Her full name is Sultana Jazirah bint Ismail of the Nasrid Dynasty. She is based on a historic personage, the wife and paternal cousin of Sultan Muhammad V. Although historians know several details of her life, one of the most important facts went missing over the centuries; her real name.
When and where is the story set?
The story is set in Moorish Spain within Granada's Alhambra palace mostly, during a ten-year period of 1357 to 1367, which was a turbulent time during Muhammad V's reign.
What should we know about Jazirah?
She lives a remarkable life in adverse times. When she was six, her father was imprisoned by his brother for treason, so Jazirah did not enjoy the pampered existence one might expect for a princess. When she is sixteen, she receives a marriage proposal from Muhammad V, an opportunity to seal the breach in the family caused by her father's imprisonment. She eventually accepts, but even after the marriage, peace does not follow. While Jazirah and Muhammad share a deep attraction and understanding of each other's natures, neither has reason to trust or rely upon the other.
What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?
How does a woman who has no reason to trust her new husband and no hope of a bright future with him learn to embrace new possibilities? Jazirah has lived with the consequences of betrayal all of her life, so she struggles with an inability to understand the intentions and motives of almost everyone around her. While she is perceptive, she's also judgmental and guided by the bitter past. Jazirah's difficulty in reconciling past and present dims her future prospects.
What is the personal goal of the character?
To find her own path toward forgiveness and faith in her marriage, to let go of old hurts and to secure the future for her and Muhammad's children.
When can we expect Sultana: The Bride Price to be published?
Late May. I'm making some changes based on feedback from members of the NYC chapter of the Historical Novel Society.
I'm passing this on to three writers of historical fiction (in the hopes they haven't already been tapped for a Meet My Main Character post)
Mirella Patzer, Heather Domin and Jessica Knauss.