Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Faith in a 1Night Stand? Hello?

Buy Once Upon a Second Chance HERE

By Zee Monodee 
It never really occurred to me to write something on the basis of religion. Like, I usually steer clear of inspirational, unless I have to, say, review an Amish book, or the read happens to be chick-lit with a sprinkle of “God” thoughts in it.

So why did I write a story, and no less an erotic romance, that revolves around religion, and the Muslim faith, too, at that? Culture is my forte. Ask me about life in the melting pot of cultures that is Mauritius and I can write you a whole thesis on the topic. But religion...?

I ask myself the question, and like it happened when the idea for this story totally slammed me into my tracks and demanded I write it, the one thing that keeps popping up is, “Why not?”

I wasn’t going for fundamentalism. I wasn’t going for “defending” the Muslim faith or anything of the like. That’s a “jihad” (personal crusade. Yes, that is the word’s true meaning!) I leave to others while I simply show the world how I go about my day-to-day life.

Still, I asked myself – don’t Muslim people fall in love? If Christians with a strong rapport with their faith and with God fall in love and get their HEA in inspirational stories, why couldn’t this be the case for Muslim characters, too?

And that’s where the angle of culture wove itself in. Islam is a universal religion, but though the practice is the same the world over, the lifestyle differs depending on which region you look at, and on where Muslims originate from.

A good example of this would be the question of dowry. A Muslim man is expected to pay his intended a dowry before the wedding can be finalized; yet, in India, it is still the bride’s family who brings the dowry. Culture v/s religion – it’s what gives the flavor to every lifestyle the world over.

In Once Upon A Second Chance, I tried to showcase how the Muslim lifestyle, especially from an Arab perspective, plays out. Leila, the heroine, is British but she was born to an Arab father. So the culture she grows in is Arab Islam, a worldview that is further strengthened when she is sold off in marriage to a man much older than her in the UAE. Treated no better than a slave, she believes there is no hope and salvation for a woman in the Muslim world.

Until Khalid steps into her life, and shows her the true way a Muslim man is supposed to treat his wife. One night of magic. Stolen hours of bliss and contentment... before he leaves, Leila finding herself on the island of Mauritius, in his stepmother’s care.
On this tiny speck of land in the Indian Ocean, Leila faces a world of tolerance and acceptance, but she knows the only place she yearns to belong is with Khalid. Why did he leave? Why did he promise to love and cherish her, to then abandon her without a word?

An estranged couple. Their faith makes them Muslims, but their hearts make them everyday people like you and me. Can love, and a Happily-Ever-After, be in the cards for them, especially once Madame Eve works in her magic?


  1. Zee, I love how you bring culture to each and every one of your stories no matter where it may be set.

    All the best with your new release! :)

  2. I think it's fascinating to read about different cultural expectations! I've got an element of Islam in my WIP - it's an issue of Sharia - and I'm not sure whether to put Sharia law or just Sharia because I know the word means law but usually people put the extra word on. Like an ATM machine or a PIN number. LOL