Friday, November 21 was the book launch at Bookworks in Albuquerque, NM for FORBIDDEN by my good friend Kimberley Griffiths Little.
The evening started with a belly dancing demonstration. Then everyone in the audience was invited to get up and learn some belly dancing moves. It was quite a workout and now I know how to do snake arms!
Kimberley has been working on FORBIDDEN for ten years. I remember the story from its early beginnings when we frequently brainstormed plot ideas together. Although she has published many middle grade novels, this is her debut young adult novel, and it's part of a trilogy.
FORBIDDEN starts in 1759 B.C. with a belly dancing scene celebrating sixteen-year-old Jayden's betrothal to a young man named Horeb. It's not a good match because Horeb ends up having a violent disposition and a dark past. After a terrible tragedy, Jayden's family gets separated from the rest of their group and must make it to the Summer Lands on their own. That's when Jayden meets Kadesh, a dark and handsome stranger, and begins a forbidden romance.
Jayden's family is from the lineage of Ishmael. A little Bible history-- Ishmael was the first son of Abraham by his wife Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar. Ishmael (like his half brother Isaac) had twelve sons who were later known as the Twelve Princes. Jayden and her family are descendants of one of these princes.
Dancing figures prominently throughout the book. Every important occasion and life event is marked with dancing in the Bedouin culture of this era. The book is similar in many ways to THE RED TENT. Kimberley did extensive research which included a trip to the Middle East. Below is a photo of some of the souvenirs she brought back.
Congratulations Kim! I'm glad you're part of my writer's journey.