Wednesday, October 7, 2015

N is for Neve Dalton

Neve Dalton is the heroine of Paula's Egyptian novel, Her Only Option.

This story was inspired by my visit to Egypt five years ago, and I have no idea where the name Neve came from. Neve is half Egyptian, half Irish, and her name was there in my mind as soon as I started thinking about the story. Only later did I realise Neve is the way the Irish name Niamh is actually pronounced.
Next month, I can reclaim my rights to this novel and will then edit it for re-publication.

Meantime, here is my 'interview' with Neve, which takes place during the first chapter:

I’m now in Luxor, on the Lady Nadia cruise ship, waiting in the lobby to interview tour guide Neve Dalton. Ah, I can see her now, running down the stairs– but, oh dear, she doesn’t look very happy …

Has something upset you, Neve?

I’ll say it has! I went up to the sundeck for some peace and quiet until my next tour group arrives, and next I know, I’m being chatted up one of those cruise ship Casanovas – you know, the smooth-talking posers who think female tour guides are an easy target. And this one had the nerve to say tour guides churn out half-baked facts from inaccurate guide books!

I take it you weren’t impressed?

Well … (Neve blushes) … he was rather good-looking, with amazing blue eyes  - but then he tried to claim he was an archaeologist. Huh! Probably one of those dilettantes who think they can make the discovery of a lifetime without any effort. Anyway, enough about him. I’m only thankful he’s on the Lady Amirah and not the Nadia, although I don’t envy my friend Joanne having to put up with him for this week’s cruise.

Er – how did you meet him if he’s on a different ship?

Oh, haven’t you been up to the sundeck? Our cruise ships have to be moored 3 or 4 abreast because there are so many here in Luxor, and they’re built to roughly the same design, so the sundecks are level. Joanne and I often meet up to have a chat over the rails.

Let me ask you more about yourself and Joanne. I believe you’re both Cambridge graduates, so why did you decide to become Nile cruise ship guides?

We both felt we needed a break from the academic life. This job with the Rahman cruise line has given me the opportunity to return to Egypt where I grew up, and to share my passion for Ancient Egypt.

I understand you’ve been dating Malik Rahman.

(Neve narrows her eyes) I hope you’re not going to make some derogatory comment about me dating the boss’s son?

I wouldn’t dream of doing that!

I like Malik, he’s –well, as Joanne has said, he’s good-looking, charming, worships the ground I walk on, and he’s filthy rich, but—

But you’re not in love with him?

I can’t be, can I? Otherwise I’d have accepted his proposal.

So he’s asked you to marry him?

Oh yes, several times. But, between you and me, I think the only reason for his proposals is because his father won’t give him any senior role in the company until he’s ‘settled’ - which to Sabry means married with a whole brood of sons to inherit the Rahman empire. And I’m not ready to settle down as a wife and mother. Anyway, if you’ll excuse me now, I need to go and warn Joanne about that annoying self-styled archaeologist she’ll have to put up with on the Lady Amirah this week. Bye!

I wonder if Neve will change her mind about that annoying self-styled archaeologist?

Here's the blurb:
Neve Dalton loves her job as a tour guide on a River Nile cruise ship as much as she values her independence. She isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend, despite his repeated proposals and his father’s desire to see him married.
Nor is she ready to meet Ross McAllister, a compelling and fascinating archaeologist.She struggles against her growing attraction to him until she can no longer ignore what her heart is telling her. This is the man who sets her soul on fire.
When she starts receiving cryptic messages, and Ross’s work in the famous Valley of the Kings is threatened, Neve has to make a heart-breaking and life-changing decision which she feels is her only option.
Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?

And one of my reviewers wrote: Neve is a very appealing character and I did not want to finish the book and leave her.


  1. An interesting extract. I shall look forward to reading the updated version. Is that how you wrote it without any quotation marks?

    1. Margaret, this interview isn't an excerpt, it's a "mock-interview" i.e. the character is being questioned by an imaginary interviewer, but it gives some of the information the reader learns about Neve in the first chapter. Hope that makes sense!

  2. I love her name...very unique.

    And I really love the premise for this story with the two cruise ships docked so close together. I love when inspiration for fiction stems from real life.

    1. I thought I'd invented the name, until someone told me there is a Canadian actress called Neve Campbell! And yes, you already know about the moment this story was first conceived!

  3. I loved Neve's character. And her job.
    If I were X years younger....

    1. Thanks, Ana. Neve developed her own character as I wrote her story, and I enjoyed her too. Not sure about her job, though, especially having to deal with some awkward or complaining members of tour groups! But I'm looking forward to 'meeting' her and Ross again when I start revising the story (and my Elvis impersonator Nile boatman too, of course!)