Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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.

'Nothing.'

'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.

And meanwhile. please connect with me via my website, where you can sign up for my newsletter to get all my news first, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Romancing the Middle East with Avril Tremayne - Day 2


Talking about...talking

One of the things I enjoy most about writing is dialogue. I speak it aloud as I write it, and add in the anger/breathlessness/laughter/awkwardness/whatever as I go. Needless to say, I prefer to write dialogue when I'm alone in the house!

I classify dialogue in various ways. There are the scenes where dialogue establishes what's going on - who is who, where are they and what are they doing? There are the scenes that show how the characters relate to each other - strangers, colleagues, friends, family, enemies. The scenes that set up what the characters are like - whether they're happy, uptight, quirky, calm, icy, erratic, proud, whatever. And then there are the scenes where the plot is dialed up a notch and everything changes, for better or worse.

And because these last kind of scenes are my favourites, I'm going to share one from Now You're Mine.

Jenna has gotten lost in the desert and found herself at the palatial home of an enigmatic billionaire. When she's called back to see him the next day, she has a strange feeling that he's sexually interested in her, but it's incredibly hard for her to believe this could be so. She describes it as the difference between Turkish delight and apple pie and she is the pie - not appealing to the exotic palate of such a man. In this scene, Jenna finally is made to accept that her imagination is not playing tricks on her: the beautiful, fascinating, poetic Kalan Al Talyani really does want her...

‘You know that I want you.’

‘Yes, but it’s hard to understand, when you didn’t want me last night.’

‘Didn’t I?’

‘Well . . . what? Are you saying you did?’

‘I did.’

‘Okay, now I really don’t understand.’

‘Last night you knew nothing about me. And now you do.’

‘The . . . the interview? Is that what you mean? I know you because of that?’

Kalan smiled. ‘I think you knew me without it, but I also think you needed something more orthodox as a backup.’

‘You’re not insane, are you, by any chance?’

The smile became a grin. ‘No. Just a little bit crazy, since last night.’

‘Because of . . . of me? No! No, no, no.’
‘Why not because of you?’

‘Because I’m just me. I don’t even believe . . . I mean, why do you even want me?’

‘Because you make me smile. Because I like the stars in your eyes. I like the way you look. The way you smell, beneath the rose and oud. I like the way you speak to me – not only with your voice and your seeking words, but with the soul I feel reaching for mine. I want to touch you with my hands and my mouth. I want to show you that you are more than you think. That you can be as curious and as confident and as adventurous as you want, with no limits – not even yourself. That you can have control, and cede it, without losing anything, but gaining much.’ He took my other hand, kissed the knuckles, keeping his eyes on mine. ‘So, Jenna, the risk ‒ will you take it?’
 
‘I think . . . Oh God, I need a glass of wine. I mean if I’m going to break one law, why not break two, right?’ 

He laughed softly. ‘Another time, Jenna, but not for this. Tonight, you take me with your eyes open and your mind clear. All right?’

‘All right,’ I said, and could hardly believe I’d agreed. But the way he put it was so tempting, so . . . everything.

He released both my hands and yet I was held there, as though chained to him. ‘Your mission, Jenna, should you choose to accept it, is to cede control to me. Will you do that?’

My breathing was going haywire, and the fact that his wasn’t all that controlled either was making me impossibly, achingly aroused.

He leaned down and kissed my right cheek. A fraction of a second, no more. ‘Will you, Jenna? Your choice.’

‘Yes, I will.’ My eyes closed. I could smell him. An exquisitely complicated fragrance that was hauntingly Arabian.

‘Ahh,’ I breathed out – just because I couldn’t hold it in.

He said nothing. Simply kissed my other cheek.

‘Ohhhh.’ It whispered out of me.

I opened my eyes to find him watching me. His eyes had darkened, the pupils dilated.

‘And now, Jenna, we begin. Remember, you have ceded control to me. So you do only as I say.’

*** 




Get an e-copy at Amazon or a print copy (free shipping) at Book Depository.

I'll be back tomorrow to share a few behind-the-scenes moments about Now You're Mine. But meanwhile. please connect with me via my website, where you can sign up for my newsletter to get all my news first, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don't forget to enter the giveaway and leave a comment about a time that you were scared about something new coming into your life.

 
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