Thursday, May 01, 2008
Thursday Talk Time - The Allure of the Sheikh
Welcome back to Olivia Gates, with a fabulous post about the allure of the Sheikh in category romance!
Those mouthwateringly hunky, mesmerizing, uber-alpha lords-of-all-they-survey.
They have endured for decades as romantic heroes that readers evidently never get enough of. Besides the many reasons they are unique among all alpha male heroes, they are also unique in being the only kind of alpha male heroes who seem to be exclusive to category romance.
If that alone isn’t reason enough to have them featured on this blogazine celebrating all things category, I don’t know what is.
But in my case, I have another reason, since I’m writing this post on May 1st, the month when my first sheikh for Silhouette Desire is due on the shelves, (not to mention that in 2008 I’m having a total of six books on the shelves in two series, Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Medical Romance that all star sheikhs) So writing my post about sheikhs was a no-brainer.
What’s their secret?
From the readers’ perspective, I believe sheikhs offer the unbeatable and ultimate female fantasy. Sure, all alpha males are gorgeous, virile, sexy, worldly, wealthy and powerful, but only the sheikh takes all these qualities into a realm that knows no boundaries. Any other alpha hero, even a prince or a king anywhere in the world outside those desert kingdoms have limitations, bows to laws that compel even him. Not so the sheikh. He is the law in his kingdom, his power is absolute, and his entitlement is all-encompassing. Pride, chivalry, honor and majesty is stamped in his genes, handed down through generations from the days of the ruthless and overriding desert raiders. And though he has been tempered by the modernity of the twenty first century, the refinement of his extensive breeding, education and experience, he still retains that gleam of menace in his eyes, the lash of arrogance in his words and actions, and the consuming voracity in his passion, that of the predator that he truly is.
But like all majestic predators, he is also the most ferocious protector to all those in his dominion, the most single-minded pursuer to the one woman who rouses the hunter that has lain dormant inside him all his life and the most satisfying, cherishing and addicting lover when that unique woman who matches him, stands up to him, and gives him his life’s first and probably only struggle and challenge finally surrenders.
The sheikh offers a reader the fantasy of a man who is the embodiment of the best and most powerful of masculinity and manhood, a man who the most powerful men bow to, who can lay the very world at the feet of his beloved. What woman can resist the idea of finding such a man a supplicant before her, showing her his dependence on her love, his need for her good opinion and wellbeing, in effect making her the one who rules the ruler through a lifetime of wonders, wallowing in an unshakable love like no other?
I, as a reader and a woman, certainly can’t.
From the writers’ perspective (at least it has been from mine) the sheikh is an unrepeatable opportunity to go as far out as possible into the realm of fantasy while writing in a contemporary setting. My imagination is the limit. After all, I am writing about a man whose mildest murmur forges laws and merest glance performs impossibilities, who can literally do and have anything. Anything, but the one thing he needs, when need has been an inapplicable concept to him. The heroine.
And even in the situations when he does have her, it isn’t her body or submission that he craves, that he discovers he can’t live without. It’s her eagerness for the man inside the sheikh, untainted by any covetous motives for his position and power, it’s her heart’s welcome and her mind’s conviction.
It has been such a supercharged writing experience writing about such men and their tumultuous journeys of discovery, conflict, emotional pits and pinnacles and escalating sensual infernos as they surrender to the dominion of love. To add to my enjoyment is that all this happens amidst kingdoms I create with no limit to their grandeur and luxury, with so many scenes playing against the backdrop of opulence and the exotic and rich detail of costume and custom.
And now, here’s a teaser from my May release The Desert Lord’s Baby, a taste of my sheikh, Farooq Aal Masood:
“You are going exactly where I take you. To my kingdom.”
Carmen shook her head, groped for breath. “I-I can’t travel…my passport isn’t valid…”
“I don’t need one to take you out of the country and into mine. My word is enough. Anyway, I’ll arrange for one. It will be waiting for you when we arrive at my home.”
“I’m not leaving my home…”
“You are. In case you haven’t grasped it yet, I’m having Mennah. Since you are her mother, this means having you too.”
His declaration felt like a slap. A stab.
A hurricane of emotions started churning inside her.
Even had he wanted her for real, she would have been in turmoil. He wasn’t just the man she loved—had thought she loved—he was a prince from another culture. She had no idea what being his wife entailed. But to have him state his intentions this way, as if she could have been anyone he’d endure now he’d accidentally impregnated, knowing it was the truth, that she was just an unwanted accessory that came with the daughter he wanted so much…
Trying to hide her upheaval from his all-seeing eyes, she tried to scoff. “Phew, I hope this isn’t how you make your peace proposals. Your region would be up in flames within the hour.”
He gave her a serene look. “I save my cajoling powers to negotiations. This isn’t one, Carmen. It’s a decree. You had my child. You will be my wife.”
So…do you like sheikhs? Are you one who can’t get enough of them, or one who avoids them? And in either case, why?
Answer me this in your comments, and I will again pick winners of copies of Book One in my Throne of Judar miniseries, The Desert Lord’s Baby.
Olivia Gates is thrilled to be celebrating the release of her first Silhouette Desire, The Desert Lord’s Baby! It got a TOP PICK from Romantic Times, and is a #1 eHarlequin eBook Bestseller!
It’s out now on eHarlequin in both paperback and eBook formats, but will be on the shelves on May 13th.
On her website you can also ogle…uh, read about the hunky Sheikhs that populate the six sheikh books she has out in 2008! You can also join her mailing list, or enter a contest to win free books.