LL: Hello Nicola, it is nice to meet you. I have read the blurbs for The Sheik's Son and noticed that it was connected to The Sheik and the Slave so I read the blurb for that book as well, both sound very interesting and now I have an additional book to add to my wish list, thank you.
LL: When exploring your books I noticed they were all three published this year, how long did it take you to write them?
NI: Hello Laura. I’m pleased to meet you and discuss my work. “The Sheik and the Slave” actually started as chapters on a website dedicated to romance and erotic stories. So from start to finish “The Sheik” was almost 10 years in the making.
That’s not to say I was sitting at my computer typing non stop for ten years. J But I did start writing it in 2004 and published in February of 2014.
The Tea Plantation had been chapters on my blog but not complete. So finishing the entire book took about four months.
The Sheik’s Son was four months.
LL: Which one is your favorite?
NI: I would have to say “The Sheik and the Slave” for so many reasons. It really set me on the course of becoming a writer and having people say before it was published “you should publish” and “I would definitely buy this book” from fans which helped support me when I was doubting myself. Because of it, I quit my job to follow my dream of writing which is scary but also liberating and exciting.
LL: What was your Family's reaction to your quitting your job?
NI: My family and close friends wanted me to be happy. I’m a creative person and the job I had at the time was not stimulating and writing is all about creating characters and places so I receive a lot of joy from it.
LL: Have your family read your books? Do they have favorites?
NI: My mother has read both novels and I don’t think she has a favorite. I banned my 91 year old Grandmother from reading “The Sheik.” I told her it was too sexy. J
LL: LOL How did your Grandmother take being banned from your books?
NI: I am very close to my Grandmother and my Mother read it first and agreed with me and told her she couldn’t read it. I mean all joking aside, “The Sheik” is very sexy and has a lot going on sexually –so I think Grandi was fine with it.
LL: Grandmothers are truly special women :)
LL: Should we read The Sheik and the Slave first?
NI: “The Sheik” and “The Sheik’s Son” are stand alone books. I made them that way. I had several fans mention that they wanted the story to continue so that was why I wrote #3. But you are quite fine reading one or the other and not in any order. But “The Sheik” is very sexual so if readers want a tamer romance I would recommend my other two novels.
LL: Based on the blurbs I am guessing that Sebastian Fairfax is the son of the Sheik Mohammed Aksam Al Sabid and Katherine Fairfax, correct?
NI: Yes. He is their first and only son. He goes by his mother’s maiden name while living in France.
LL: How many children did the Sheik and Katherine have? And did he have other children with his harem?
NI: Mohammed and Kat have a total of four children, one boy and three girls. Mohammed had a first wife named Yasmeen who gave him two daughters. There are no other children.
LL: LOL poor Sebastian, all those sisters to keep him inline ;)
NI: Indeed. As my readers will see, Leila, the baby sister, joins him in France and she gets into some trouble.
LL: With Christmas coming I can't help it, I have to ask which one has you more excited, the book release or Christmas?
NI: I do enjoy Christmas and I think it’s a lovely time of year but this is so exciting for me to have #3 about to be released. A year ago I had no books published and now I have 3. I am so pleased about that.
LL: Will there be other books for this Saga? If so how soon before the next one is published?
NI: Yes. My fourth novel which I am writing now is about the middle daughter of Mohammed and Katharine named Isabelle. She is living in France right before the start of the French Revolution. I am looking at March for a release date.
LL: How much historical research did you need to do for your books?
NI: I take my research extremely serious. In fact, I enjoy the research because I always learn something new with each book. I look up and research everything to make sure I get things correct for example when was coffee invented, what did they smoke back then i.e. tobacco, what sort of lanterns were used for light, type of quill pens etc. I take great care in clothing descriptions to make certain I have the correct dress, undergarments, shoes and hats.
Pinterest is helpful so I can see how the clothes drape the body and what they look like.
LL: I am a bit of a history buff so I understand enjoying the research; my current obsession is the Sugar House Prison during the Revolutionary War. One of my ancestors was captured during the Battle of Fort Washington and place in that prison. What was your most memorable or favorite find? And did you share that in any of your books?
NI: That is fascinating that you have traced your ancestor back to the Revolutionary War!
I learned a lot about the Arab culture with “The Sheik” but I think the research for “The Tea Plantation” was very interesting. I learned about the people that inhabit the island which are the Tamils and the Sinhalese.
Writing about Sri Lanka (then 1880s Ceylon) I tried to place as much color as I could so I read a lot and watched videos and all of that went into my book to create a rich sense of Ceylon/Sri Lanka.
LL: That was just one of many lines I have tracked but at the moment it is my favorite. 20 years ago my husband's Grandmother felt I needed a hobby so she tricked me into do genealogy and I have been meddling in it ever since, which is fine since I love history.
I really like historical fiction where the author is willing to take the time to do the research to fill out the characters and the places that they write about.
NI: I think genealogy would take a lot of time and patience but extremely rewarding.
As an author of historical romance, I owe it to my readers who pay for my books to give them the best product possible. Therefore everything that goes into my novels – research, editing, cover artwork – is done with care and precision.
LL: Is there anything else about yourself or your books that you would like to share with your fans?
NI: I love to hear from my fans and readers and they can follow me on Twitter and Facebook. It is a pleasure to create these worlds and characters and I hope that readers enjoy them.
Nicola Italia (@nicola_italia) | Twitter
LL: Thank you for coming to visit and for sharing this awesome excerpt (below), and I am looking forward to reading your books.
NI: Thank you Laura.
Excerpt from The Sheik’s Son
The concert was lovely and her father’s private box made it more enjoyable and intimate than sitting below with everyone jostling and moving about. She had begrudgingly introduced Sebastian to her father and grandmother as they seemed to travel in the same circles and he had a private box next to their own.
Sebastian had bowed slightly at the introduction and her father had smiled at the young man. He knew he was the secretary to the duke, who was also the British ambassador to France, and both were useful men to know.
Midway through the concert Sophie felt her corset biting into her. She was uncomfortable and needed to walk a bit to release the tension. She whispered to Lizette that she would get some air and quietly left the box to walk along the corridor.
The building itself was large and as she moved about she saw no one else. She could hear the music
Sophie found herself outside in the brisk air walking along the pillars and saw the carriage drivers outside, with their horses congregating with each other and smoking. She had left her hooded cloak inside, and shivered as the air had turned cold. She turned back inside and walked accidentally into the small cloakroom. It was not attended and not well lit, except for one small candle on a wooden table.
“Are you lost?” Sebastian asked, coming in behind her.
Sophie sighed. Turning to him she asked, “Are you following me?”
“I was outside smoking and have now come back inside to rejoin my party,” Sebastian shrugged and explained. “Nothing more.”
He looked impeccably dressed in a deep blue coat with silver embroidery along the cuffs, pockets and along the collar. His breeches were also blue but with no adornment and his white hose and black shoes were simple, while his hair was clubbed back. Sophie thought he looked more handsome than those men who dandied themselves up in silk and satins but would never had told him so.
“No, I’m not lost. I was taking some air.” She tried to be polite.
“I’ll return you to your party, then,” he said graciously.
“No thank you.” She went to move past him in the small cloakroom.
“It’s my duty,” he said simply.
Sophie stopped. “I see. You kiss an unwilling woman and flirt when it isn’t wanted. Now you are the perfect gentleman escorting me back to my family because it’s your duty?”
“You were unwilling, mademoiselle?” He smiled.
“Of course,” Sophie assured him.
“So if you suspected I was going to kiss you now, what then?” He advanced upon her, backing her up against the cloakroom wall.
“I would say, ‘No thank you, you don’t interest me.’” Sophie’s heart was pounding.
“I don’t interest you?” Sebastian asked, his brown eyes so dark in the low light.
“Not in the least.” Sophie’s hazel eyes seemed almost green.
“I know this may shock you, Monsieur Fairfax, but I have no interest in being one of your Devil’s notches,” she returned. He knew she spoke of the nickname, Dorset’s Devils, which the scandal sheets had given to him and his friends after the duke’s notorious and flagrant associations had became known.
“Notches, mademoiselle?” Sebastian asked innocently.
“Yes, notches, monsieur.” Sophie swallowed lightly as she felt the wall behind her.
“What is a notch?” he asked again.
“You know very well.”
He had her pinned against the wall. “Notches…” he asked her, his head dipping to touch her ear and his hands framed either side of her head, “…as in a sexual conquest?”
Sophie felt her heart pounding as she pressed her hands against his chest to separate them. “I know about you. I know about your friends and your liaisons. If you think to add me to them, you’re sadly mistaken.”
“You think I want to add you to my…?” he asked, letting the question hang there.
“Liaisons,” she finished for him.
There was a beat of silence and then he said, “I do.”
With that his mouth dipped to find hers and found the taste of champagne and innocence on her lush lips. He almost groaned. She was sweet and lovely and he wanted to kiss her breasts and pull her into him.
Sophie had known this was going to happen. The minute she had come upon him she should have turned the other way. She would never be alone with him again. But as his mouth touched hers and his dangerous tongue met hers, it was too much. She wanted to pull her arms around his neck and at the same time, she wanted to scratch his eyes out.
She felt herself warm and wet between her legs and wanted him to pull her to him and do everything that wasn’t allowed. It was maddening. She knew this wasn’t right. She knew she should stop him. She wanted to stop him but didn’t.
Sebastian could feel himself harden with desire. It was as if she had lit a flame inside him and only she would do. He didn’t want any other woman. Only this auburn haired beauty—this little witch—would do.
She pushed away from him but he lightly pulled her arm back to him. “Sophie.”
“I don’t want you. I don’t like you,” she told him as she brushed her fingers across her lips to remove any trace of him. Her face was flushed and her lips were bruised.
“Don’t pretend there’s nothing between us.”
“I’m a respectable woman. When the time comes I will marry. I’m not a dalliance for you to spend several hours a week with and then go on with your life.” He thought several hours a day would be more like it, but instead said, “You’re speaking of a mistress.”
“Yes. That’s not me,” Sophie said. “Paris is many things, but it seems constancy isn’t one of them.”
“If that wasn’t enough, I don’t like the way you think about women. That we are only chattel and nothing more.”
“I never said—”
“You did last time we met. I understand men like the chase. I’m not to be chased. I will make certain that we are never alone again. I’m telling you. Find someone else. You’re wasting your time with me.”
Sebastian watched her leave and realized something inside him was changing. He knew she felt something in his arms and he would have her. He wanted nothing more than to press her against the cloaks inside the room and feel her legs wrap around him.
He could already hear her moan and sigh in his ear as he pressed himself inside her. He grabbed his great overcoat and pulled it on as he made his way outside. He had a visit to make.
The Sheik's Son blurb:
Mysterious Sebastian Fairfax lives a life of ease as secretary to the British Ambassador in France. Living in Paris before the revolution, the handsome foreigner cuts a dashing figure and is respected by men, admired by women.
One evening, he becomes intrigued with an intelligent young woman named Sophie Gauvreau, whom he meets at a celebrated salonist’s home. Though the auburn-haired beauty attracts his attention, she is not what she seems. Educated and privileged Sophie has secretly started writing revolutionary pamphlets under a seudonym as France teeters on the brink of disaster.
When Sebastian discovers her true identity, he tries to warn Sophie of the danger she has embarked on, as an Inspector has been dispatched to discover the writer’s true identity. Sebastian agrees to marry the reckless beauty to keep her safe from harm.
Though Sebastian desires the redhead in his bed, the saucy Sophie accepts his help but places one condition on their marriage…it will be one of convenience.
As the two intelligent and strong willed people come to terms with their feelings for each other, France slides into a revolution. As the firstborn son of a great Arabian Sheik, Sebastian will do what he must to keep his wife safe and in his arms.
The Sheik and the Slave blurb:
Katharine Fairfax is a high bred lady who enjoys a privileged life as the youngest daughter of Lord Fairfax. But when she rebuffs an older man’s insulting proposition of becoming his mistress the man decides to exact a most frightening revenge.
Katharine is kidnapped from her comfortable home and family in England and taken to Arabia where she is sold to a powerful sheik.
Sheik Mohammed Aksam Al Sabid is captivated by Katharine from the first moment she is brought into his audience chambers by two Arab pirates. He pays an outrageous sum for her and intends the white woman to join his harem.
But Katharine demands to return home. When the sheik denies this request - a clash of wills begins.
While each struggle with their emotions, Katharine falls under the Arab's spell in a world of sand and heat. Mohammed is equally bewitched and decides that he will have no other woman but Katharine and ultimately disbands his harem to start a new life with her.
But there is someone within the sheik’s palace who does not want Katharine as Mohammed’s wife and will stop at nothing to tear the two apart.
Links to Nicola's books on Amazon