View Full Version : Arabic Characters in My Romance Book

October 21st, 2007, 12:47 AM
Hi everybody. My name's Linda Ambrosia. I'm a newly published author with just one e-book to my name. Being a "baby writer" here, I'm a little concerned that what I'm posting might come across as boastful, though I certainly don't want to sound that way. I just want to share my experiences and what I was trying to do with my novel "Liberation." Just last week (last Sunday, rather) it received a wonderful review from Coffeetime's Regina:


What I really got emotional over in that review was this single sentence:

It was so refreshing to see an author write about people of Arabic heritage with respect, truthfulness, and understanding.

I was so excited when I read that I nearly cried for joy. It showed me that what I was trying to do with the book was getting across to other people. Why, I haven't stop talking about it since!

When I wrote the book for my Husband's old fan fiction magazine years ago I was a romance "rookie." To confess, I'm not really a big reader of anything, even today. Everything I know, I've learned from my Husband, who's the big romance fan in this family. Whenever I need something for research, I just go to him and he pulls out a paperback from his collection, which (literally) fills a closet.

Husband wanted me to do a book like "The Shiek," but what really tipped the scales in the direction my book would go was a shopping trip. A department store was closing down in my neighborhood and I went out to snatch up whatever bargains they were selling at reduced prices. (In some cases for pennies!) I found myself surrounded by people in traditional Arabic or Eastern dress; Arab women in body covering burquas (a few vieled) or head covering hajabs. Hindu women in colorful saris. Bearded Sikh men wearing turbans. Children in traditional Arabic clothing. I almost felt out of place in my tennis shoes, jeans and shirt!

It was then that it dawned on me how Michigan has the largest population of Arabic and Eastern peoples in the USA. Had an Arabic-hero romance ever been set in my state? From the romance books Husband had lent me, I didn't think so. The wheels started to turn and the idea of a romance set in Michigan with an Arab immigrant hero danced around in my head. Once I returned home, I started writing it down almost immediately. (But after lunch, as I recall!)

To do the story right, I needed to do a delicate balancing act. I had to keep the characters realistic enough so that they would be close to the Arab peoples I'm familiar with. But the book being a romance, I also had to allow for some exaggeration. Obviously, a real Arab immigrant would not toss a girl over his shoulder and carry her off, even to save her from her abusive family as my hero does in "Liberation." I tried to balance this "fantasy" element with the reality of how such an action would create conflict with his own family, as shown in the excerpts you can read from this link: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewwork.asp?AuthorID=64871

Likewise, I put in realistic touches here and there, softened with humor, to better conform with the Arabs I know. Around Detroit, many Arabs are mechanics or gas station owners. Thus my hero, Rama, is shown working in overalls over a dilapadated car, and he drives an old pickup truck that backfires constantly. (I doubt there's any romances out there where the Arabic hero drives a truck that's keeps going ka-bloom!)

All in all, I must admit I was worried that such an unorthodox approach
would keep it from being picked up by a professional publisher. (One reason I kept from submitting it for so long.) But Hubby finally convinced me to submit, and lo and behold it was accepted by the good folks at Lavender Isis Press, for which I'm eternally grateful. If any of you writers out there would like to share stories about your own Arabic heroes or characters, please feel free to post them here. I'm out to hear from other writers as I'm still a rookie.
http://hometown.aol.com/romanceadventure/images/liberation_banner.jpg (http://www.lavenderisis.com/liberationbuy.html)


[URL="http://www.lavenderisis.com/liberationbuy.html"] (http://www.lavenderisis.com/liberationbuy.html)

October 21st, 2007, 07:42 PM
That is so cool!

Well done and congratulations.

October 21st, 2007, 10:52 PM
That's excellent Linda! Congratulations! :biggrin:

October 21st, 2007, 10:54 PM
Well done and congratulations Linda.

You must be very excited about the review.

November 1st, 2007, 10:34 PM
Oh I am very excited not only about the first review but I have a new one now, from Night Owl Romances:


November 1st, 2007, 10:42 PM
Congratulations on another great review Linda. Cheerleader