Lyndell 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 heroine, but first, tell us about Open to Love.
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 then and is determined to get her to open to love.
Know the Heroine from Open to Love
Here are some fun questions to help us know your heroine.
It’s late, she’s bored. What does she do?
Talking to her girlfriends Tariqa and Rahma chases away any boredom from Hafsah. They met in Islamic school, and have been besties ever since. If they aren’t teasing each other, they share their hopes and dreams.
What kind of food would she impulse buy if hungry?
Hafsah’s mother nagged her about her insatiable sweet tooth since she was little. She can’t resist and must have sugar when life gets hectic or taxing. She knows it’s not the healthiest thing to do, but when things become stressful, a cookie or cupcake hits the spot and keeps her from flying off the handle.
When her marriage was falling apart, Hafsah’s clothes got tighter from months of slamming down snack cakes. She popped one after the other in her mouth as she looked for a job. When she couldn’t fit her favorite skirt, she knew it was time to get out of the house and walk off some pounds while she could still fit through the door.
Describe the kind of clothes she prefers to wear.
Hafsah is a Muslim woman who covers her head, so she has a ton of hijabs of different colors and patterns. Not one to leave the house shabby, she has a closet and drawer packed with hip modest fashion. She is tall and has to get ankle-length a-line or box pleated skirts custom made to drape over her long legs, which she finishes off with long-sleeve blouses. After strapping on a pair of MK shoes and slinging an LV handbag over her shoulder, she sashays her way into the world.
She reserves more revealing clothes like tight jeans with camisoles or shorts and tank tops to strut around the house, cleaning, cooking or just hanging out. She finds it funny when people ask her if she wears a hijab at home. Some have even asked if she showers in it!
Does she know how to fix things?
Hafsah does have the ability to get somethings up and running. If it can be repaired with tape, glue, a hammer or screwdriver, then she is your gal. Growing up, she watched and learned from her mother how to unclog drains, spackle holes in the wall and get any most of the small appliances in the house beeping, whirring and humming again.
She tried to do something and it went badly. Tell us about it.
As corny as it seemed to many of her friends, Hafsah always wanted to be a wife and mother. Sure, she made sure to get a college degree to be marketable and take care of herself, but settling in to take care of hearth and home was important for her.
Unlike her best friend, Tariqa, who had sworn off men, Hafsah maintained an open mind when courted by the Muslim brothers in her community. Unfortunately, nothing worked out. Years went by, and no one swept her off her feet, until Mahmoud. He was smart, sexy and smooth enough for her to accept being his second wife.
Polygny was not an alien thing in her community. She had plenty of friends who were cowives. Mahmoud had more than enough money to keep her and his first wife comfortable, and since she had fallen for him hard, she decided that she could accept plural marriage. Big mistake.
Hafsah was not prepared for the change in the way some women in the community treated her for “settling” to be wife number two. Mahmoud’s family was no help. They denied her existence, straining their usually steamy and happy relationship.
How does she act around children she doesn’t know?
Hafsah loves kids, not babies, kids. Babies scare her. She is always afraid that if she holds one, she’ll do something wrong and hurt it. They are so small and frail.
When she was around seven, one of the sisters in the community visited with her newborn. She asked and the mother let her hold the tiny bundle. All she wanted to do was see the tiny feet hidden inside. She unraveled the blanket, and the baby’s arms and legs flailed out, startling her. She jumped up, dropping baby and blanket. Fortunately, mother caught the little one.
Ever since that day, Hafsah has lots of fun with kids, and coo at babies from a safe distance.
What is she like first thing in the morning?
Hafsah rises every morning before dawn for prayer. It’s not always easy. Winter days on Long Island, NY can be cold and prickly, making her want to stay between her toasty blankets. She finds solace in making a spiritual connection with her creator, so she fights the urge to be comfy.
Can she use chopsticks?
Hafsah’s friend Simon had taught her to use them when they were teenagers. He lived near her aunt’s house in Queens. When she visited, she would go to his house to grub down on his mom’s cooking. She loved it, but hasn’t used them since he left for law school.
Does she drink coffee? If so, how does she take it? If not, what does she drink instead?
Coffee is fine for Hafsah, but she prefers to carry around and sip water most days. When she does drink coffee, she avoids high-priced coffee chains with more milk and sugar than actual coffee. She will grab a cup at one of the small mom-and-pop cafes peppered along Montauk Highway, have a seat and sip while sliding her thumb across her cell phone.
What apps would she have on her phone?
Hafsah’s phone has the mandatory social media apps—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Pinterest is one of her favorites. She likes to look at cooking and decorating ideas.
Android or iPhone?
Hafsah had an iPhone, but every time she turned around, it was out of memory. She switched to Androids and never looked back.
Earrings or unpierced ears?
Hafsah’s mother pierced her ears when she was a baby. She loves wearing gold bangles, draping her hijab so they swing from her ears.
Tattoos or unadorned skin?
Most Muslims in Hafsah’s community frown on tattoos. She has seen a few of her more rebellious friends with them. She went with one of them to the parlor. After seeing her friend wincing under the needle, she was not inclined to ever get one.
Personal vehicle or public transport?
It is almost impossible to get anywhere on Long Island without a car. Hafsah bought her first one when she was seventeen. She worked summers and saved her money for three years. It was old and ran on a prayer, but it was hers. Mahmoud gave her a new luxury car as a wedding gift, but nothing will purge the love for her hooptie.
Recycle or toss?
Thanks for helping us get to know your heroine!
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.
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