Behind the scenes: Veiled Fantasies
I had a lot of fun turning my own real-life stranding in Dubai into a spicy travel romance. Yes, Veiled Fantasies is based on my own true story, right down to the “Quick Transfer” tags on my luggage!
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE STORY
Once upon a time, I was on my way home from a dream vacation in Australia and New Zealand when I was stranded in Dubai for a week – just like Jill, the heroine of Veiled Fantasies. A volcanic eruption may have clogged the skies over Europe and grounded all flights, but my imagination was soaring. What if I wasn’t a school teacher heading to Europe with hubby and children in tow, but a twenty-something single about to live the adventure of her life? What if the man in the neighboring hotel room was a smokin’ hot Swede with a tragic past? What if circumstances threw the two of them together – closer than close?
That’s how Veiled Fantasies was born, and many of the details you find in the book come from my personal experiences. The crowd at the airport (including the blustery German demanding his luggage), the chaos at the hotel (where some lucky travelers received vouchers while others were left to their own devices), and the locations throughout the fascinating city in the desert are all real. I really did take a sunset cruise on the Creek, I loved the museum, and I was fascinated by the contrast of ancient and modern. The spice souk wasn’t quite as sinister as I painted it in my book, but there really was an unfortunate mother stranded for days in the airport with her young children – a person I met on the day we finally flew out.
The chance encounter Jill has with the prisoner in the plane is also based on reality: my mother was once flying trans-Atlantic when she offered to translate for three men who seemed to have trouble communicating. It wasn’t until a moment later that she spotted the handcuffs on the middle man and wished she’d never opened her mouth! It’s just proof that truth can be stranger than fiction, isn’t it? Ultimately, all I had to do was find the right characters to populate a story just begging to be told.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE CHARACTERS
Although the places I describe are all real, the characters stem entirely from my imagination. I’ll admit that there’s a lot of me in Jill: we’re both multilingual runners and dreamers, and we’ve both experienced lonely travel days. The books and diary Jill unpacks to keep herself occupied on the long flight from Sydney to Dubai are pretty much what I would carry – except for the fact that these days, I also carry crayons for my kids!
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Erik-type: big, athletic, successful, yet hurting inside. Add a cute Scandinavian accent and I’m a goner! It didn’t take long to come up with Erik’s painful back story, either. Sad as it is, it’s exactly why he needs Jill – to allow him to embrace life, love, and joy once again. Yes, I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and I hope you agree that Veiled Fantasies delivers that, too!
MY FAVORITE SCENE
Two of my favorite scenes are the romantic river cruise and candlelight dinner in which Jill and Erik grow closer and closer. I love the shy, hopeful attraction and the bantering dialogue when Jill doesn’t want to admit she’s had her eye on dessert. (Well, she had her eye on Erik, too, but she’s definitely not admitting that!)
THE BIGGEST CHANGE FROM FIRST DRAFT TO LAST
Ironically, that candlelight dinner scene that’s become one of my favorites was one of the last things I added! It also took me a while to nail down the villain of the story: at first, I was considering making him a terrorist, and played with his nationality until I settled on the final character. On the whole, however, the story didn’t change much from original conception to finished work, probably because real life had already scripted the overarching situation.
I hope you enjoyed Veiled Fantasies and will check out my other travel, adventure, and paranormal romance titles, including Island Fantasies, coming in early 2016, and Uncharted, Book 1 in the exciting Serendipity Adventure Romance series!