Avril Tremayne, known for her ravishing contemporary romances, spoke to Renée about her latest release Now You’re Mine. When she’s not reading or writing, Avril loves to talk about travel, while indulging in good food and great wine. No wonder we got along so well!
Your new book, Now You’re Mine, is out now. What was the inspiration for the story?
I was living in the United Arab Emirates – an experience that took me way out of my Aussie comfort zone – when I got the idea for Now You’re Mine. It actually grew out of my love for the desert; I wanted to write a story where it was almost a character in itself – a symbol of romance, of adventure, of mystery. Strange but true fact – my initial impulse was to write the hero, Kalan, as a Bedouin vampire who would rise from the dunes at sunset. In the end, he turned into your common hot, gorgeous billionaire living in a desert palace.
The hero, Kalan, in this book is half-English, half-Emirati, and a Muslim. There has been plenty of debate around diversity in romance lately. What research did you do to avoid harmful representation?
My intention with Kalan was to honour the kind, generous, poetic Arab Muslims I’d met in the UAE. Now You’re Mine is not an issues-driven book – it’s a complex, passionate love story about two people seeking a place to belong – but when my heroine, Jenna, meets Kalan, she’s forced to confront a world very different from her own – a world where men can take four wives, where arranged marriages are not uncommon, where sex outside marriage is illegal, etc. I wanted the scenes where they discuss their differences to be handled truthfully and in character, but minus the ‘shock horror’ outrage that some people attach to such subjects. I’d asked a gazillion cultural and religious questions in my time in the UAE and I felt confident enough to write the first draft of Now You’re Mine but I didn’t fool myself that I had all the answers, so when it came time to refine the story, I enlisted one of my UAE friends, a poet, journalist and budding author, to guide me and provide a sensitivity check. Where he thought something was potentially insulting or dealt with too flippantly, I rewrote it – it was that simple. And as with all editing, the book was the better for rewrites! I also wanted to include some Arabic phrases in key romantic scenes, but Arabic is such a nuanced and poetic language, I ended up consulting three separate native speakers/translators to advise me. Interestingly, the title Now You’re Mine comes from the first Arabic phrase in the book – alan anti li wahdi – and boy did that start some heated debate, because as it turns out, it’s quite a confronting thing to say.
If you were not a writer, what would you be?
I’d be back in the corporate world – not necessarily by choice, but because I had a long and very successful career in corporate affairs and public relations, and it’s only because I took a chance between jobs to give my dream job a shot that I’m a romance author today.
Do you ever dream about the stories you’re writing?
In the early stages of a new story, no – as a pantser, not a plotter, my thoughts are too haphazard. But as the story starts to pull together and I get a glimpse of how it will end up, I dream all the time. On the one hand, it’s an exciting indicator that everything is working out; on the other, it’s exhausting, because I’m waking up all night and jotting down notes.
What is your favourite love story of all time, either book or movie?
Easy: Jane Eyre. I read it as a teenager and the power and passion of it changed my life, giving me that first glimmer that I would be an author one day. I’ve read the book about 50 times and seen every movie and TV version. (My favourite adaptation, if you’re interested, is the 2006 BBC mini-series starring Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson).
About Now You’re Mine
Journalist Jenna Martin has led a very unadventurous life – until now.
Sent to the Arabian desert to review an exclusive new holiday resort, she stumbles into the path of a beautiful, exotic stranger, Kalan Al Talyani.
Over one unforgettable night, the reclusive billionaire will tempt her, test her, seduce her, and offer her an electrifying taste of a life outside her comfort zone.
When Jenna returns to America she tells herself it was just a magical one-night stand, an experience that’s already starting to feel more dream than reality.
But then Kalan follows her home to Boston – and Jenna is forced to make a choice. Should she stay within the confines of her current life? Or take a risk on a life that’s different from anything she’s ever imagined . . .?
Now You’re Mine is out now. You can order it here:
Amazon USA: Now You’re Mine