I’ve been tagged by the very talented Gilli Allan to answer 10 questions about my next release, which will be published in November. You can read about Gilli’s ‘Next Big Thing’ on her blog, Writer Cramped.
So here we go:What is the working title of your book?
The working title was ‘A Nile Romance’ but I decided that was fairly boring. ‘Romance on the Nile’ was too reminiscent of Poirot and Agatha Christie, so I searched around for a different title. In the end, I decided on ‘Her Only Option’ as it represents the heartrending decision the heroine thinks she has to make to save the man she loves.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
From a Nile Cruise I took two years ago. As a historian by profession, I’d always been interested in Ancient Egypt. Twenty years ago, I visited Cairo, saw the Pyramids and went to the Egyptian Museum to see the treasures from Tutankhamen’s tomb. The one place I really wanted to visit was the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, so my visit to Egypt in October 2010 was the culmination of a long-held dream. The Valley exceeded all my expectations, especially the opportunity to go into Tutankhamen’s tomb, and some of the other Pharaohs’ tombs too.
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s primarily a romance, but has some suspenseful moments, and a mystery too.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?Hugh Jackman would be perfect for my hero, Ross McAllister. In fact the scene where Ross appears at a Luxor party was inspired by Hugh, as the Drover, arriving in white dinner jacket at a charity ball in the movie ‘Australia’ – a definite ‘quick intake of breath' moment for every fan of Hugh.
I’m less sure about an actress to play Neve, my heroine. Maybe Joanne Froggatt who plays Anna in Downton Abbey.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Can they discover whose enmity is driving them apart, before it’s too late?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’s being published by Whiskey Creek Press, a small independent publisher.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About six months. I started it while I was in Egypt and wrote two chapters while we were staying for a week at a Luxor hotel after the cruise. When I got home, I abandoned it temporarily to complete another novel and came back to it a few months later. I submitted it just less than a year after my Nile Cruise.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I have no idea! I tend not to compare books, but treat each on its own merits.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
But somewhere in my mind, a story was being conceived. Supposing the hero and heroine were on different cruise ships and the hero did that vaulting over the rails?
That evening, I put the question to one of the friends we had made on the cruise - “Ross, would it be possible to vault from one sundeck to another?” He walked across to the rail, studied the gap for a moment, then said, “Well, I wouldn’t try it now, but I could have done it easily when I was in my twenties or thirties.”
First piece of research completed - it was possible. And I could see my hero doing his death-defying leap (slight exaggeration!) to be with the heroine. In fact, this never actually happened in the finished book, but it was the moment when the story was first conceived.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The heroine is a cruise ship tour guide, and the hero is an archaeologist, and I hope readers will be interested in the Egyptian setting, especially the cruise up the Nile, the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and the Abu Simbel temples.
Oh, and there’s also a Nile boatman who sings Elvis songs! He ‘invented’ himself as a very minor character originally, and left me wondering ‘Where on earth did he come from?’ But I liked him so much, I decided to give him a bigger part to play in the story (or maybe he decided that?)