Romancing the Middle East with Avril Tremayne - Day 3

My last day of talking about my new book, Now You're Mine, and today I'm sharing Ten Fast Facts about it and giving you a little behind-the-scenes information. 

1. The book's original title was Kalan and the Kiss, because the first time the hero, Kalan, kisses the heroine, Jenna, is a landmark moment...

Kalan . . . and the kiss.
That was how I’d always think of that moment, when the world opened up for me and I was beautiful and desired, a woman who could be his, even if it was only for one night. 

2. The hero was originally intended to be a Bedouin vampire! In the end, he turned into just your regular run-of-the-mill reclusive billionaire - the kind any girl could stumble upon when she's lost in the Arabian desert.

3. There are various conversations in the book between the hero and heroine that were prompted by actual conversations I had with my Arab Muslim friends - including this discussion about four wives v. four husbands... 

Visions of sex slavery danced into my head. Me in a marble room full of luscious women, wearing something gauzy, floaty, diaphanous. Being singled out, cut from the harem herd. 'The master wants the blonde one prepared for his bed. Fetch the unguents and oils . . .' 

'And no,' he said, 'I'm not going to abduct you for my harem.'

I started. What the ‒ 'Did you just say harem?'

'Did you just think it?' A low chuckle – very sexy. 'Don't worry, we don't keep harems anymore. We can have four wives – that is quite enough.'

'You can ‒? Four?' I squeaked, my diaphanously-swathed doppelganger re-forming into the real Jenna Martin, journalist, in a jarring instant. 'Do you really have four wives?'

'No. I don't even have one.'

'But you can have four?'

He inclined his head. 'Theoretically. Does that shock you?'

'Well . . . yes, actually. But I'm kind of interested, too. About the . . . the practicalities, I guess. I mean, with four wives, what would you ‒? Or four husbands, if it came to that.' I laughed. 'Four husbands. Polyandry. Well, why the hell not, right? 

Clearly, I was experiencing jetlag – people said jetlag did strange things to you, and this conversation was way strange. Four husbands! I couldn't even keep Mick-Missionary-Position interested, and the five months I'd spent with him had been my longest relationship.

'Why would you need four?' he asked, seeming to find the concept just as interesting as I did.

'To cover all the bases. Like a division of duties. One, a provider – well, duh! Two, a friend – who doesn't need one of those? Three, bring on the handyman – because I'm so in need of some creative storage solutions for my tiny apartment. And four, of course, is ‒' I broke off as my brain engaged. One did not talk to strange men in foreign lands about sex, did one? Unless one wanted to end up axe-murdered and buried in a sand dune?

'Four is . . .?' he prompted.


'Not nothing, I think.'

I racked my brain for a safe answer but nothing came darting into that recalcitrant organ. I looked cautiously into his eyes, which were regarding me with a sort of rapt amusement, and intuitively knew he wasn't the kind of guy to wield an axe. Even minus my own intuition, I couldn't picture blood spatter being allowed to mess up his immaculate kandura. And really, he could have axed me already if he was so inclined. So I thought, Well, hell, why not go for broke? – that's jetlag for you!

'As a matter of fact, number four is the most important,' I said daringly. 'Number four would be my lover.'  

4. When I designed the hero Kalan Al Talyani's palatial desert home, I kept in mind a resort I was lucky enough to stay at out in the Empty Quarter (the Rub' al Khali in Arabic) which is the largest contiguous sand desert in the world...

5. When Jenna first sees Kalan, she describes his hair as having a 'mink-coat-must-touch' quality. Well, even though my hero is not based on any specific person, his hair is definitely based on that of  one of my friends. Emirati men generally wear national dress - the kandura (usually white) and headscarf (ghutra) but there was one time when my friend was bare-headed and his hair really did look amazingly thick like a pelt, so I asked hm if I could touch it (yes, I may have consumed a little wine) - and he said yes, even though (as a strict non-drinker) he must have thought I was completely insane!
6. The real me makes a cameo appearance in the book. (Hint: I am not the heroine.)  

7. Even though I didn't actually write Now You're Mine until 2016, I had the characters in my head and the first chapter jotted down before 50 Shades of Grey hit the shelves. My heroine's name was Anna - damn! - but even though my girl was a two-n Anna, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and deserted E L James's field. I had a list of names that I tried out by reading dialogue to myself over and over, and chose "Jenna" because it rolled of Kalan's tongue the best... 

8. After I finished the first draft of Now You're Mine there were various references to Kalan saying something in Arabic. I was incredibly dissatisfied at the vagueness, so I decided to include the actual Arabic (phonetically, not script, for obvious reasons). Now I'd had two years' private Arabic lessons while I was living in the UAE, but I'm sorry to say I was not an able student (ie, I sucked) so I had to call on one of my friends, a former colleague and highly qualified translator, to help me. Here are just a few phrases, if you're interested...

You are my paradise and bliss

 Anti janti wa na’emi

انتِ جنتي ونعيمي
You are my happiness and inspiration
Anti sa’adati wa elhami
أنت سعادتي وإلهامي
You are my sun and light
Anti shamsi wa diay’i
أنت شمسي وضيائي

9. I was in love with the cover from the moment I saw it...but it took my husband saying something about 'the girl' on it for me to realise the smoke was actually in the form of a naked woman!  

10. The book's title is based on a line Kalan says to Jenna: Alan anti li wahdi. It's the first time he indicates to Jenna that what they've shared in the desert is not a one-night stand, and she finds it too much to handle and basically flees. But Kalan isn't going to let her get away for long... 

Interested in reading more? Grab an e-copy at Amazon or a print copy (free shipping) at Book Depository.

Don't forget to leave a comment below about about a time you were scared about something new coming into your life, and enter the giveaway for chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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  1. I feel like with 3 kids, every day is something new and scary coming into my life!

    1. Ha, yes! I only have one and I feel like that!

  2. I loved #3, Avril. The four wives vs four husbands:) Makes me think of a line from Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts says "I'm not after him for his money, I'm just using him for sex!"

    1. Ha, yes! I love that line. The conversation that bit of the book came from was between me and some girls and one guy (from Lebanon and Syria) at a hotel function, and what made it hysterical for us was that the (male) British hotel manager standing with us was quite horrified.