Behind the Book
Soraya and Zahir's story owes a lot to the old Tristan and Iseult legend. There are various versions but one I know is that Tristan is sent by his king to the lovely Iseult to escort her back with him for her royal marriage to the much older king. Along the way Iseult and Tristan fall in love and that's where things become complicated. The versions vary on what happens next and whether the ending is tragic or romantic
As a romance writer I had to believe my pair could find a happy ending, but frankly, when I started writing, I wasn't sure how that would happen. All I knew was that both Soraya and Zahir feel they owe a lifetime's debt to the Emir who is planning to marry Soraya. The last thing either of them wants to do is betray him. But from the moment they meet they discover an instant, blood-sizzling attraction for each other.Â That makes their journey, alone together, a real test of character and willpower. Soon things get worse as they begin to realise it's love they feel, not simple physical attraction. That's when things become really difficult! This is an intense story fuelled by the tug of forbidden love vs duty
My characters come from a Middle Eastern kingdom where arranged marriages aren't unusual. But Soraya has been studying far away in Paris, where she's begun to discover a world and a way of life outside her own. She's begun to dream of the life she might have if she were free to pursue her own goals rather than marry out of obligation. When she discovers she's got no option but to travel with the brooding and far too sexy Zahir, she makes one stipulation - that they travel the long, slow way home. She's not ready to marry yet.
As a result the early part of this book is set in Paris and parts of rural France including the Loire Valley and the lovely Perigord around the Dordogne River. The pair travel by way of Monte Carlo and Rome before finally arriving in the desert kingdom of Bakhara.
I was lucky as I wrote this story as I'd not long ago spent some time travelling in France. Most of the places you read about in the book are based on real locations I had the luck to visit and enjoy. In some cases I changed them a little, for instance the Chateau Azay le Rideau provided inspiration for a luxury hotel surrounded by forest and rose gardens. Others, like Clos Luce, where Leonardo da Vinci once lived, are as I recall them.
I hope you have a marvellous time with Soraya and Zahir, as they battle the odds to find their happy ending.Reviews Excerpt Return