By Sharon Kendrick
Marry a sheikh in return for a hefty financial reward? Jane Smith, a shy researcher, normally would have laughed in Zayed Al Zawba’s handsome face. Except it’s only for six months and the money will rescue her sister, who’s caught up in debt.
Sheikh Zayed will do anything to inherit Kafalah’s neighboring oil-rich lands. Even if he has to wed plain Jane, though he’ll never long to consummate a marriage with her. But Zayed never imagined that Jane’s frumpy clothes were hiding such delicious curves, or that her quick mind and untouched beauty would tease and tempt him beyond his wildest imagination.
SHARON KENDRICK began telling stories at the age of 11 and never stopped. She enjoys writing fast-paced, feel-good romances, as well as music, books, cooking and eating. She lives in England with her two children.
THE SHEIKH’S BOUGHT WIFE by Sharon Kendrick
- What is your favorite part about writing The Sheikh’s Bought Wife?
I felt very fortunate with this particular story because it almost seemed to write itself. Both characters came to me fully formed and were eager to tell their story. I must add that this does not happen very often!
- What was challenging about writing this book?
The challenging part was in making an outrageous and misogynistic hero come good at the end. Also, it was crucial to the story that Jane really did fall in love with Zayed, because he is the kind of man she despises. But then she gets to know him…
- How would you describe the relationship between Zayed and Jane?
I would describe Zayed and Jane’s relationship as tempestuous. He is a playboy and she is a prude. He loves sex and she’s never had sex. They are both distrustful around each other but then the layers begin to get peeled away and what you are left with is a red-hot love-affair which was never intended to happen.
- How did you come up with their names? Do they mean anything specific?
Character names are very important to me and this book was no different in that respect. One of the meanings of Zayed is “in abundance” and I thought that was very appropriate because he certainly has lots of things in abundance….sex appeal, money & land, for starters. The one things he’s never had is love.
Jane was chosen specifically because the heroine is plain – but of course, by the end of the book we discover that she is the most beautiful woman in the world in the eyes of her Sheikh!
- How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I sometimes spend weeks mulling over an idea and once it has grown I try to add to it. I go and watch films and read books and magazines. Whichever country I use (or invent) for the story, I then try to immerse myself in it. Often, I use only a fraction of the things I’ve researched but the knowledge I’ve gained helps inform my writing.
- How long does it typically take for you to write a book?
I write four books for Harlequin every year, for the best-selling Presents imprint.
- If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I would be a potter! I absolutely love working with clay.
- When did you first realize that you wanted to be writer?
When I was about seven years old my teachers always used to read my stories out loud. I discovered that writing was the thing I was best at – and, even better – I loved it. I still do.
- What is your favorite thing about writing romance?
I love creating characters and conflict and inventing a different world every time I write a book. Bringing two warring lovers together for a dramatic and mutually satisfying ending to their story is a great feeling.
- What book are you currently reading right now?
I’m reading THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, by Maggie O’ Farrell – who is the most superb writer and comes from Ireland (where my mother was born). I am also reading ITALIAN IN 30 DAYS, because I’m supposed to be learning the language at evening class. I’m not very good but I try!
Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book.
- To accompany THE SHEIKH’S BOUGHT WIFE, I would sink my teeth into a Baklava – the sweet and decadent pastry made from filo pastry, which is sprinkled with nuts & drenched in honey. It’s possibly the most delicious desert I can imagine and it echoes the rich and exotic subject matter of my story. Because it’s notoriously tricky to make, I would buy it from the nearest delicatessen – and then make myself a pot of strong, dark coffee to drink with it!
Song Playlist: A prepared playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and their love story.
- To be honest, I rarely think in terms of music for my characters – because that kind of pins them down to someone else’s image, rather than my own. At a push, I would choose “Lara’s Theme” from the film Dr Zhivago (because it is one of the most stirring, sweeping and romantic pieces of all time). I’d also choose the band America’s “A Horse With No Name” because it always makes me dream of deserts! And lastly, I’d go for Robin Thicke’s provocative “Blurred Lines” – which is very saucy and erotic – just like my dashing Sheikh hero, Zayed.
How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers: Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
- Know what’s out there in the market-place, and before you start writing – read, read, read. If it’s your first book I’d advise doing a brief chapter breakdown – Chapter I is where your hero and heroine meet and Chapter XII is where they profess their love for one another and everything gets ironed out. All you have to do is work out what happens to get them to that place and if you have some structure to refer to, you’ll stand less chance of becoming a victim of the dreaded mid-book slump.
- Make sure you know your characters inside out. How many brothers and sisters does your heroine have? How did the hero used to spend Christmas when he was a little boy? If your characters feel real, then they will come over as real to your reader.
- Lastly, be able to describe your story in a single sentence – the “elevator pitch”. This will help to focus you on what you’re trying to say when you’re writing.
I write in a small room in my house right opposite my bedroom, so I don’t have very far to go to work! I have an orange velvet chaise-longue on which I lie when I’m desperately seeking inspiration and there are various framed pieces of embroidery on the walls (I love embroidery, though am much too ham-fisted to be any good at it myself!).
Lastly, there’s the view from my window – a patch of green in the distance and, in the foreground – a piece of stained glass hanging in the window. There is also a terracotta tub filled with strawberry plants, which the birds will probably get to before I do! But one thing I’ve learned during my writing career is that the view is incidental – and if my story is working, all I can “see” are the characters and the world they inhabit.
Love Lessons Learned: Real life romance lessons learned from the book.
- Never judge someone from how they appear on the outside.
- If you don’t have the courage to reach out for love when it presents itself, then you’re only living half a life.
Movie Star Cast: The author picks movie stars to play the characters in a movie
- I would pick the gorgeous Irish actor Aidan Turner as Sheikh Zayed – and to play Jane Smith, I would opt for Jennifer Lawrence (as long as she could do an English accent!).
Early Summer Rituals: The author talks about what they enjoy doing outside when the weather finally starts getting warmer.
- When the weather starts getting warmer, I get out and walk in the countryside. I love listening to the sounds of the birds and watching all the flowers coming into bloom. Whatever the weather, I get something out of it. Walking doesn’t cost anything and often you won’t see another person for hours and hours – it fills me with an incredible sense of freedom, as well as making me grateful to be alive. Oh, and it helps give me inspiration if my story has reached an infuriatingly stubborn point!