Throughout the pandemic, I have had love on my mind. Love for my family, of course, but also romantic love, about which I write in my novels. Time and again I’ve questioned: how is this difficult time affecting romance?
The Arabian horse breed can be traced back thousands of years. ‘Thou shalt fly without wings and conquer without swords’ is how the Quran refers to this horse.
The largest temple complex ever built with a construction history spanning 2,000 years, Karnak is one of the most important ancient sites in Egypt.
I love to cook, and I explore cuisines from all over the world in my kitchen. Writing a new novel is the perfect reason to try out recipes from a new country! For Song of the Nile, I returned to dishes from my childhood, growing up in Egypt – in particular, my favourite sweet treat, basbousa.
How is it we can understand the hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians today? Two amazing breakthroughs made this possible: the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and the work of French scholar Jean-François Champollion.
‘Englishwomen in morning cottons, French and Italian girls in summer dresses, young Egyptian women with black abbas wrapped around their heads, men in tweeds or long white kaftans, a majestic sheikh in richly embroidered silks’ – welcome to the melting pot of 1940s Cairo.
In our modern world it seems to me that there is a great and powerful need to hurry. If you have a dream, there is no time to waste, we are told: go out there right now and seize hold of your dream! But this is not the only path to a dream; and neither, perhaps, is it the best one.
‘The first meeting of a hero and heroine in a novel: will it be dramatic, or tender, or dreamy, or antagonistic? Whatever the scenario, one ingredient will be key: chemistry…’
‘For as long as I can remember, art has fired up my imagination. I remember gazing at paintings on the wall in my childhood home for ages, dreaming up stories that would play out in the worlds inside the picture frames. When I wrote my first book, it was natural for me to turn to art for inspiration…’