when my first book, AN IMAGE OF YOU, was published in December 1992, it seemed hardly credible that fifteen years later, I'd be holding my 50th book. Where did all those words come from? The stories? It's the one thing writers are always asked -- where do you get your ideas from? Truthfully, really, I don't know. Except that today, standing on a ladder, trying to fit a fiddly piece of wallpaper into an awkward corner, I had a glimpse of an idea. And that's how it happens. A little spark of something.
There was a house glimpsed in woods in Gloucestershire. A busker in a shoe shop. A television documentary about a calendar shoot. Or a title that leaps out of nowhere -- The Sheikh & the Shopgirl.
Nothing at all. Just a glimmer in the corner of the mind that gradually grows until it is an idea, then a character emerges, then an incident and suddenly you have the beginning of a story.
Not sitting in a brown study waiting for the muse to strike, then, but decorating the hall...
My Sheikh & the Shopgirl, became The Sheikh & the Chauffeur (because you need to keep your characters together and it seemed to work better) and finally -- because "chauffeur" still apparently suggests "male", THE SHEIKH'S UNSUITABLE BRIDE. Book # 50.
This is Sheikh Zahir al Khatib. Tycoon and sometime playboy, he's coming to London to tie-up the biggest deal in his life, having finally given his mother the go-ahead to line up a suitable bride -- his father is desperate for a grandson.
This is Diana Metcalfe. She's a single mother, working hard to provide for her little boy.
She drives a minibus for a car hire company. Gets the less thrilling jobs. Driving groups to the airport, the school run, hen parties. The kind of job where a bit of "lip" is useful.
Her ambition is have her own London taxi. A pink one. Meanwhile, a chance to show what she can do behind the wheel of the company's most luxurious car will do very nicely. Just as long as she keeps the "lip" buttoned and remembers that chauffeurs are meant to be unnoticeable.
Romantic Times gave the book 4 1/2 stars and say it has "...oodles of sizzle...Pure magic from beginning to end."
The "desert prince" is as an enduringly popular theme as Cinderella, or Beauty and the Beast. So, tell me, are you shaken? Stirred? Or just bewildered by the appeal?