Know the Hero from Open to Love by Lyndell Williams @laylawriteslove #RLFblog #interracialromanceLyndell Williams, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! We’re excited to find out more about your hero, but first, tell us about the book.

Open to Love by Lyndell Williams

Genre Interracial Romance

Book heat level (based on movie ratings): R

The last thing Hafsah wants is to get wrapped up in another marriage, let alone with a younger man. Despite the desire he reawakens in her, she is not going to fall into another trap. Faheem is undisturbed by the age difference and undeterred by her doubts. He feels the passion surging between them and is determined to get her to open to love.

Know the Hero from Open to Love

Here are some fun questions to help us know your hero.

It’s late, he’s bored. What does he do?

When boredom hits, Faheem likes to flop on the sofa and pick up a controller. He slaps on a headset and starts trash talking his gaming buddies. FPS games like Killzone, Doom and classics Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty are his favorites. He gets to connect with childhood friends who have moved away are too busy, kill some bad guys and his boredom.

What kind of food would he impulse buy if hungry?

While young, Faheem would watch his non-Muslim and some Muslim friends chomping down on fast food from places like Mc Donalds and Burger King. Since most of the food was not halal, he never ate there. Well, he got to grab a milk shape and some french fries, but never anything with meat. Even fish fillets were off limits because they were fried in the same grease as the chicken.

The fact that there weren’t any halal fast food spots, like there were the city, only made Long Island, NY suburban life more torturous. When the first halal fast food restaurant opened one town over, he became a regular. The more that opened, the more he frequented, chowing down on burgers and Philly cheesesteaks. Consequently, he chubbed up and had to restrain himself and hit the gym a little harder.

Faheem has gotten control over his halal fast food addiction, but he’ll still pull over and pick up a cheesesteak when his stomach growls when he’s on the road.

Describe the kind of clothes he prefers to wear.

Faheem loves to dress casually. Henley shirts and jeans stuff his drawers, and he purposefully chose to work at an atelier style architectural firm so he wouldn’t have to spend days stuffed in a suit. While designing, he wears a dress shirt and slacks with a pair of Raf Simons Adidas sneakers, expressing his unique style as he makes his way to partner.

Does he know how to fix things?

Faheem’s uncle is a master contractor, who took him under his wing as soon as he could hold a hammer. Faheem loved building things, and he worked with his uncle to pay for college and become an architect. He can fix almost anything, except electrical. He saw an electrician get shocked and carted off to the hospital when he was seventeen. So, he will be calling someone if wiring is involved.

Although he loves being an architect, working on his new house allows him to put down the titanium drafting pencil and satisfy the builder in him.

He tried to do something and it went badly. Tell us about it.

Faheem learned how to cook from his mother. He loved spending time at the stove with her, and became confident in the kitchen. He even decided to surprise her and make haleem. He waited for a day his parents were out of town and pulled out the ingredients, pot and Googled the recipe.

Hours of chopping, mashing and YouTube videos later, and he ended up sitting in the middle of the floor with a pot full of lumpy meat and wheat. He gave up, threw out his failed attempt and cleaned up the kitchen, determined to stay in culinary lane in the future.

How does he act around children he doesn’t know?

Faheem loves the kids. He is an only child and was always thrilled when cousins and friends came over. He was older than a lot of his cousins, which often made him a default babysitter, and he didn’t mind holding crying little ones and entertaining them. He will still scoop up a crying baby or try to soothe someone with a boo boo. When he walked into his fiance Hafsah’s apartment and saw her friend Rahma struggling with a fussy infant, he went into action and had the baby sleeping on his shoulder in minutes. He can’t wait to have one of his own.

What is he like first thing in the morning?

Each morning before sunrise, Faheem gets up for the first morning prayer. It is a serene time, when he gets to connect with his Creator and ground himself for the day. The ritual wash at the sink refreshes him while the dark windows and dim lighting from lamps keep him calm.

He is a wunderkind, who has accomplished a lot through hard work and focus. Things can get hectic, and having the opportunity to start the day in a peaceful state is important for him to achieve his goals.

Can he use chopsticks?

Faheem would not see the point in learning how to eat with chopsticks to enjoy food. He has watched people outside of his culture take up aspects of it in an attempt to “go native” and seem worldly. So, facetious cultural acrobatics are not his thing.

Faheem is also one of those Muslims who likes to eat traditionally with his fingers when he can. He forgoes eating utensils whenever possible. So, he would only use anything if he has to do something like cutting a piece of chicken or eating soup. Of course, if he is at a restaurant or a formal meal, a knife and fork will be the way to go.

Does he drink coffee? If so, how does he take it? If not, what does he drink instead?

Coffee in a cup holder on the way to work is a good start for Faheem. His mother makes the best chai in the world, so he is very picky about the tea lets between his lips. Barely-hot tea with a label dangling from a string on the side of a paper cup is not an option. While he’s at the office or working on the renovations of his newly-purchased fixer upper, coffee flows freely. Once he gets to a pot, milk and some loose Danedar tea leaves, he indulges in a major comfort drink for him. He also looks forward to a super hot tea after prayers in the masjid during Ramadan.

What apps would he have on his phone?

Faheem keeps his finger on the pulse of what is going on in his field through social media. He follows architects on Instagram and Twitter. He also likes to have fun posting and responding to his friends on Snapchat and Tik Tok.

He doesn’t like dragging a laptop around, so he has apps like MagicPlan to measure rooms, Construction Master Pro for complex planning calculations and AutoCAD 360 to have his drawings available wherever he is.

Android or iPhone?

Faheem is the adaptable type. He can adjust to almost anything or situation without letting it get to him too much. He treats himself to a phone every birthday and has had both Androids and iPhones over the years. He usually chooses a device based upon its features and how good a deal he can get for it. After haggling with the brother from the masjid who owns a cell phone store, he’ll sync his iCloud to the latest Android device he got and tucks whatever he has selected without getting flustered.

Beard or clean-shaven?

Faheem sports a full and righteous beard with his long, silky hair. He grew up around his father and uncles, all of whom considered a bear a manly-must. As a practicing Muslim, a beard is more than just facial hair. It is an expression of his faith. Unlike some of the Muslim men around him, he doesn’t let it grow too long. He will trim it and keep it a manageable length for him.

Earrings/piercings/tattoos or unadorned skin?

Some of Faheem’s friends would clown him because he refused to get tattoos, but he never had an interest.

Personal vehicle or public transport?

Living on Long Island, NY Faheem needs a car to live. He has a car to commute to his job at the firm. On weekends, he climbs into his pickup filled with supplies and heads to work on his house. He is ready to start a life and family. Building a home and courting Hafsah are the steps he’s taking to have one.

Recycle or toss?

Faheem can definitely do better in the conservation department. His mother is always bugging him to use the blue cans in the kitchen. He rarely does. He knows recycling is important, but it is not on his immediate radar.

Thanks for helping us get to know your hero!

Where to buy Open to Love


Lyndell Williams Social Media

A bestselling author and award-winning writer, Lyndell Williams (Layla Abdullah-Poulos) holds a B.A. in Historical Studies and Literature, M.A. in Liberal Studies, and an AC in Women and Gender Studies. She is an adjunct instructor as well as an anti-racism and gender equity advocate. She is the senior New York trainer for the Muslim Anti-Racism collaborative.
Williams is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She has been published in peer-review journals and presented at national conferences about Muslim and interracial romance fiction as well as racism, sexism and the Black Muslim experience.