Sunday, January 23, 2011

Annie West Discusses Inspiration & Behind the Book Stories for her Sheikhs

Years ago Harlequin Presents author Kate Walker via a forum, let us know that Annie West was debuting her first Harlequin Presents romance. That’s when my friendship began with Annie as she allowed me the privilege of reading and reviewing it. The rest is history and I’m such a fan. As the years have gone by, Annie has written every sort of romance, including royal romances and sheikh romances giving her readers their happy endings.

Here ere are some of Annie’s sheikhs being featured and her “behind the book” stories.


He saw her.
He wanted her.
He had to have her.

Arik Ben Hassan is a modern prince, a progressive leader and head of a thriving commercial empire. Yet when he spies a gorgeous stranger trespassing on his territory, she evokes a primal response in him. His hunger for her awakens a primitive urge for possession. He will have her.

Yet when Arik devises his plan for seduction, he reckons without the consequences. Rosalie Winters is the woman who will change his life. Her past has made her strong, and secretive. Surely she’s the last woman who could be tempted into a sensuous liaison. Yet in Arik she finds a man who, against all expectation, she can trust. A man who might even have the power to heal her

August 2007 - UK paperback (Mills & Boon Modern Romance)
September 2007 - Australia/NZ (Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy)
August 2007 - North America (Harlequin Presents)
October 2010 - UK (Mills & Boon Captivated by the Sheikh anthology

Behind the Book:

For the Sheikh’s Pleasure was a story I couldn’t resist – it just begged to be written.

I’d finally convinced myself I might be able to write a story about a dashing sheikh. I was doubtful at first. Then I started writing The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride and found myself entering a wondrous world of fabulous riches, deeply held traditions, binding loyalties and, above all, passionate romance between a hero and heroine with different backgrounds, expectations and outlooks. And I loved it! I was hooked. Every time I sat at the computer to visit my Arabian islands in the fictitious Kingdom of Q’aroum I didn’t want to leave. For me it was fairy tale territory.

I completed the book and sat down to begin work on the next one I’d planned and found I couldn’t. While I’d written Rafiq and Belle’s story an idea for a linked book had come to me and now it was firmly lodged in my brain. I tried to resist it, not sure about writing it just yet. Surely I should concentrate on the other book I’d planned? But the idea was so strong, the urge to write it so great, it was a relief to put the planned book aside and dive instead into the tropical waters of Q’aroum once more. Looking at the pictures on this page, you'll understand how the location inspired me.

As I wrote I reveled in the chance to investigate what had happened to Belle and Rafiq since their story ended. But that was a secondary benefit.

The real thrill came from putting down Arik and Rosalie’s story. Two such different, yet strong characters. He’s a man with everything he could want. She’s a woman who’s learned to expect very little from life. Arik is brim-full of energy, a man who goes after what he wants. And when he sees Rosalie he decides she’s exactly what he wants...for now. Rosalie has a quiet strength and dignity that make her a perfect match for this powerful sheikh. She’s suffered trauma in her past and is too busy rebuilding her life to even consider romance...until she meets Arik.

This is a seduction story, and I have to say Arik’s technique is very good! However, things aren’t quite as he expects when he sets out to seduce the beautiful stranger who enters his domain. He soon learns that seduction can be a two edged sword and that the power he’s wielded half his life is no match for the woman he wants above all else.

I adored writing this book. So much so that I have a sneaking desire to go back to that wonderful world of strong, protective, handsome Arabian princes again. One day...

Trapped by desire.

Maggie is at her most defenseless when she meets Khalid, a mysterious yet sympathetic stranger. Their single night of passion has consequences neither expects. Khalid's solution to their situation is simple, a marriage of convenience. But can Maggie give up everything she knows to marry the enigmatic lord of a desert kingdom? Can she trust her life to the hands of the man who makes her vulnerable in ways she's never been before?

Khalid is determined to do the right thing by Maggie. She stirs his protective instincts even though she's one of the strongest and most resilient women he's ever met. More, she arouses desires and feelings he thought he'd buried long ago. He doesn't know where the passion between them will lead, but he refuses to back away, even if it means obliterating the walls they've each built around their emotions. He will have her as his bride and he won't settle for anything less than all of her: mind, body and heart.

August 2008 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance h/back)
October 2008 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance p/back)
November 2008 - Australia/NZ (Harlequin Mills and Boon Sexy)
April 2009 - North America (Harlequin Presents)
March 2011 - UK (in the Mills & Boon The Desert Sheikh's Defiant Queen anthology

Behind the Book:

Do you know the Hunter Valley of New South Wales? Some people know of its terrific wines but if you drive inland, to the end of the valley, you come to an area renowned for its horse studs. It’s picturesque country, with the hills narrowing around the valley and I always enjoy driving through there. Some of the horse studs are enormous and there is plenty of foreign investment in those estates, including from the Middle East.

Inspiration for THE DESERT KING’S PREGNANT BRIDE came from a trip past the neatly-fenced pastures and king-sized stables. I started playing that lovely writer’s game of ‘what if’.

What if a hard working local girl, who knew far more about horses than men, fell for the visiting owner of the estate? What if he was more than a wealthy horse breeder, but a man with much bigger things on his mind, like suddenly inheriting a kingdom that needs all his skills and energy to drag it into the 21st century? What if, despite the wariness they’ve learned over the years, they’re drawn together so powerfully that their meeting has irreversible consequences? What if he believes he can never again give his heart to any woman but feels duty bound to care for the woman whose life is now inextricably bound to his?

Maggie and Khalid are strong characters, so real to me as I began this story that I sometimes felt I was being carried along for the ride. I have a particular fondness for Cinderella stories and in many ways this is one, with Maggie transported to a far away, exotic kingdom unlike any she’s ever known. But her transformation isn’t just about a chance to wear lovely clothes (though I did enjoy those). This story is about two people finding joy and the promise of a wonderful future together, becoming the best they can be, because they’ve found the other.


He saved her life. Now it’s her turn - to help him save his country. By marrying him.

Rafiq paid a sheikh’s ransom to rescue Belle Winters. The ransom is a national treasure but also a traditional bridal gift to the sheikh’s betrothed. Now his people expect a royal wedding.

Belle owes Rafiq so much. How can she deny him this sham marriage that will keep the peace in his fledgling island democracy?

They’re from different worlds. She’s a dedicated archaeologist from an ordinary family. He’s descended from a line of autocratic adventurers and buccaneers. Is their marriage simply a political necessity or a passionate destiny?

February '07 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance h/back)
April '07 - UK (Mills & Boon Modern Romance p/back)
May '07 - Australia/NZ (Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy)
July '07 - North America (Harlequin Presents)
March '10 - UK in Mills & Boon's "The Sheikh's Cinderella" anthology

Behind the Book

"This book had such a long gestation period. It emerged from discussions with friend and fellow author, Anna Campbell, over months – no, years, about heroic archetypes and female fantasies of falling in love. Anna and I don’t see each other as often as we’d like so when we do get together it’s a talk fest. And one of the late night themes was why the sheikh? What is it about this sort of hero that appeals to so many women worldwide? Why do we look twice at books about Arabian princes emerging from a fantasy world to sweep some (lucky) woman off her feet?

I know sheikh heroes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and I admit that years ago I might have said the same. But their appeal has grown on me. Maybe it’s their larger than life aura. Maybe it’s the echo of some exotic Arabian Nights fantasy. Or perhaps the fact that they wield such power in their own domain but are conquered by love.

The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride explores what happens when duty and passion collide. When two people from completely different worlds find themselves flung together in a situation that tests them to the limit. Belle and Rafiq rise to the challenge, and in the process discover just how far they’ll go for the one they love.

The idea for this specific story came to me while I was at a Romance Writers’ of Australia conference in Coogee, Sydney. I’m sure the excitement of being with so many other wonderful writers inspired me. I was getting ready for the official dinner when inspiration struck and I had to jot down a couple of ideas.

It was quite a while before I got a chance to start the book as I was writing something else at the time. Maybe that was a good thing. By the time I sat down to write The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride so much of the story was vivid in my mind – particularly Rafiq, one of my favourite heroes. The setting too was marvelous – a place I looked forward to visiting each time I sat at the computer. In fact I became so fond of Q’aroum that it was hard to leave and I set my next book there too!
Article Source: Annie West Website and Romance Author Buzz

Check out an interview at Romance Author Buzz with Annie.

Here is a contest Annie is also offering on her website.  Check it out!

January 2011 - Royal Seduction Contest! – Ends Feb 9th

I'm starting this year with a royal-themed contest. Whether you're a fan of Cinderella stories or just a lover of romance, I think you'll find something in my ROYAL SEDUCTION CONTEST to tempt you.

The winner will receive: a signed copy of my new release PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE, plus 'Seduced by the Prince', an anthology of three royal stories:

ROYALLY PREGNANT by Barbara McCauley

It's easy to be in the draw. Simply send me an email with 'contest' in the header and tell me

How does Tamsin get down from the library ladder at the beginning of PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE? (The answer is in the excerpt on my book page); and the member of royalty you'd most like to meet and why (they could be a current royal, an historical figure or a fictitious one).

This contest runs till 9th February 2011 Australian Eastern Time. Only one entry per person please. If you're happy to include your postal address with your entry that will save time in sending out prizes, but it's not obligatory. The winner will be contacted via email and their first name and location posted on this site. Note that by entering you give Annie permission to send you occasional newsletters about new releases.  Annie West
Annie’s website
Annie on Facebook

INTERNATIONAL CONTEST - For a $10.00 Starbucks card, tell me which of these books you would purchase based on the Behing the Book Stores.  For more chances to win Follow this blog or friend Annie West on Facebook.  Come back here, comment and leave your email address.  Winner will be announced on Jan 24th.


Anna Campbell said...

Annie, how lovely to revisit your gorgeous sheikh books! You really do write my favorite books in that particular genre. Your heroes are always so realistic as men with power, men who rule, men who don't cope with the vulnerability that hits them when they fall in love, LOL! Gorgeous stuff. And you always come up with precisely the right heroine for each of these alphas - even if he doesn't think so at first. More please! Thank you so much for featuring Annie's books, Marilyn.

Oh, and watch out for her royal stories coming up soon. I adored Protected by the Prince which is out in February in the States. The hero is kinda like a sheikh in a gorgeous hussar's uniform! Yum!

Linda Henderson said...

I would be very interested in reading The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride. It sounds like a really good story.

Blog follower.

Sent friend request to Annie West on Facebook as Linda Henderson

seriousreader at live dot com

Dee said...

I think I would choose THE SHEIKH'S RANSOMED BRIDE. All of them intrigue me but this one sounds more alluring and intense! :)

deeg131 at gmail dot com

Dee said...

blog follower via gfc (Dee)

deeg131 at gmail dot com

Dee said...

sent a friend request to Annie West on facebook (Dee G.)

deeg131 at gmail dot com

Dee said...

oops I mean I'm following through google reader. Thanks! :)

deeg131 at gmail dot com

Annie West said...


Thanks so much for featuring my books here. What a blast! I also remember clearly my first contact with you. It was tremendous to connect to such an enthusiastic reader! Your mails after you've read my books always make me feel great.

Hi Dee, Linda and Anna. Wow, Anna, I love your take on my sheikh heroes! All I can say is that I've fallen for every one. They've got that strength in common but each is so different. Thanks for the wrap! I'm smiling here at you saying Alaric in 'Protected by the Prince' is like a sheikh but in cavalry uniform. I hadn't thought of that but, now I come to think of it, there are definitely some elements in common.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Dee you're the winner. Waving to Annie and Annie. Linda, as always thanks for your faithful posts!

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