Saudi Arabia: Interview with Romance Novelist, Kat Canfield

It is a pleasure for American Bedu to interview one of the followers of the American Bedu blog.  With this interview, readers learn more about Kat Canfield and why she has an interest in Saudi Arabia!

kat canfield


Firstly Kat, thank you, for the opportunity to interview you and share about yourself and your background with readers.

I am honored to have you interview me.

Let’s start with some details about you!  Where are you originally from?  Where do you live now?  How long have you been following the American Bedu blog?

I grew up in Ohio, in Amish country. I moved to Florida after we had a blizzard and the temperature on the thermometer was -32 degrees F! For me, even hurricanes were better than that and I lived through several of them.

I lived in Florida for 25 years before moving to Tennessee with my husband.

I found American Bedu while researching for my book. It has been helpful to learn and understand a very different culture.

Please share your background with readers.  How did you end up in law enforcement as your first career?  At what age or what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a police officer?

Law Enforcement found me I think. I had many people who thought I would be good in that field and encouraged me from high school on but I didn’t listen. I worked in Agriculture in Ohio and several businesses when I moved to Fl. Nothing fulfilled me or was I good at. Finally, I decided to prove everyone wrong that I didn’t have what it takes to be a police officer. Well, I proved to myself I really was!! I was thirty one years old and could beat the barely twenties in physical activities, the shooting range, martial arts, etc. I gained respect from my instructors when I could ‘fall down and give me 100’ (yes, pushups, the full military ones). Sorry, I have to brag on that, as several of the male instructors did not think women should be involved in police work, as it took a man. One of those instructors took me aside just before graduation and told me I had changed his mind about women in police work. It was then I realized I could be a role model for other women which is another reason I want to tell your readers about it. I think the American Bedu Blog helps empower the women in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world who are oppressed. I am all for helping women find their value in the world.

I must also relate this as it has to do with empowering women. I was married briefly in Ohio. I was a battered wife. I got the courage to leave in a time when it was socially unacceptable to do so. Thank God, the laws have change greatly in this area. As a police officer I could help abused women and children get help.

What were some of your most memorable moments when you were on the force?

I have so many memorable moments!! First I must say, read the book as several of them are in there, just the names, and some circumstances are changed to protect identities.

But my most favorite moment is this. I worked as a mounted police officer for eight of my years in police work. Horses are still my first love. One day I was working in the park when a woman and child approached me. The woman asked if her little boy, about seven, could pet the horse. This was a normal thing that happened in the course of the day. The boy was petting the horse and talking to it. I was trying to understand what he was saying to the horse so I asked his mother what he was saying. She was crying! Now I was worried. I asked her what was wrong. She told me her son was autistic and had never spoke a word to anyone before that moment. Now I was crying. The horse had opened up a door for that child. The police horse did that in a lot of instances and is a tool more police departments should utilize.

Did you ever encounter any Saudis while you were an active law enforcement officer?  If so, please share as you are able.

I met many people from everywhere when I lived in Florida. I met Arabs from everywhere in the Middle East. I found them pleasurable and respectful. I probably met more Pakistanis than Saudi. Because all that I knew where very nice people I found it hard to believe so many of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. I did not want to believe it. We have to remember that a few bad apples does not mean the whole bunch is bad.

You are also a multi-faceted individual.  At what age did you begin to have an interest in writing?

I started writing when I was a child. In high school and college I wrote for the school newspapers and was editor my senior year. I wrote feature articles for the local newspaper and authored many short stories. I just never thought it was that good so didn’t pursue it. However, as a police officer, I had to write, lots and lots or reports. Some of those were short but on more difficult cases they were very long and detailed. I think I improved my skills by writing all those reports! Plus, it gave me experience that found its way into my novels.

What gave you the idea to write a novel about Saudi Arabia?

Well, if you believe in the Ginn or spirits of the desert, it could be said one of them spoke to me. I tried several ideas but this one just felt right so I went with it.

When did you start to have an interest in Saudi Arabia and why?

The book, Arabian Nights. I love that book. I also love Arabian horses, I have owned and ridden them. And then there is Lawrence of Arabia. The country just has a natural romance to it. Every book I have ever read that had something about Saudi Arabia in it is fascinating. If you want to write a romance novel, why not have a character that is from Arabia?

Have you ever traveled to Saudi Arabia and/or personally know some Saudis?  How did you obtain your material about Saudi Arabia for your book?

I have traveled there only in pictures and via the internet. I want to go there very much. I did a lot of research on the country and customs through the internet. I found yours and other blogs about the country that gave me ideas. You actually helped me find books about Saudis that I read like Princess, A True Story of Life Behind the Veil, by Jean Sasson and Ted Dekkers book, Blink of an Eye.

only love twice bookcover

Can you give American Bedu’s a brief synopsis about your first novel, ‘Only Love Twice?’

It is my fantasy. A story of fifty plus year olds. It is Cinderella and her Prince Charming. In this one Prince Charming is a Saudi and Cinderella is American. And if that isn’t enough to keep them apart, he is Muslim and she is a Messianic Jew. I like to use a line from Michael Crichton’s book Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way” to describe it. In this story, Love finds a way.

Did you find it easy or difficult to write a romance novel featuring an American and a Saudi?

I wrote from the heart. (That Ginn again) The man is Saudi but raised in the western world so is not as ‘Muslim’ as the Muslims would like. I took what I learned about Saudi culture to compare the two cultures. I wanted more than just a romance, I wanted to show everyone that two cultures could learn to get along together despite the differences and even learn to love.

What has been the reaction of Saudi’s to your book, ‘Only Love Twice,’ which features a romance between an American Jewish woman and a Saudi man?

I really would like feedback from Saudi readers about the book. I have not to date had any reviews from them. My friends and family that have read it really liked it and asked how I got the idea and how I got the knowledge of the different culture.

How can American Bedu readers obtain their own copy of ‘Only Love Twice?’

The book is available at, and my website,

American Bedu has had the honor of reading ‘Only Love Twice’ and was captivated.  However, I must ask you, is it simply a coincidence that the featured female character resembles you?  After all, she is also a retired police officer and fond of horses.

Great question! It is my fantasy after all. But really, I just found it easier to use some of my experiences to give Madison a personality. Also, many of my friends have asked me to write about my experiences as a police officer. So this was a way to include those stories and weave them as threads in the story. And who is the personality of Saleem? He is the best of every man I know.

Do you have another book in the works about Saudi Arabia?  If so, what can you share?

I am writing a sequel. In it they travel to England and Saudi Arabia. In it there will be more of the differences of cultures and discussions about child brides, arranged marriages, and letting Saudi women drive. I borrowed the visual of one of Susie’s abayas, (Blue Abaya Blog) the one with the hand painted peacock feather on it for several scenes where Madison wears an abaya. (I hope that was ok, Susie?)

I have another completely different characters book working but have not decided if the male character will be Muslim or from a Muslim country. For some reason I find them easier to write about (Must be that Ginn again).

When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I spent two months this winter in Florida training with my instructor and my horse in the pursuit of better dressage; what I called Dressage Boot Camp. I also walk every day, I am up to 6 miles a day which I can do in an hour and 20 minutes, so I move out. If I am not walking or riding I am on the computer reading or writing.

What personal message would you like to convey to the thousands of followers who read American Bedu daily?

Keep an open mind. Listen to the views of others, express your views in a respectful way. I have found other views to be insightful and actually changed my opinion on some things.

Kat, thank you again for the interview.  I wish you all the success with ‘Only Love Twice’ and all future books.

Thank you, Carol, and wish you well and pray for you every day. You are an inspiration!

Saudi Arabia: A Direct Route to Making or Breaking Friendships



Few details have emerged about a recent case of marriage but the details that are known are enough to raise eyebrows.  A Saudi teacher told the man who proposed marriage to her she would only accept his proposal if her married two of her colleagues (and friends) at the same time.

The prospective groom was initially taken aback and seemed inclined to reject her conditions.  But under pressure from relatives and friends, he acquiesced and married all three women .

After the marriage, he ensconced each bride in her own apartment within the same apartment building, allowing easy access to each other.

Polygamy is allowed within Islam and under certain conditions set out in the Quran, a man may have up to four wives.

However, in spite of being good friends, I wonder at the wisdom of three young women living in close proximity to one another and also working at the same facility while sharing the same husband is really a good idea.  No matter how hard a man may try to be equal to all women in reality this rarely works.  Even the Quran states how difficult it is for a man to be equal in time and feelings let alone material provisions when he has more than one wife.

In this case, I believe I feel sorry for the man and think the three female friends made a huge mistake in all marrying the same man.  I see these conditions as prime for deteriorating the existing friendships between the women.

Saudi Arabia: Which One is the Wronged Party?

deserted by bride

A young Saudi bridegroom had demonstrated good luck in the currency trading market.  Before he knew it, he had amassed a significant amount of money and had also bought a large house.  Newly wealthy and believing he was stable, it was time for him to marry.  He did not have any difficulties in finding a Saudi woman agreeing to be his wife.

They had a lovely wedding.  However, after the wedding ceremony and with anticipations of the wedding night and bright future ahead for the newly married couple, the husband wanted his wife to know about a recent change in his circumstances.

Lured by greed, he decided he would make one more investment just prior to his wedding.  He wanted to receive the maximum possible return so he chose to invest his entire fortune into the market even though he was strongly discouraged by investment counselors to do so.  Unfortunately, rather than receive the return of his dreams, instead he lost not only his monetary fortune but his house, too.

On hearing this news, the wife left him and has filed for divorce.  The new groom ended up in the hospital due to shock at this drastic turn of events.

This situation highlights the increased trend of divorce in Saudi Arabia as well as the need for investors, young or old, to either follow the advice of investment counselors or insure that they understand well data and risk management.

American Bedu has another question for consideration which she poses to readers.  Which of the two is really the wronged party?  The groom because his new wife chose to leave and divorce him so easily or the wife because of her husband’s foolhardy investment?

Saudi Arabia/USA: The Story of the Orange Couch

I have not written recently about some of the memories made with my late husband, Abdullah.  I think this one may bring a smile or perhaps even a chuckle to some American Bedu readers.

What color is this couch?  Please, before scrolling on and reading more, go ahead and type your guess in comments.

orange couch

In case you have not typed your guess yet in comments, I’m giving you another chance to guess before I tell the complete story behind this couch.

orange couch

Okay….did you type your guess?  I hope so for now here is … the rest of the story!

my desert boy

I was still in India when Abdullah Al-Ajroush called to tell me he bought us a couch. I was excited and asked him what style and color. He responded that it was a casual couch from Ikea. Okay, I thought. That sounds good but what color is it? “Orange.” He told me. I kind of squealed back “orange” and then there was a pregnant pause in the conversation. He comes back with the response, “well it is kind of orange but not really orange. It just has a little bit of an orange tint to it.” Well, I came back from India and we agreed to disagree on the true color of the ‘not really orange’ couch. That was also when we took this picture so that we would always remember this conversation. Ahhhh, that’s part of what made me so love Abdullah.

Saudi Arabia/Australia: Insights on Polygamy


Polygamy in Saudi Arabia takes place more among older men who are already established and in better financial circumstances to take on additional wives.  The rising youth in Saudi Arabia overall state they are not in favor of polygamy.  I guess ultimately time will tell on their part whether they remain true to their present feelings or change their minds.

Rarely is polygamy followed as advised in the Quran where a man is to be just and fair with all his wives.  In most cases the Saudi man seems to have a mid-life crisis when he reaches his 40’s or 50’s and at that time decides to secretly take another wife whether she be foreign or a Saudi national.  I say secretly for the first wife (and any other existing wives) are generally the last to know when a Saudi man takes another wife.

However, there will be clues that the wife can pick up on.  The husband will not be home as often.  The household income may change with unexplained cuts in the budget.  He will be more secretive when he is on his cell phone or may text more often.  Eventually the wife will realize that the life as she knew it with her Saudi husband has changed.

Polygamy is not limited to Saudi Arabia.  It exists in every country in the world, legally or illegally.  The Australian program, Insight, featured a special on Polygamy in Australia.  Although somewhat lengthy, the video is mesmerizing, especially when seeing and hearing the testimony of two sisters who share the same husband.

Saudi Arabia: Why Won’t Saudi Men Use Protection?

use a condom

There has been greater global coverage in the press and on different blogs and other social media about Saudi men getting a foreign woman pregnant and then abandoning her and the child.  The fact that so many young Saudi men are unwilling and not ready to be fathers makes me wonder why they (obviously) chose not to use protection such as a condom?

I know from my own experiences in Saudi Arabia that there is little to no sex education taught in the schools or Universities.  Most young Saudis learn sex education from friends or trusted family members and exactly what or how much they learn is debatable.

Additionally, growing up in a gender segregated environment does have an impact that Saudi youth will have many curious and arousing thoughts about the opposite sex.  The lack of contact seems to magnify the allure and temptations.

Therefore, when the young Saudi man has the opportunity to travel outside of the Kingdom whether for schooling, business or pleasure, many take the opportunity to engage in sexual relations.  Once they find themselves in a  more open society without segregation it is not difficult for them to find a woman to charm and engage in an intimate relationship.

Sadly, most of them are probably thinking of only the self-gratification and not the fact that a sexual encounter can have long lasting implications such as a pregnancy.  It probably does not occur to them either that engaging in relations with an individual also poses the risk of a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Why does a Saudi man choose not to use a condom as a protection for himself and for the prevention of an unwanted pregnancy?  Because Islam promotes and encourages large families, a Saudi man probably does not think about a condom.  If anyone is going to take care of birth control, it is usually the woman.  In private discussions with either women or Saudi men, the most common phrase on why the man does not use a condom is that “he wants the encounter to feel natural.”  Others have stated that using a condom is too confining or just an annoyance.

It seems that the Saudi man most likely to use a condom when having intimate relations is the man who chooses to use the services of a prostitute.  Additionally, some married Saudi couples have chosen the condom as a birth control mechanism.  However, the single Saudi male who wishes to have intimate relations is the most likely not to use a condom or seem to think about consequences by not taking appropriate protection to avoid an unwanted pregnancy or STD.

Saudi Arabia: What’s Up with the American Bedu Documentary?

ab documentary

Anyone who has been involved in the film industry knows that it takes time to produce a quality film.  I’m pleased to advise readers that the American Bedu documentary film has been cut.  All filming and taping are completed.  Shortly it will be sent to the Central Intelligence Agency for approval.  Once that official approval has been obtained, the documentary will then be entered into film festivals.  Additionally, readers who contributed US$100 or more towards the making of the documentary will receive a copy of the documentary at that time.

The American Bedu documentary will take viewers through my life, starting at the time of my birth and ending in present day.  The documentary will enlighten viewers on how and why I decided to embark on a career with the Central Intelligence Agency and the internal struggle I had to decide to choose love over career.  Viewers will understand what drew me to give up a highly successful career for love to a man from Saudi Arabia.  The documentary highlights the fun and challenges of a bicultural marriage, adapting to Saudi Arabia and the great importance of bridge building between differing people, faiths and cultures.  There is much in the documentary film that American Bedu has never revealed in a post on her blog.

I believe the documentary will make viewers laugh out loud, cry and be mesmerized as they see and hear some of the highlights and low points of my life.  Any viewer after watching the documentary will know American Bedu and her passions as well as she knows them herself.


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