Hannah Fielding is the author of classic, passionate romance novels set in exotic locations. Here, we get an insight into Hannah’s world, from dusky mistresses to the Côte d’Azur.
What inspired you to write your début novel, Burning Embers?
Burning Embers began not as a story, but as a vivid landscape in my mind. The seed of the idea was sown many years ago when, as a schoolgirl, I studied the works of Leconte de Lisle, a French Romantic poet of the 19th century. His poems are wonderfully descriptive and vivid – about wild animal, magnificent dawns and sunsets, exotic setting and colourful vistas. Then later on, I went on holiday to Kenya with my parents and I met our family friend Mr Chiumbo Wangai who often used to visit us. He was a great raconteur and told me extensively about his beautiful country, its traditions and its customs. I was enthralled, and when I put pen to paper Burning Embers came to life. I have had some of Leconte de Lisle’s beautiful poems translated into English by a friend, Mr John Harding. You can find them on my website at http://www.hannahfielding.net/?cat=7.
Who is your favourite character in Burning Embers?
It would be too easy for me to choose Rafe, my Alpha man hero, who in my eyes represents the perfect man par excellence. But I feel a strong pull to a secondary character, Morgana, the dusky Middle Eastern dancer and Rafe’s mistress. A beautiful and passionate woman, she guards her love for Rafe with the fire of a lioness defending her cubs. As long as she thinks that there is hope to keep her man she will fight for her love, all claws out. She is sensitive and proud, and as soon as she realises that Rafe’s happiness is with another woman, she discreetly relinquishes her place and melts away into the background. That’s what I call selfless love!
Your descriptions are very visual: do you travel to the locations that you write about?
Yes I do. I like to get a feel of the place where my romance novel is set. I need to experience its weather, view its countryside, mingle with its people and try its exclusive cuisine. Every facet of a country helps me to form the setting of a film in my mind where I can place my characters, knowing that their experience will be genuine and that my story will come from the heart.
Burning Embers is your début novel. Tell us about your others…
I have already written a trilogy that takes place in Andalucia, Spain. The story spans three generations of a Spanish/English family from 1950 to the present day. At the moment I am writing a romantic story set in Venice and Tuscany, Italy, in 1980. All my novels are highly descriptive and very passionate.
You live part of the year in Kent, England, and part on the Côte d’Azur in the south of France – which do you prefer?
Each has its charms, its advantages and its disadvantages:
I love Ste Maxime because of its wonderful warm weather, the brilliant colours of its vegetation, the Mediterranean sea (of course since I grew up in Alexandria), its golden sandy beach, its fresh fruit and vegetables, the variety of the local fish you find at the open air market place. For me Ste Maxime spells sun, blue skies, a swim in the sea, lazing under an umbrella on the beach with a book and a picnic. Heaven in spring, but Hell in the summer when tourists arrive en masse and with them long queues at the market, endless traffic jams and the heat – real heat: Hell!
I love my house in Kent because it’s my home; the place I always return to, where my children grew up and where I have spent my happiest years. In summer the weather is warm, just as I like it, and the garden with its orchard and its giant beech trees is a picture postcard. The autumn and winter months have their own charm. There is no better feeling than snuggling in an armchair in front of a log fire with a book. The downside? The endless dreary grey days and the drizzle which by the spring make me want to get away.
For photographs of my favourite places, visit my website: http://www.hannahfielding.net/?page_id=16.
Hannah Fielding’s novel Burning Embers is a contemporary historical romance novel set in 1970s Kenya. It tells the story of the developing love and passion between Coral, a naive, young English girl returning to the place of her birth, and Rafe, the handsome but tortured womaniser to whom Coral is inextricably drawn. It’s a story of long, hot African days and sultry nights; of slumbering beasts and awakening desires; of intrigue and darkness; of journeys beginning and ending; of growing up and letting go; of falling in love, and following your heart.
Burning Embers is published by Omnific Publishing. It is available to order from your local book store, and to buy online in print and ebook format from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.co.uk and Foyles.