Where did you gather inspiration for Zazinia?
I could just see it in my mind’s eye. I like desert settings and have written a few of them but each desert and palace appears differently to me. I wanted Zazinia to have an ancient and traditional feel, in contrast to the modern and glittering Dubai, where the book is also set.
How do you think the setting affects the story?
The setting is vital. The Sheikh’s Baby Scandal takes place in London, Dubai and Zazinia. The location changes reveal more facets of both characters personalities. Kedah is a very rich playboy but all that has to change when he returns to Zazinia and he reveals a more formal side. Felicia is a very independent heroine. Instead of being taken out of her comfort zone in Zazinia, she comes into her stride. I really liked that about her.
Is anything in your new release based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
My imagination is so vivid that I sometimes feel as if it’s real life but no, it’s all imagination. I am sadly lacking in royal sheikhs
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It is very variable. I tend to work on two stories at the same time. Both are usually at different stages and I dip in and out of each. Near the end of writing a story though, I can only focus on one and so it gets my full attention then, until it’s complete. Generally, at that point, I get a new idea for a story and start to write it, while going back to the other story I left sitting. On average I think I work on a story for 3-4 months.
What is the biggest misconception about your genre?
That they’re all the same. It would make my job a whole lot easier if they were The wonderful thing about the romance genre is that there is something for everyone to enjoy—from sweeter romances to very sexy. Mine are the latter.
Did you hide any secrets in your books?
No, I have heard some writers do but my muse is to disorganized for that.
Any tips to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Everyone handles it differently and what works through one rough patch might not work for the next. Going for a walk certainly helps me. I forget to, of course, or I tell myself I’m too busy and too behind to justify taking a couple of hours to walk. But I should remember, because it helps me a lot. I listen to a podcast or some music and then for the last half hour or so I take out my headphones and start to think about my plot.
How do you relax?
By walking (as above), reading or writing. Sometimes writing can be stressful, but when the writing is flowing and I’m lost in the story it’s a very relaxing space to be in. I also love talking on the phone. I spend hours on it.
What is your favorite book and why?
Bryce Courtenay’s, April Fool’s Day. It is a true story about the life of his deceased son. There are so many life-lessons within it and it is beautifully written. The book touches on many issues and Bryce did not paint himself with a perfect brush. It is honest and sad, wonderful and warm and it still makes me cry.
What is your current end-of-summer read?
I am extremely behind with my reading and am just about to dive into my TBR pile. At the top is Sarah Morgan’s Sunset in Central Park and I can’t wait to get started!