Ahwatukee Foothills resident and author Katrina Covington Whitmore has been writing her “Bride of the Desert” trilogy for more than a decade. The first book in the series, Daughter of Two Nations, was published last year, and Covington Whitmore is already at work on the final installment.
The first book, released in September, chronicles the life of Lady Kiah, a princess in the Kush kingdom, modern day Ethiopia, who is slated to marry an heir of a prominent family in the eastern Roman Empire. Members of Kiah’s family confront her with jealousy and ulterior motives. The story evolves as Kiah balances family trouble with her own future.
Covington Whitmore has a background in communications, and cites a life-long love of historical fiction with sparking her researching and writing for the books
Before moving to Arizona, she worked at several radio and TV stations in Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee. Covington Whitmore earned a doctorate in communications and was a professor of various media and communications courses at the University of Georgia and Alabama State University. While teaching at the University of Georgia, she began researching and writing the trilogy, which was originally intended to be “one big book,” she said.
“The whole trilogy took 13 years. I knew it would be difficult to sell a 1,000-page book as a new author. I didn’t really want to change anything, and wanted to tell the story without compromising important aspects.”
The trilogy is her first fiction work. The second book, Torn Loyalties, is expected to be released sometime in fall or early winter. The final installment, The End is the Beginning, should be released in spring 2011.
In the first book, Kiah visits a fortune teller, who shares a prophecy of things that will happen in her life. All three book titles come from that prophecy, Covington Whitmore said.
“A lot of this is based on historical fact, but I just used my characters to bring that story to life.”
The first book is “historical fiction, heavy on the romance,” but has attracted an audience of male and female readers, Covington Whitmore said.
She credits the book’s “historical aspect, political maneuvering, and strong male characters” with capturing a diverse audience’s interest.
“Since I’m a woman of color, I’ve always wanted to read books featuring women of color. I never saw a strong female character as a woman of color, and I tried to bring color into the book,” she said.
Growing up in an Air Force family, Covington moved around between California, Alaska, New Jersey, Spain, Chicago, Kansas City, Mississippi, Bermuda and South Dakota.
Twelve years ago she moved to Ahwatukee Foothills, and is now working full-time on finishing the trilogy.
“If they’re interested in a powerful story, historical referencing, character development, and a multi-layer type of story, then I think this is the story for you.”
Kathleen Gormley is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.