The Forbidden Love Affair by Aria Emend

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Author | 2 comments

A New Take on Romance: Diversity and Representation 

By Aria Emend 

I’d like to thank Authors’ Lounge for this incredible opportunity to share my story and my book with you all.  I’m loving their website and would recommend them to other authors and anyone that wants to stay informed and share information on their writing and the writing process.

One never knows what the future holds for them.  Ever since I was young child, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.  I pursued this goal and graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Little did I know then that I would one day become an author.  An author that wants to include diversity in today’s stories.  

Growing up, I’ve always had a passion for reading.  In elementary school, I fell in love with books such as the Pippi Longstocking series, The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary, and many others.  By junior high and high school, I was reading books by Harlequin Romance, Danielle Steel, Sandra Brown, and Nora Roberts to name a few.  One thing that I noticed over those years was the lack of diversity in the stories.  

All the stories that I read were based on American values, beliefs, and traditions.  Being from the Cape Verde Islands, a set of ten islands off the west coast of Africa, I had a hard time relating to the characters that I was reading about.  Don’t get me wrong, I immigrated to the US at the age of 8 and I was well integrated into American culture.  I loved being a Cape Verdean American, but at times, I couldn’t relate to what I was reading.  Now in my 50s, I began thinking about this disparity decided in 2020 I was going to write about a Cape Verdean experience, specially, a romance story.  I started typing on my cellphone in Google Docs and soon enough my debut novel, The Forbidden Love Affair, was created.  

This story is about a young Cape Verdean American girl who falls in love with an older man, also Cape Verdean American.  Their love and relationship were forbidden by her family, but they continued to see each other secretly.  As time went on, their relationship was discovered, and they were forced to stay away from each other.  As the years went by, she turned eighteen and the couple began secretly dating again.  Soon enough the relationship progressed to a point that the family was unable to prevent them from being together.  Without giving too much away, this is the premise for the novel.  

As I wrote this story, I incorporated Cape Verdean values, traditions, and beliefs within the story line.  These values, traditions, and beliefs are based on my upbringing.  Within the story are experiences that I had lived through or heard of while growing up.  The character names are fictitious, but they are based on real people in my life.    

My hope for writing this story is to provide some diversity in the novels we read.  I want to provide a different point of view to love and relationships.  My target audience is anyone over the age of fifteen.  The novel is a clean romance and doesn’t contain any sexual content.  My hope is to influence young adults and adults to stay true to themselves, hold on to their values and self-worth even when faced with pressure from others, such as boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, peers…  

My novel, The Forbidden Love Affair, is the first book in a 2-3 book series.  I’m currently in the cover design process for the second book, The Regrettable Decision.  This book is the continuation of the first book, where we follow the main characters, Zarayah and Zaire, and dive deeper into the complexities of their relationship.  Due to the ending of the first novel, I can’t provide too many details without giving the storyline away.  Nevertheless, I’m very excited to be releasing the second book around April of 2023.  I can’t wait for you all to read it.  Thank you.


  1. Henrique Mendes

    Love, love the book and was so real for me being a Cape Verdean American !!

  2. Von

    Loved your first book. Excited about second book coming out. I am of African and Native American descent. I can relate to lack of diversity in this country. Loved reading from early childhood to the present. Used to read dictionaries , encyclopedias and medical books. Being a nurse and dedicated to my profession, I put off writing for years. After reading your book I am inspired to start writing someday. Loved the short chapters and easy read. Best wishes for future works.


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