The Challenge of Writing Destined for the Desert King
by Kate Walker, author of Destined for the Desert King
This book is all my editor’s fault. Or, rather, perhaps I should say it was her brilliant idea. It was that but it was also a challenge to me as a writer. Which is great because I love a challenge.
Destined for the Desert King is dedicated to my editor because she was the one who asked me to write it. When she had read, edited, and accepted A Question of Honor, she asked what I was writing next. I’d already started work on the book that became Olivero’s Outrageous Proposal. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘when you’ve done that I want to know Nabil’s story.’
That’s where I had a slight problem.If you’ve read A Question of Honor you’ll know that Nabil is not the hero. He’s the man – the youth really- that the heroine Clementina is supposed to marry in an arranged marriage but instead she marries her real hero Karim. That Nabil is not hero material. In fact he’s generally accepted as not being very likeable, never mind lovable. In order to become the hero of his own story he’d have to change–a lot! For a start he’s only 19 in that first book so to reach a real hero’s age he’d also have to be some years older- and wiser. Basically, he’d have to grow up.
So what had happened to him in the ten years since he’d last been seen in A Question of Honor? I had to put that to the back of my mind while I finished the book I was working on and then he was ready to tell me his story. And what a story !
He might have been an unlikable selfish character when he first appeared but life has changed him. It’s dealt him a few blows, taken the life he was expecting and turned it upside down so that he appears in Destined For The Desert King as a changed man, shaped by tragedy. He also needs a very different sort of heroine from the woman readers – and he – thought he was destined to end up with.
My worry was that readers who hadn’t liked Nabil in A Question of Honor would think he hadn’t changed enough. We know that the Presents hero often has a shadowed past. They’re often, as Nabil describes himself a ‘young blind heedless headstrong fool’ but the reader doesn’t usually see him behaving in that way. But everyone had seen how selfish and heedless Nabil could be. Turning him round and making a hero out of him was where the challenge of writing this book lay.
So it had to take place ten years later to make sure he’d done that growing up. And that was also where some of the fun in writing it lay. Because I got to revisit Clemmie and Karim and see if they really were living their ‘happy ever after.’ They were two of my favorite past characters so I was happy to do that.
At the moment I’m planning a new duet – a couple of books linked together like the Rhastaan Royals that Destined For The Desert King is the second part of. But I don’t think I’ll set them ten years apart this time. I’ll find a different challenge.
What do you ? Do you like to see the hero as a bad boy before he actually appears as a hero? And what about meeting up with ‘old friends’ – seeing past heroes and heroines some time later and finding out what has happened to them since their story ended?
About Destined for the Desert King:
There’s no doubt that their marriage is one of convenience and political maneuvering. But shy beauty Aziza El Afarim secretly hopes that her husband—the boy she once idolized—remembers something of the closeness they shared as children.
Except Sheikh Nabil Al Sharifa is far from the boy he used to be. The weight of loss and power has changed him beyond recognition. Where once there was warmth and generosity, now only a ruthless passion burns. He’ll give Aziza everything…except his love.
But as pressure to produce an heir mounts, could there be more than duty in the marriage bed?