in San Diego), things are a bit more dicey in Arkansas. Here, the stuff is either frozen or it’s fried catfish. So, I think I’ll serve my failsafe cheese/broccoli soufflĂ© with a nice Merlot (same difficulty goes for wine; this is a dry county and my neighbors and I often lug contraband for the whole street over from the next county); astounding—or  should I say archaic—laws in this day and age. 

But I am sure your blog-fans are not interested my lack of culinary prowess. Hopefully, they’ll want to check out my writing as well as that of other talented Indie authors whom I have featured on my two blogs. 

For my historical fiction, my blog is:

Pasha, that sweet beast, has his own blog where I also feature other authors and their animals.

To toot my own horn, I hope that your readers will check out my various author pages:

Diana, thank you again for having me on your great blog.

It is always a pleasure 'talking' with you, Inge, and I think everyone will enjoy the links and the books and getting to know you.  ...now, about that Merlot? 

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Khamsin The Devil Wind of the NileKhamsin The Devil Wind of the Nile by Inge H. Borg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ancient Egypt is thought of, by many, as the dawn of history. This book takes you to a time that is before history, bringing to life names that we only know from fragments, harking to a rhythm and image that is smoothed and darkened by time. And yet the author makes them human.

This is the very earliest period of dynastic Egypt, a time when the border between history and legend is blurred, when the kings and queens of that land seem to be gods that stepped down from the bowl of the sky and trod the land...

The author states:
At the dawn of the great Egyptian dynasties, before any Pyramids were built and the camel was introduced to the Nile regions, certainly long before the royal title of Pharaoh came into use, Aha rules as the second King of the First Dynasty... H i8s triumph and tragedy plays out centuries before the Greek colonization of the Two Lands... To this day our vague answers are drawn only from relics and mummies of much later dynasties, their cities wrenched from the hot red dust driven into the verdant river valley for fifty days by the Khamsin, the dreaded Devil Wind of the Nile. In Khamsin, the reader is immersed in the life of the fertile Valley of the Nile, as flesh and muscle have been molded back onto those brittle bones...

She molds them well. We meet characters that catch the exotic cadences of the faraway times as we follow the fate of a life conceived in the beginning pages. We watch first one character and then another - the general of the Fourth Army of Amun, who is tender to his faraway wife, lusty with a woman of the desert, and crafty. (And I must remember never to go back to that time and agree to carry an important message...)

And we meet Ramose...

This is a story to savor, written lusciously, with care and enjoyment. I grew to love Ramose, to enjoy his dry wit and his wide-eyed mysticism. The writing is lyrical at times, so rare in a time of utilitarianism, and the Khamsin is in the background, lending its tone to the story.

I enjoyed this - and I rejoice to tell you that Ms. Borg has written another, arising from this but far, far in the future from this story. I think you will enjoy it, too.
View all my reviews


  1. An in-depth and astounding interview. Inge has lived an amazing life. The books sound so appealing and I must try them. How I'd love to have an ocean view from my window.

  2. Dear Diana,
    First, thank you for taking time and care to interview me. Sitting alone in my writer's lair, I don't often think back to where it all began. But now, I am inspired again to get on with Book 3 of the series (more storms and bashing about in boats trying to save Egypt's Golden Tablets).
    And, as always, your design artistry comes through loud and clear with my cover collage (I might just have to 'steal' that one--love the golden background; how fitting).
    With thanks and best wishes,