1) Sheniqua, please tell us about your historical romance novel, Slave Girl in the Harem.
Slave Girl in the Harem is the tantalizing story of Laila, a young Egyptian beauty who is kidnapped from the banks of the Nile River and sold into slavery. She is placed on an auction block in Constantinople and purchased by a wealthy man for his daughter. Unhappy as a maid and leery of the lustful advances of her owner, Laila dreams of returning to her home. The hero of the story, Kudar al Numan, is rich, powerful, masterful and used to getting what he wants. Kudar refuses be snared by love. But, when Kudar sees beautiful raven haired Laila decides he wants the slave girl for himself and devices an untenable scheme to thrust Laila into his harem.
2) Where did you get the idea for this tantalizing tale?
I enjoy reading historical romance novels and realized some of my favorites take place in a Turkish harem. I was able to spend a month back packing in Turkey and was able to visit Cairo, Egypt as well. Since I like to write, I decide to combine my love for romance novels and the intriguing time I spent in Turkey and Egypt, and create a captivating love story which readers will enjoy.
3) What do you like best about Laila and how do you identify with her?
I like Laila’s sense of virtue as well as the fact she sees value within herself despite those around her who see her as just a lowly slave.
4) What do you like best about Kudar al Numan?
I like Kudar because he’s confident, powerful and sure of himself. He is the kind of hero that lives in dreams.
5) What sort of research was required to bring this story to life?
Many hours of research went into the story. A lot of the research was done online. Even with that in mind, I do believe having had a chance to spend time in the cities mentioned in Slave Girl helped me to bring not only the characters to life but their surroundings as well.
6) This is your debut novel, Sheniqua. Where and when did you learn that you’d made this, your first sale? How did you celebrate?
I remember opening my e-mail one day and low-and-behold I had an e-mail saying my book had been accepted by a publishing company. I could not believe it. I took a moment to squeal then stare at my computer screen to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.
7) How have things changed for you since you published?
I have been floating on air ever since Slave Girl in the Harem was published. My family and friends have been very supportive as have comments from readers who have read the book. I feel very humbled and grateful.
8) What are you working on now?
I am working on a romance novel that takes place in the south during the Civil War time frame. It is called Something to Hide. Here is a teaser for Something to Hide: Lily’s trip out of town was supposed to be temporary. Instead, she is kidnapped and forced into slavery. She vows to escape and return to the loving arms of her husband. Years later, when Lily does return home, will she find that her marriage has survived the auction block and the arms of another woman? When Lily realizes that her husband’s life is in danger, she is desperate to save him. She is given an offer of help. Though the offer comes from is her husband’s foe, Lily is relieved…until she realizes the offer comes at a lusty price. With her husband’s life on the line, Lily finds herself in the arms of her husband’s enemy where she and must make a difficult choice between love and loyalty. Betrayal and fidelity. As the war between the North and South threatens to break out which will she choose? And, can she live with the unforeseen consequences of that choice without something to hide?
9) Where did you come up with the name for your website?
I came up with the name because it is the way I feel about my book.
10) What would you like to say to readers out there?
I would like to tell readers to keep reading – during good time and bad. Never apologize for escaping for a few hours or moments into an enchanting story. Reading will make you feel better and it encourages us writers when we hear from you.
Ask the author about the issues or questions that are on your mind.
When did you first start writing romance and how do you come up with ideas for a story? Shelly from Grapevine Texas
I began to think about writing a romance novel when I was a teenager. I started out reading inspirational romances and some mainstream romances. After reading book after book that left me with an unsatisfied feeling, I began to think I could write a love story where I could control the character’s actions and ensure the story had a happy ending. So, at the age of fourteen I sat down with a spiral notebook and began to write my first love story. Ideas for my stories come out of the blue. At anytime, something I see may trigger the creative side of me and make me want to write a scene around it. Visions of that scene can end up anywhere in the novel I am working on at the time. I think it helps keep my stories fresh and entertaining.
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Wanted: Something More
In recent weeks, my boyfriend began to suggest that we think about getting married. I always thought I wanted to marry my boyfriend. However, now I am not so sure. I love him but we seem to be complete opposites. We argue constantly and it leaves me constantly upset. I don’t think I can live the rest of my life this way. Sometimes I wonder if there is someone else out there who I may be more compatible with. Is it wrong for me to wonder about this? Confused in Carrollton, Texas
Dear Confused in Carrollton,
Relationships take work and are sometimes hard. But the hard part should mostly be from the unforeseen uncontrollable events that life throws your way. It should not be from the incompatibility between you and the person you are in a relationship with.
The fact that the two of you don’t have much in common is no one’s fault. The fact that ya’ll are constantly fighting about it is a red flag that needs to be heeded. It sounds like there is a part of you that knows you should not live in such a stressful environment day after day. I agree. As long as you still have questions and doubts, you should hold off getting married. There is a guy out there who you will be more compatible with. The question is, are you willing to leave your boyfriend to find him?