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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kristi Gold: Oh, That Sheikh Mystique…



Sheikh Romance… those stories featuring dashing Arabian monarchs with untold wealth and an abundance of sex appeal.   I've published seven to date, all falling under the Harlequin Desire line.  Now a confession—before I was invited to write my first sheikh book in the Texas Cattleman's Club: Lone Star Jewels series, I knew they were extremely popular, but I had no idea why.  I had never read one, much less even remotely considered writing one.  In fact, when I received the outline and learned that I'd been assigned an Arabian hero, I darn near hyperventilated.  After I recovered, I realized I had been given a golden opportunity to prove that I could meet the challenge head-on.   And frankly, it did prove to be quite a challenge in the beginning, especially when I discovered I'd be pitting a hero archetype I'd never written against a twenty-two-year-old virgin.  Talk about stretching the bounds of my reality.  But that's what fiction is all about, right? 

So I armed myself with a colloquial Arabic language book, and the novice attitude I would write the best sheikh ever, then went about designing a hero who was both alpha and honorable.  I suddenly began to realize those traits were actually common among all the heroes I had written to that point.  And I've always been partial to strong, sassy heroines, so what better kind of woman to take on that ultra-macho rich guy?   Then exactly what makes the sheikh romance different? 

After gaining some experience, I began to liken these Arabian love stories to contemporary historicals.  First of all, a sheikh's formal speech sets him apart from—let's say—a cowboy, and his mores definitely might seem antiquated to most women.  Enter that modern heroine who has no problem putting him in his place, even if she has trouble resisting his charisma.  Also, exotic (fictional) locales can come into play, though I've written several set in the U.S.  But even taken out of his element, the sheikh hero still remains an enigma—dark, maybe a little dangerous, and sexy as hell.  However, in my stories, super-alpha does not mean a license to be verbally or physically abusive.  I don't feature harems or kidnapping or captivity, but I have been known to use some tongue-in-cheek references to those very things.  I don't mention religion ever, or introduce politics beyond that which I have made up in regard to ruling their make-believe kingdoms.  I have included an imaginary phallic fertility mountain, which bodes well for unintended baby-making.  And above all, I always incorporate two people who find love with each other against insurmountable odds.


All that said, I honestly believe the sheikh mystique—and undeniable appeal—comes from introducing readers to a fantastical world of wealth, sensuality and of course, that greatly anticipated happily-ever-after.  But I certainly can't speak for all readers, so tell me why you personally love those sheikh romances?   I'm giving away three sets of the first two Arabian Heat releases - The Return of the Sheikh and One Night with the Sheikh.  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

***Janine. is the winner!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing address!***

14 comments:

Mary Preston said...

Sheikh romances tend to be OH SO ROMANTIC. The mystic and the aura of a sheikh is like no other. Even though the stories might be contemporary, and many are, there is all more than a hint of what came before.

Laurie G said...

Sheikh Romances

exotic locale, foreign traditions and beliefs, Bedouin traditions, survival in the desert, royalty, arrogant, handsome, powerful heroes, extreme wealth and privilege, romance, HEA...what's not to like?

CrystalGB said...

Strong, alpha heroes, set in exotic locales, get to learn about different cultures and the romance is intense.

Nancy Cochran said...

I love sheikh books, the strong alpha hero's and the spunky women who stand up to them. Not to mention learning about the cultures and traveling to exotic locations.

Laney4 said...

Sheikhs are my favourites. Powerful, often gentle only with the heroine (but usually later in the story), exotic locations, more than enough money, unfamiliar (to me) clothing and locations, heat outside AND pulsating within, and usually the feeling that the heroine is the only one the hero wants in his life (as who doesn't want to feel special?). The bottom line is that sheikh stories ooze with romance....

Kristi said...

Great comments, everyone! Authors always appreciate learning what appeals to readers. Thanks bunches!:)

erin said...

Now that you've listed it out, that's exactly why I like reading romance with sheikhs! Seems so exotic and completely different from real life :) Thanks for sharing!

Janine said...

I've only read a couple Sheikh stories and really liked them. I just didn't know which authors to read more from. These books look really good and can start my new reading addiction.

Aly said...

Good question. the answer: I have no idea! I think I like the settings and the overlay alpha males :D

Linda Henderson said...

Sheikh books are some of my favorites. Who can resist those powerful desert men sweeping their women off their feet and taking them to their desert strongholds. I also enjoy reading about the strong women who tame them.

Di said...

probably because they live in such an exotic environment with great wealth and absolute authority - until they meet their match in a woman!

sallans d at yahoo dot com

Pat Cochran said...

Sheikh stories were among my early romance reads and they
continue to be included . In fact, there are several on my keeper
shelves. What keeps me turning to them: the intensity of the
lives of the hero and heroine!

Pat C.

Cathy P said...

I love books about Sheikhs because they are so romantic. Of course, in essence, the Sheikh could be old with lots of wives in the real world, which wouldn't make for a good and happy read.

Lory Lee said...

What I like about Sheikh romance stories is the face that it's like reading a fairy tale book, falling for a prince (tall, dark and handsome) but instead of the glittering ballrooms and parties, you're transported to an exotic place where he plays the rule. And then it's happy ever afters in the end.