A scandal that shocks a nation…A passion that transforms a woman…
At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the modern, the exotic, and the ground-breaking collide as exhibitions from all corners of the globe draw millions of spectators. But Dora Chambers has more pressing matters to consider.
Dora has hopes to begin a long-dreamed-of life of wealth and privilege in Chicago. So she sets out to earn the approval of the local women of high society--the World Fair’s Board of Lady Managers--to appease her socially ambitious, aloof husband. Unimpressed with the young bride from New Orleans, they give her the distasteful task of enforcing proper conduct on the Egyptian belly dancing exhibition.
But Dora's sensibilities are not so easily flustered by the dancers. She finds herself captivated by these exotic women, and by their enigmatic manager, Hossam Farouk, who makes his mistrust of her known--although his lingering glances hint at something else.
As Dora's eyes are opened to the world beyond her own oppressive life of social expectations and quiet servitude, she finds the courage to break free of her self-imposed bondage, and discover the truth about the desire and passion in her own heart.
Getting to know DeAnna Cameron
DeAnna Cameron spends much of her time dreaming up romantic historical adventures featuring feisty heroines destined for passion and fame—an endeavor that was not so useful when she was a newspaper reporter, and even less so when she became a magazine editor. Yet, she managed and did her best to behave like a serious journalist during her 15-year career, which included stints in newsrooms and editorial offices of many fine Southern California publications. Those old storyteller dreams never subsided, however, and once she landed in the thrilling world of fiction, those old habits became very useful indeed. These days, she’s dreaming up stories from her home in Orange County, Calif., where she lives with her family and a ninety-pound chocolate Labrador retriever.
Jillian: How often do you get lost in a story?
DeAnna: All the time! Isn’t that what writing a story is about? When I’m writing scenes, I do my best to immerse myself in it so I can capture the subtle nuances in the characters’ dialogue and the body language, as well as the details that make the setting come to life.
Jillian: Where do you read and how often?
DeAnna: During the day, if I’m not writing or revising a manuscript, I’m doing research. One of the things I love about writing historical novels is that there is so much research to do, and most of that boils down to reading. Books, articles, university archive materials, you get the idea. So that’s how I spend my days, and then at night I almost always have to read something for entertainment to relax my brain so I can get to sleep.
Jillian: What’s the first book you remember reading?
DeAnna: I’ve been a reader all my life and I can remember reading all kinds of silly stories as a child. But the first memorable book, well, that would be a toss-up between “A Wrinkle In Time” and “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret.” I read both about the same time, and the experience was like a rite of passage for me. I looked at the world differently after those books, and I guess they were the ones that first showed me how powerful – and how personal – stories can be.
Jillian: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
DeAnna: I usually do and I’m pretty picky about it. It must be set to a pretty low volume and it has to be either instrumental or have non-English lyrics. Otherwise, I find myself thinking about the lyrics instead of the scene. I also try to pick music that has the same mood I’m trying to evoke in the scene or narrative. In THE BELLY DANCER, I listened to a lot of classical music for the society scenes. When I wrote about the Egyptian belly dancers and musicians, I loaded up my Middle Eastern music collection. That was fun.
Jillian: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
DeAnna: Yes! The exotic music that accompanies the belly dancers during their performances is such an important part of the story that I wanted readers to be able to get a taste of it. I’ve posted some of my favorites on my website as a suggested playlist, which you can find it here: [http://www.deannacameron.com/TheBellyDancer/TBDReadingGroups.html#Suggested Playlist] From that list, Music of the Ghawazee, ARAF / Aisha Ali is my absolute favorite because it most closely resembles how those Egyptian musicians would have sounded.
Jillian: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
DeAnna: That I’m a costume geek? I’ve never quite outgrown my childhood love of playing dress-up. I have a couple Victorian gowns, which are my current favorites, and an obscene number of corsets and Victorian-inspired pieces that I mingle in with my everyday clothes. I also have bins filled with Renaissance Faire skirts, bodices and chemises, as well as belly dance costumes, both tribal and cabaret, of course. My newest project is putting together a vintage 1930s or 1940s Hollywood glamour look for a costumer function I’ll be attending later this summer. I’m on the hunt for the perfect black feather fascinator, so if you know where I can find a great one, email me!
Jillian: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
DeAnna: Now that I’ve already confessed my dirty little costume secret, it probably won’t surprise anyone that I would love to be a costume designer. I sew—at least I do when I have free time, which isn’t often lately, but nevertheless, I have a lot of fun with it when I can.
Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
DeAnna: I met my celebrity crush John Cusack. Wait, let me revise that: I MET my CELEBRITY CRUSH! JOHN CUSACK! Yeah, it was kind of a big deal – to me anyway. It was while I was a cub reporter working at a now-defunct community section of the Los Angeles Times and he was in a local neighborhood filming “Grosse Pointe Blank.” Somehow I sold my editor on a story idea so I could get on the set, and I imagined exactly how it would play out. I would be witty, John would be smitten, and we’d live happily ever after. But when the big moment came—and by that I mean I blocked him as he was trying desperately to get past me—I couldn’t think of a single witty word. I barely managed “Can I have your autograph, please?” as I offered up my skinny reporter’s notebook and pen. He was gracious, but quick, and in a flash he was gone. But it was worth it, because you know what? He’s even better looking in person. True story.
DeAnna has a question for you: Who is your celebrity crush, and how do you imagine that meeting playing out?
One commenter will receive a signed copy of THE BELLY DANCER reissue. And for those who don’t win today’s giveaway, don’t despair! DeAnna is giving away weekly prizes until April 30 and one lucky winner will receive an e-reader grand prize. Stop by www.DeAnnaCameron.com for details. You can also find her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/deanna.m.cameron) and Twitter at (http://www.twitter.com/DeAnnaMCameron)
***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.