Travel is my passion, and there are two trips that really stand out. One was a cruise beyond the Arctic Circle, the other a journey deep into the desert of Arabia.
The frozen north was memorable for the stunning scenery: ice cliffs, plunging ravines, and blue white glaciers. And for the wildlife: whales, seals, and of course polar bears.
I have to admit to being surprised to see high powered rifles resting on supermarket trolleys, especially as we had just taken a stroll around the town unarmed. It seems we had taken more of a risk than we knew, as no one ventures outside, we learned, without arming themselves against the unpredictable and extremely dangerous polar bears.
And the men. True Vikings. Taller, tougher, stronger, the Scandinavian man does not disappoint! Which is why I knew my Skavanga sisters would have a long-lost brother.
Tyr Skavanga appears in the last book where he meets Jasmina, the sheltered sister of hard man Sheikh Sharif.
And the desert. It is impossible to describe the vastness, the beauty, or the kind and generous hospitality of the people, let alone the vibrant colours, the formidable forces of nature, and the sense of being a tiny grain of sand in a huge and unknowable world.
We were lucky enough to have trained rangers to introduce us to the sheikh's conservation programme and to see the variety of animals His Majesty is reintroducing into the desert. We rode out on specially shampooed camels to visit villages and markets and forts. We learned to read animal tracks in the sand and watched kestrels being flown at dawn, and at the end of the day we drank champagne on the dunes as we watched the sun go down.
I will never forget the desert or the people of Arabia, but I love the Mediterranean too, so I just couldn't resist introducing a hard Italian and a ruthless Spaniard for two of my Skavanga sisters.
Fiery redhead, Eva Skavanga takes on Count Roman Quisvada in book 2, while Leila, the youngest sister and peacemaker in the family, goes head to head with the slumbering volcano that is Raffa Leon, Duke of Cantalabria in book 3.
I've adored writing this series, and if you have half as much fun reading it as I've had writing it, we're going to have a blast!
All my very best to you,