Two southern Indiana libraries will host an innovative Zoom author program during November’s National Novel Writing Month. Author Sandra Hurt of Indianapolis will tell the story of how almost 30 years of researching ancient Pompeii allowed her to write and publish “Priestess of Pompeii: The Initiate’s Journey,” just released this fall. Sullivan County and Knox County Public Libraries will jointly sponsor the virtual author talk at 11 a.m on Nov. 14.

“So many people are fascinated by the city of Pompeii, the scene of the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.,” says Hurt. “My novel is set earlier, though, in the time of Julius Caesar and follows a family, their friends and business associates through their life in the town — and on their travels to Greece. It is really centered on the life of their adopted daughter Rufilla, who has special gifts and becomes a priestess.”

Roman customs of eating and living, ceremonies of worship of the gods, battle customs of Caesar’s army, and especially the life of women in classical times are part of the book, and Hurt will speak about those as well as her extensive research in ancient cities today and museums.

“It was my job to bring this gifted priestess to life,” says Hurt.

“I hope to share, also, how those attending who have a fascination with history can turn that interest into a novel or a non-fiction book — a few tips from my own experience. I wasn’t a writer when I got the message that this would be the book for me to write,” the author says. “And I’ll touch on present-day excavations and archaeology at Pompeii.”

The Zoom format for a library talk is innovative in southern Indiana. Sullivan library director Jordan Orwig will manage the technical aspects of the program. Those who wish to attend via Zoom can register for the virtual book talk by contacting the libraries: Knox County, 812-886-4380, or; Sullivan County Public Library, 812-268-4957, Those registering will need to provide their name and email when registering.

The book is featured on Hurt’s Web site, Priestess of

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