Local Resident Sandra Hurt Pens Historical Fiction Book

Writer / Jeff Worrell
Photography Provided

In my first column for Carmel Magazine, I am excited to bring you unique stories about interesting people and organizations with a connection to Carmel.Sandra Hurt

The Domina of the Villa, Rufilla Istacidia, while not exactly a Carmel resident, is a woman you should meet, if only in the pages of a book. Fortunately for us, author Sandra Hurt, who is a Carmel resident, will handle the details and does so with the grace of a master storyteller.

Through extensive research, multiple journeys to Pompeii and an internal drive that would not let her quit, Hurt has tackled one of my favorite genres, historical fiction. Her bookPriestess of Pompeii is written about a woman who, as Hurt describes to me, could be a role model for modernday women who might be going through a transition.

I felt like I was writing for the modern-day woman who has rituals that are not so much different today then in the era of Rufilla,says Hurt, who captures ancient feminine wisdom and shares it throughout the book.

Sandra HurtYou might be wondering why a woman from Carmel, Indiana, would choose to write about a woman who is born into poverty, is rescued by a wealthy Pompeiian family, goes through a very dark time, and is feisty, curious and loves learning.I was taken by her,Hurt says.

Turns out, during a trip to the area, after experiencing the many frescoes in the Villa of the Mysteries, Hurt says she found an image that she couldnt get out of her head. And so it began, the wondering about why this priestess, a real person from many centuries ago, chose Hurt to bring her story to life. She told me it was all she could think about,resulting in an epiphany that a book must be written.  

Days turned into weeks, which turned into months, which produced years of research, much of it gathered in the Wells Library in Bloomington, Indiana.Priestess of Pompeii:The Initiates Journey, Book I turned Hurt from researcher to author in 2020. Perhaps you are curious about the title, which includes a reference to Book I. Anyone who picks up this great read will delight in the fact that Hurt is currently working on Book II,and promises me there will be a Book III.  

I am not sure how she finds the time, as she and her husband, Stan, are extremely generous with their time and talent in the world of Carmel nonprofits.

When you run into Hurt, be sure to ask if Rufilla gets married. You must pick up the book so you understand why tSandra Hurthat question is much, much deeper than it may appear. I must stop there or I will spoil the story.

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