I am published by Love Africa Press. I am beyond honoured because I love their mission statement and I am still blown away that the amazing Kiru Taye likes my characters. Please check out the press because they are amazing and there are so many incredible authors already published writing amazing romances about Africa and African characters.
Her Golden Eyes is the first of the Heart of Gold series set in Marrakech, Morocco.
Series setting: It is the end of the 12th Century Gregorian/6th Century Hijiri, and Marrakech is a multicultural crucible constantly in danger of cracking. With the Caliph’s attention diverted to the north, elements in the city wish to break the hold of Arabic rulers and remove the accepted status quo – including the normalcy of slavery. Slavery at the time was not comparable to the exploitation, horror, and inhuman cruelty of the Trans-Atlantic Chattel Trade, being more akin to today’s issue of the minimum wage not being a living wage and employers using contracts to force inhuman amounts of labour out of people by dangling access to medical care in front of them. Still a morass of immorality, and open to abuse, but often the only option left to save oneself from death by execution or starvation.
It was perversely important to me to show the order of the city from a positive perspective. To tear into the functioning of a medieval culture from a modern paradigm would be childish, especially from the several layers of privilege on which I sit. At the time Arabic society gave women divorce rights, Jewish people protected status, and slaves contracts (called Mukharajah) to ensure their safety, protection, and right to earn their own freedom, most of Christian Society was living in willful ignorance, deliberate violence, and brutally enforced feudality. But as with the state of those living on the bread line to have access to medicine in the US, if you need a contract to keep living there’s something wrong with the status quo.
Her Golden Eyes – Book One
Medieval Morocco, 1195 CE, 591 AH…
Sabbah’s neatly ordered life is about to be overturned. He is an important man in an important city who has been successful at everything so far, but can he succeed with love?
He should be worrying about a conspiracy to undermine Marrakech itself, but his beautiful new housekeeper is disturbing his house, his head, and his heart.
Tison is in a new city, and she is determined to control her own destiny. That destiny was not supposed to involve falling for her new master, or getting involved with a shadowy underground cell bent on anarchy.
“[Holly March] perfectly captured the struggle of a conservative Arabic man in love.” – Ahmad Fathy, beta reader
“I mega loved it. Tison and Sabbah are so wonderful together.” – Kiru Taye
Purchase Links (also pre-orders):
Her Golden Touch – Book Two (in progress)
Malik is a good Muslim. He has just completed Hajj (the mass pilgrimage to Mecca) and is ready to settle down and marry. He is just worried about having to upset the balance of power in a house which is technically his but ruled by his mother and sisters. Wanting his mother to be happy, he blurts out that he is ready to marry.
Kinti Sosseh is a loving sister to Sibo. Sibo is a widow whose marriage showed her that no matter the man, you are marrying a whole family of potentially cruel people. She seeks to protect Sibo from a second marriage but how will she continue her craft as a goldsmith in a proper Muslim household? And that is the least of Kinti’s secrets, ones even her beloved Sibo does not know.
The second book in the series will feature a neurodiverse heroine and explore themes of toxic gender roles against which our main characters struggle.
I have been telling stories all of my life. When I was three I had an alterego with a fully fledged backstory. When I was seven I started entertaining the girls in my dorm with stories at night. I never wanted to play kiss chase or doctors and nurses. I wanted to play go around the tree three times and then you will be in a magical land you have to save from an evil entity with your comedy sidekick and magical talking animal.
Other kids just did not play intricate enough stories.
After years of unfinished projects I wrote three historical romances. I am enjoying writing what I read. I love romances! I love shapeshifter stories! I love long bubble baths, train journeys, lazy afternoons, all with a well written janeaustenmisunderstanding ™, angsty separation, guilt and then happy ever after.
However, I am hugely aware of the fact that I am a privileged white woman writing Black- and Brown-skinned characters. I am also a witch writing Christian and Muslim characters. I was advised when querying my generic as all get-out romances to write what only I could write, rather than trying to imitate others. I did not see any medieval African romances in English and being autistic and an idiot, I did not see anything problematic in writing some.
As I say in my About Me page, I want to be supplanted by African and Arabic authors. Submit to LoveAfricaPress and you will get a fair shake. I never dreamed, when I learned about this company, that I would ever be honoured enough to be one of their writers. So please, oust me!
To get people going on research, I recommend the following books:
- The Medieval Spains – Reilly;
- The Almohad Movement in North Africa in the 12th and 13th Centuries – Le Tourneau;
- Medieval West Africa: Views from Arab Scholars and Merchants – Levizion and Spaulding;
- Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World – Lindsay and Hackett; (I have been told this comes across as judgemental of modern muslims so take this with a grain of salt)
- Avicenna’s Medicine – Abu-Asab Amri Micozzi;
- The Travels of Ibn Battutah – Mackintosh-Smith;
- Medieval West Africa – Conrad;
- The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay – McKissack & McKissack.
- The Flame of the Almohads, an historical essay – Pastore
- Medieval Islamic Sectarianism – Baker
- Worked bone tools:linking metal artisans and animal processors in medieval Islamic Morocco (from Antiquity Volume 76, No. 292, June 2002) – Benco
- Black Morocco: A history of Slavery, Race, and Islam – Hamel
- Medieval West Africa: Views from Arab Scholars and Merchants – Levtzion & Spaulding
- General History of Africa volume 3: Africa from the 7th to the 11th Century: Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century v. 3 (Unesco General History of Africa (abridged) – ed. Hrbek
If you want help with your research I am open to looking things up in the books I have. As I said, I am in a privileged situation so I have been able to purchase these. If I had been reliant on my local library (middle of nowhere, Shropshire) I would have found nothing on medieval North Africa. I want to read more romances set in the Maghreb which do not fetishize the cultures from authors who have done their research. I warn you, finding sources that have been translated into English is difficult, so if this is your first language, prepare to wrestle with google translated nonsense!
Do not worry, I have at least seven or eight couples waiting to have their stories told in Marrakech.