The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Author Jenny Twist takes us to beautiful Morocco!

I am continuing my tour of Africa and the authors of the romantic suspense anthology ESCAPE TO AFRICA, which will be released by the World Romance Writers on July 14th as an ebook, and on July 15th as a print book.

Let your wild side free and Escape to Africa! Come along on an adventure through these 6 stories brought to you by 6 best-selling, award-winning authors.

You’ll uncover tales of an undercover operative in Casablanca, a safari guide in the Serengeti, students on holiday in Morocco, time-traveling agents in Tripoli, vengeance in Algeria, and deadly secrets in Carthage. Each of these stories will captivate you with love, danger, intrigue, and excitement. What better way to Escape?

Hello Jenny and welcome. What were your initial thoughts about the theme for the anthology?

When World Romance Writers told me the theme for the next anthology was to be romantic suspense set in Africa, I told them I couldn’t do it since I know nothing about Africa and I don’t even know what romantic suspense means. Then one of my friends said, “I know for a fact you’ve been to Morocco. You’ve got pictures of it all over your Face Book page.” I felt like a complete twit.

Of course I know Morocco. I’ve been there twice and loved it both times.

The problem was it sort of didn’t feel like a foreign country. For a start it’s practically just down the road from me. I live half-way up a mountain in Spain and on a clear day I can see the Rif mountains of Morocco poking over the horizon.

The other thing is that the part of Spain I live in was ruled by the Moors for hundreds of years and was, in fact, the last Moorish stronghold when the Christian monarchs finally drove them out. Our buildings, our landscape and much of our culture was shaped by the Moors. So when I went to Morocco, I found it very familiar.

The major difference was that everything was miles cheaper than in Spain and that you can’t have a beer with your lunch. The only place you can drink alcohol is in tourist hotels. That is, in fact, for me, the only thing that prevents Morocco from being a paradise.

Casa Joya, Jenny's house
How lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place, and in a hot climate. Having suffered many Lancashire rainy and grey summers, I can only envy you! What you tell us about the setting of your story?

Tangiers is a typical tourist town, full of shops, restaurants and hotels. The hotel where we stayed was a delightful example of Old Raj splendour gone to seed. Beautiful carved wooden panelling, a huge ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ staircase sweeping down beneath a gorgeous stained glass skylight. The reception rooms and bars were luxuriously furnished. It was all a little shabby but somehow endearing.

However, upstairs was rather different. At some point someone had had the bright idea of refurbishing all the bedrooms in formica and white plastic. Even the headboards and bedside tables were plastic. This gave you the uncomfortable feeling that you were in a Wendy House.

The pianist in the bar was a total delight. I won’t describe him here, since he figures in the story and I don’t want to spoil it. Just take it from me we had one of the most entertaining nights ever.


Moroccan market, courtesy of Pixabay
We didn’t go on any of the wonderful tours on offer in the hotel lobby, nor did we accept the services of any of the ‘guides’, so perhaps our experience wasn’t typical. We just wandered through the streets, shopping and stopping to eat from time to time. I bought two leather handbags, my friend bought a djellaba (the loose, flowing, Kaftan-like garment beloved of tourists) and my husband bought a pair of bright orange slippers with those pointy toes that curl up at the end. I’ve never seen them since. I wonder what happened to them?

They sound like the kind of fun slippers a genii might like! Where else did you visit in Morocco?

Blue door, Chefchouen
Later we visited Chefchouen . . . it was a joy. The town was founded by Jews driven out of Granada by the Christian monarchs. It is typically Spanish with narrow, winding, cobbled streets lined with stalls, a Moorish fort and a delightful place by the riverbank where the women still do their washing. I was told they all have washing machines but for large or heavy things, such as carpets, they still go to the river. Indeed, when we went we saw all the carpets hanging over the walls to dry.

But the really amazing thing about Chefchouen is that the houses are painted blue! This is nothing to do with Smurf films. Legend has it that that was the Granada style and they brought it with them.
Granada is not painted blue now, so maybe Chefchouen is your only chance of seeing what Granada might have been like under the Moors.
Chefchouen
I would go back. I intend to go back. The next time we have guests who are staying long enough to make it worthwhile I want to go again. It seems a shame not to share it. Meantime I have written about it.

I was lucky enough to read your fast-paced romantic suspense story before anybody else, and I really enjoyed it!

Incidentally I still don’t know what romantic suspense is. I googled it and nobody else seems to know either with any degree of confidence. Therefore I have written a sort of thriller with a romance in it and introduced as much suspense as I could.
I would be really grateful for comments on this when the book comes out.

I am sure you will get lots of compliments on your story, Jenny. Thank you very much for being my guest on the blog today.

Here is the blurb for Jenny Twist's story - An Object of Desire
Two students on holiday in Morocco discover that two sinister looking characters are following them. They meet an attractive man who offers to take them to their next destination. All seems well until one of the girls disappears.

ESCAPE TO AFRICA is available for pre-order at the special price of £0.99  here


14 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Marie. Much appreciated.
    Love
    Jenny
    xx

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    1. It was a pleasure to host you, Jenny, and discover these beautiful photos of Morocco!

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  2. Wonderful interview, Jenny. Thanks for sharing those tidbits about your story. It makes it all the more wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! I love Jenny's anecdotes too!

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    2. Thanks, Lynn. You say the nicest things!
      xxx

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  3. Marie and Jenny ~ thanks for this very interesting interview and great photos! Incidentally, having had a sneak peek at Jenny's story, I can recommend "Escape to Africa" without reservation on the basis of that one alone. It's exciting, suspenseful, and funny, told in Jenny's unique voice -- and absolutely steeped in atmosphere!

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    1. Thank you very much for visiting and for your comment, Mary. I too was lucky enough to read Jenny's story and I loved it!

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    2. Thank you so much, Mary. I'm overwhelmed. Love Jennyxx

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  4. Oh my gosh, I'm in awe of the view you painted of Morrocco. Wow, so rich in culture and beauty. I have not had the pleasure of reading your story yet, but I am sooo anxious to do so. Sounds wonderful!!

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    1. Thanks, Alicia. The photos are absolutely beautiful, aren't they? I always wanted to go to North Africa...at least we get to go to Morocco if we read Jenny's story!

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  5. This is fascinating! Having grown up in Kenya, I'm always interested to learn more about other countries in Africa. I would love to come and be your guest so we could both take a trip to Morocco! :-) But considering that I live in Taiwan now, that could be problematic ...

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    1. I am so pleased to meet you, Annie. It is my secret ambition to gather friends in lovely, exotic places so that one day, when I have the money I can have great holidays! If ever you can get to visit us, we'd love to take you to Morocco. We know the ropes now.
      Love Jenny
      xxx

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  6. Excellent read nice to get an insight into morocco

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    1. Hi Chris. Pleased to meet you. Glad you enjoyed the article.
      Love Jenny
      xxx

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