I’ve had a few questions and comments about my latest novel Love vs Honour that I thought it would be good to address on the blog.
When and where did you get the idea for the novel?
Sometime in 2005, on a bus in a traffic jam. The start and end downloaded into my consciousness from the inexplicable ethereal void known as “sudden inspiration”. The mid-section, whereby Johnny and Sabina pretend to convert to different religions as an elaborate parental appeasing ruse, occurred to me a little later. It wasn’t until mid-2006, after I moved to Devon, that I decided to write it and set it amid my new surroundings.
Why write something so clearly outside your usual genres?
I can only plead the afore-mentioned “sudden inspiration”. Teen romantic drama is a long way outside my so-called “comfort zone”. Yet the novel deals with themes similar to those found in my other works – rebellion, religious oppression, abuse of power, and so on.
What is the target readership?
Teenagers. But grown-ups have also told me they found it thought-provoking, gripping and moving.
Is Johnny based on you?
No, but there are elements of me in him, as there are, inevitably, in many of my characters.
Is Sabina based on a real person?
Is Johnny’s family’s troubled religious background based on my own?
Yes, to a point. It is actually closer to my own experiences than the fictional cult activities in Children of the Folded Valley.
Did you base the story on a real life relationship deception?
No. But who knows? Perhaps it has happened before, somewhere.
Is Love vs Honour pro-Christianity or pro-Islam?
Neither. It simply depicts characters from both faiths, and their differing views and convictions.
But surely you must have your own beliefs?
Of course. But I have not consciously used Love vs Honour as a vehicle for them. It is intended as a gripping romantic drama first and foremost.
It gets quite dark towards the end, doesn’t it?
Yes. I make no apology for that. The subject matter is challenging, and I tried to explore some big ideas as fearlessly and honestly as possible.
I didn’t expect that ending.
Good. But I hope you’ll agree it was the right ending.
Here is the blurb from the back of the book:
Two Religions. Two Deceptions. One Love.
When Johnny meets and falls in love with Sabina, their bond proves stronger than a teenage holiday fling.
Fearing the disapproval of their strict Christian and Islamic families, they undertake an elaborate deception to continue seeing one another. Johnny pretends to convert to Islam whilst Sabina pretends to covert to Christianity to appease their parents.
But how long can this deception last before it unravels?