Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little - Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway

Forbidden Kimberley


Kimberley Griffiths Little

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Praise for Forbidden

*STARRED* Review, ALA BOOKLIST ". . . At its core, this is a romance, with all the push and pull that goes along with impossible love, and Little elevates the story by creating a perilous landscape, both outward and inward, as Jayden must deal with the hardship of desert life as well as her own desires."

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL "This is a fast-paced, entertaining choice which will appeal to fans of historical fiction and romance."

"Lush, lyrical, romantic. Forbidden transports readers into a vividly imagined place and time." --Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author

"The harsh beauty of the deserts of ancient Mesopotamia come to life in Forbidden, with beautiful descriptions that will make you crave water and check for sand in your clothes. Your heart will break as you root for Jayden to triumph over the many struggles that threaten to tear her world apart, and the ending will leave you thirsting for more!" --Sara B. Larson, author of Defy

Interview with author Kimberley Griffiths Little 

1. Tell us about your main character in Forbidden. Who is Jayden?

            Jayden is a nomadic desert girl in the era of ancient Egypt, something we’re all more familiar with, but Jayden lives in the Jordan/Syria area. She loves her family/tribe, and she’s always been a pleaser. She’s also a little envious of her beautiful and poised older sister. During her betrothal celebration Jayden is terrified of performing the official dance before the women of her tribe, but when she overcomes her fears the experience becomes a powerful, almost magical event as she crosses the threshold into womanhood.

As Jayden’s life becomes fraught with tragedy and peril, she discovers courage and a determination deep within herself—all while falling in love with a forbidden 0boy from the mysterious frankincense lands thousands of miles away—an act of betrayal to the prince of her tribe that could get her stoned. When she’s framed for the murder of the king, Jayden has to make choices she could never have dreamed of—all while trying to survive a deadly chase across the desert.

2. The premise for Forbidden is so intriguing! What was your inspiration?

            I’ve always been fascinated by the roots of belly dance—and took classes, too! The dance was used for childbirth, betrothals, marriage, etc. but it was also a huge part of the ancient goddess temples of Ashtoreth (temple prostitution). The two clashing cultures and beliefs of the temple and the people of Abraham were a ready-made contrast for my novel.
            Last year I made my dream trip: I got to visit Jordan and go behind-the-scenes with an archeologist at the world wonder of Petra (a very important and romantic chapter takes place in Petra!) although it belonged to the Edomite tribe in 1750s BC. Breath-taking scenery, friendly people, great food and so inspirational.
Pinterest (I have a Board with fabulous pictures of Petra’s stunning landscape—and Bedouin-decorated camels! Plus Middle Eastern and Belly Dance boards!)

3. If you could have dinner with any historical figures, who would you entertain? What would you serve?

The wife of King Tut – Queen Ankhesenamun (daughter of Queen Nefertiti).

I wrote an ancient Egyptian thriller (not pubbed yet) about the last month of King Tut and his wife who mysteriously disappears from history. There are lots of theories and some evidence (was she murdered?) and I would love to know her story. I own a wall hanging of the back of King Tut's throne chair and he and Ankhesenamun look very much in love.

My Dinner Menu for the Queen: Grilled fish with rosemary and garlic, slow-baked lamb, grilled vegetables, fresh herb bread, and sugared dumplings and cakes for dessert!

4. What book have you read recently? What are your thoughts about it?

I just finished reading THE SECRET ROOMS: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret.

It’s Victorian England with a real-life family mystery and secrets about a Duke and Duchess of England. Like a true Downton Abbey! I love anything with secrets and hauntings and Victorian (I’m also working on a Victorian-era thriller with steampunk elements not yet pubbed). My middle-grade novels with Scholastic are for upper age kids with elements of magical realism and lots of family secrets and curses. :-)

5. What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received? The worst?

Worst Advice: “Write what you know”. This would severely limit my writing! I love learning about new places and time periods in history. You need to write about what you LOVE—while including true emotions.

Best Advice (and something I learned YEARS after I got started, making this mistake a hundred times): Don’t rewrite the same short story or novel ad nauseum for more than 1-2 years. Try to write a new novel every year, a new short story or PB every month. It’s the only way you get better. And you WILL get better with every new piece. I promise.

6. What must you have handy for a productive writing session?

Cookies and Dr Pepper!

7. Outlines or no?

I use a very basic outlining method I call 3x5 card plotting. I wrote about it here: http://kimberleygriffithslittle.blogspot.com/2011/03/3x5-card-plotting-method.html

And I did a video about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxoLsg8taas

I *love* plotting this way and it can be used with short stories, novels, research papers, term papers, etc. It also helps when you sit down to actually draft so you don’t get stuck.

8. Any advice for new writers dipping a toe into these shark infested waters?

See #5. But basically 3 things:

3. Find another writer friend to get feedback and support you through this fabulous and treacherous journey called “The Writing Life”!

9. Anything you’d like you readers to know?

The roots of belly dancing is an important part of the tapestry of FORBIDDEN. The thing I *LOVE* is that this type of dance can be enjoyed by every age girl or woman. It doesn’t matter how tall you are or your body type – EVERY woman looks gorgeous this ancient dance. And it fills you with a great joy as you hear the ancient rhythms, move your hips, and feel the pulse of the earth through your toes.

Read FORBIDDEN and find the Goddess that’s already inside you! 

10. Where can fans find you online?

A MUST-SEE: My fabulous and filmed-on-location book trailer for FORBIDDEN: https://www.youtube.com/user/KimberleyLittle1

Thank you so much for having me, Kimber Leigh!!


The night was starkly beautiful under a canopy of jeweled stars. I savored my moments of freedom, which were marred by the realization that it was dripping away day by day.

The sizzle of coffee beans roasting in the skillet floated across the still air. Cups clinked on a tray as my father passed them around the circle. The aroma of roasted brew spiced with cardamom seeped into the night.

As I tried to slip past, Horeb’s eyes caught mine. Firelight flickered over his face, outlining his jaw and wind-tangled black hair. He was devastatingly handsome just as all the girls said, but his lips curled into a smile that sent shudders down my spine.

Horeb’s glance lingered on my body, settling not on my face, but lower, as if he was undressing me right there on the dirt path.

His eyes locking onto mine, Horeb rose from the circle of men. I jerked around, breaking off his stare. Walking faster, I turned the corner of the tent just as his arm reached out to stop me.

“So, little cousin,” Horeb said. “Have you been enjoying the betrothal ceremony? Tell me, are the women telling stories of marital relations?”

My breath caught like a thorn in my throat. The women’s ceremonies were not discussed with any male—only inside the privacy of a marriage bed.

“You shouldn’t be saying these things to me,” I said.

Running his fingers down my arm, Horeb continued to study me. “There are many things I’d like to say to you, Jayden. Do to you.”

There used to be a time when my throat pounded every time Horeb turned my direction. A time when he was growing into those big, dark eyes and that hard, muscular body. Moments when I wanted to touch his thick, black hair, or run my finger along his jaw to discover what a boy’s skin felt like with a newly growing beard. But now that I was sixteen, and he twenty, his stares made me uneasy. My heart still pounded, but not from love. And I wasn’t sure what it was or what to call it.

Author Kimberley Griffiths Little

Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.


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