Without giving too much away about the events that unfold in Two Sisters, during the reign of Yusuf I of Granada, his younger brother Ismail allegedly had his eye on the throne. The extent of Yusuf's mercy meant Ismail and his small family, including young children, went to jail. At least they weren't beheaded. Trust me, the Nasrid family were not the most forgiving bunch. Years later, when Yusuf's son Muhammad gained the throne, he sealed the family breach by marrying his first cousin, Ismail's daughter. And they lived happily ever after! Right? Trust me, I wouldn't be excited about this new novel if they had. As if an arranged marriage between this pair wasn't enough, there were also enemies within Granada plotting to take Muhammad's crown and Spanish Catholics encroaching daily on an ever-shrinking Moorish kingdom.
In outlining the new work, I'm considering several aspects of the history. Within a marriage of convenience, can two people who have no reason to trust each other learn to do so? How do the sins of their respective fathers influence the relationship that develops? Where would the loyalty of Muhammad's new wife lie, with an embittered father or a husband who looks at her with more suspicion than lust? This particular story has it all - intrigue, murder, a bloody coup, and I suppose some "harem sex" - hope that will keep my recent blog visitors who seem to like searching those keywords happy.
What doesn't the story have?
I've struggled with a name, for starters. After weeks of searching for historical fiction titles online, some variations appeal like,
While I know some intimate details about the main character, her marriage to Muhammad and how his dynastic troubles put her life and their infant son at risk, etc., guess what I don't know? Her @#$%^&* name. I am an obsessive researcher when it comes to writing about the Moorish period and even if every fact does not make it into the finished novel, at least the names, dates and historical events are accurate. Imagine how annoying it must be not to have one source mention this woman's name. So, what do I do? In the grand tradition of writers of fiction everywhere, I'll just have to make it up.