Wednesday, April 05, 2006

THE SHEIKH’S GUARDED HEART (or Where Do You Get Your Ideas?)

I was given a copy of The Most Beautiful Gardens in the World by Alain Le Toquin, a couple of Christmases ago. It’s one of those large, coffee table books with stunning fold out pictures of gardens in locations as diverse as Italy, the United States, China and New Zealand. But the ones that drew me back were Bagh-e Shahadet and Bagh-e Fin in Iran. These were ancient gardens, dating back to Cyrus the Great who conquered this region 2,500 years ago, and incorporating architecture, planting, water-rills and shade-giving pavilions into their design – a reflection of heaven on earth.

The following May, Penelope Hobhouse, the celebrated gardener and traveller, came to Aberglasney, a garden very near my home, to give an illustrated talk based on her book, The Gardens of Persia.

From Penelope I learned that Xenophon translated the Persian pairidaeza (a combination of pairi, meaning “around” and daeza meaning “wall”) into the Greek paradeisos, a term used for the Garden of Eden in Greek translation of the Bible. In modern Persian (Farsi) the word ferdous means both paradise and garden.

Life, it seemed was conspiring to point me in one direction. I had my setting; all I needed now, was a story.

Obligingly, Lucy Forrester, distraught, angry, appeared over the horizon, heading for the mountains that provide a natural boundary between the states of Ras al Hajar (HIS DESERT ROSE,) and Ramal Hamrah, in search of the man she’d married. She never gets there, instead losing her way and her heart to Sheikh Hanif al-Khatib, a man who has exiled himself from his family, his country, his life.

THE SHEIKH’S GUARDED HEART will be published in September in both the UK and the US, and in Australia in October. Email me for a “taster” first chapter at liz@lizfielding.com

12 comments:

Kate Hardy said...

Wow, I'm not surprised that inspired you. Beautiful, beautiful gardens. The sort I'd want to potter around, then settle down in a shady corner with a good book and a cool drink.

I think one of my marinating lightbulbs just pinged (if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor - but as a writer I know you'll understand exactly what I mean).

Liz Fielding said...

I understand perfectly, Kate! But is it a Medical "ping" or a "ModX" ping?

Kate Hardy said...

Not sure if it's a ModX or a 'something I'm not supposed to be working on' ping. My non-fiction book has just shifted, too. I think this is all to do with the invasions of my office...

Sharon J said...

Stunning! Makes me realise that I absolutely must get out in my garden and tidy it up. Roll on long balmy evenings sat outside with a glass of rose wine, a good book and candles all around.

Kate, I love 'marinating lightbulbs'. Gave me the first laugh of the day :-)

Nell Dixon said...

Lovely, lovely pictures,

Danica/Dream said...

Oh WOW, Liz!! This is gorgeous. Now I am going to be SO looking forward to that book. Not that I wasn't already-you know me, can't get enough.

Nicola Marsh said...

Liz,
stunning inspirational garden pictures (and this from a person who likes admiring them but doesn't get out there too often!)

Trish said...

I'm not a big gardener either I have to say (a whiz with window boxes though!) But this garden is just STUNNING. I can absolutely see how it would have been inspiring... Can't wait to read the book now!

Liz Fielding said...

Golly, I get distracted for a couple of days and everyone visits! I'm so glad the gardens delight you all.

Oh, and the lily pool is significant...

Trish said...

Starting to have blog withdrawal here Liz....

Can't we hear about the significance of the pool???

Liz Fielding said...

What, Trish? You want I should tell you all about that moment when Lucy Forrester plunges in... When Sheikh Hanif follows her... When he reaches out and...

Not a chance, lady --g--

Kim said...

A beautiful setting.
Have never been to Iran but I hear that it's wonderful.