I’ve known Annie West for some years now – and I actually ‘met’ her when I won one of her books at Kate Walker’s 50th celebrations. I was totally blown away by her Sheikh, and she’s been on my autobuy list ever since! I haven’t yet met her in person, but we share a love of castles and France and chocolate and… y’know, when I eventually do get to Aus and meet up with the authors there, the party is probably going to go on even longer than this blog party…
Anyway, over to Annie:
Kate, thank you so much for the invitation to join you in celebrating 50 books. 50 books! Just saying it takes my breath away. I’ve known of you through your wonderful, moving stories, and have been thrilled when our paths have crossed in the past, so being invited to share your month in the spotlight is such a treat. Even way over here in Australia I’m basking in your reflected glory.
Pondering how it is that a writer keeps producing fresh, engaging stories up to and beyond 50 books made me think about the importance of writing about a theme that resonates. For me it’s vital to write a book that makes me rub my hands with glee at the idea of tackling a particular theme with a new, individual twist. It’s like that moment as a reader when I pick up a book and read the back cover copy to discover it contains a major hook I love and want to revisit, especially as I know the author will give her own particular slant to even the most tried and tested romance theme.
For instance, I’m hooked on honourable heroes. Yes, I’ve written men behaving badly (very badly sometimes) but at their core there’s a gritty honesty even they can’t avoid, no matter how it makes them squirm. So you can imagine my joy when I found myself writing a book all about the push-pull of romance that was in direct conflict with duty. Not just the sort of duty you give might give lip service too, but duty based on bone-deep loyalty and love.
What could be harder for my loyal, honourable hero and heroine (yes, I like a heroine who has strong values too) than to find themselves dealing with forbidden love? Forbidden because it goes against what’s expected of them but especially because their consciences forbid them.
There’s something deliciously dangerous and appealing about the forbidden. That undercurrent gave an extra piquancy to the passion Soraya and Zahir share in ‘Defying Her Desert Duty’. Zahir is sent to bring her home to marry the man she’d promised to wed years before – the caring, decent man who’s been like a father to Zahir. Soraya, having promised to marry, is honour-bound to follow through. After all, her bridegroom is the man who saved her father’s life.
But travelling overland from Paris to Barakhar takes quite some time. Time enough to fall in love…
I wanted to write this story because I was hooked on the notion of forbidden passion and because I wanted to find out how my hero and heroine would handle it. Yes, I sometimes write to see what happens in the end!
As well as taking inspiration from the old Tristan and Iseult story, I had fun weaving the plot around places I’d visited and loved. Despite the book’s title much of the action takes place in France and I’ve included here a couple of location shots that inspired part of this story.
Have you ever had a forbidden passion, or even a passion that wasn’t forbidden but which you chose to keep secret? I have to say I had a few of those in my school years when I specialised in unrequited love. Do you have forbidden passions now or a secret indulgence? Personally I’m thinking about hand made truffles from a particular Belgian chocolatier…sigh.
Annie will give a copy of her current UK release ‘Defying Her Desert Duty’ to one person, chosen at random from those who leave a comment here.
Annie West is a USA Today Bestselling author of Mills and Boon Modern/Harlequin Presents stories and winner of a 2012 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for category romance. She lives in Australia and specialises in daydreaming about compelling heroes and their love lives. You can read more about her world and her books at www.annie-west.com