Interview & Giveaway with Hannah Fielding

NRR: Hello Hannah! Thanks for taking the time to join us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

 I grew up in a rambling house overlooking the Mediterranean in Alexandria, Egypt. I was brought up to speak three languages: French with my half-French and half-Italian governess, English with my parents and Arabic with the staff.

I went to a French convent school, Notre Dame de Sion, and then I graduated with a BA in French literature from Alexandria University.

I have always had a very vivid imagination, and from the age of seven my governess taught me how to stimulate it, nurturing in me the love of telling stories: for each story she told me, I would tell her one in return.

After graduation my nomadic years began. I lived mainly in Switzerland, France, and England, and holidayed in other Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and Spain. After falling in love with my husband, I settled in Kent and I set up my own business renovating rundown cottages while bringing up my two children.

Once my business was flourishing, and my children had flown from the nest, I created room in my life for doing what I loved most – writing. I have always had a passion for books and creating stories. At school I used to write short romantic stories, which I circulated in class. From an early age I have kept a notebook and pen in my bag and next to my bed to jot down descriptions and impressions – a sort of a diary with a difference.

Now my husband and I spend half our time in our Georgian rectory in Kent, and the rest in our home in the South of France, where I write overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

NRR: Burning Embers has been receiving very positive reviews. What are your top three reasons for writing this story?

 Burning Embers began not as a story, but as a vivid landscape in my mind. The seed of the ideas was sown many nears 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 animals, magnificent dawns and sunsets, exotic settings 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 tribes, its traditions and its customs. I was enthralled, and when I put pen to paper Burning Embers came to life. Burning Embers had to be written; there was too much about the place and its people that I felt passionate about.

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.

NRR: What is your most important part of your writing process?

 The most important part of my writing process is without doubt my research. Not only do I try to visit the places I write about, but I use every research tool that our modern world offers. Books, internet, and documentaries – anything that I can get my hands on which will help me 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.

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

Antiquing. I love rummaging in dark shops in back lanes and flea markets looking for unusual items to add to my collection of glassware, Chinese porcelain and Japanese sculptures. It was my father who gave me the taste for collecting beautiful things. He was a great collector and connoisseur of Chinese porcelain and Persian rugs, and he used to take me around with him to the flea market in Alexandria and to auctions. It’s an exciting day when I spot an unusual item that I think may be a rare ‘objet d’art’ I can add to my collections.

NRR: What do you think are the most unique things about Coral and Rafe’s characters?

 Coral is unique in that at twenty-five, and despite the sexual revolution that took place in the sixties, she is still emotionally immature. It is essentially this combination of innocence and sophistication in other areas – like in her job for instance – that attracts Rafe to her and holds his attention. She is intelligent and sensitive enough to realise when it is time for her to grow up and put aside her childish ways. Her love for Rafe teaches her to control her fiery impulsive nature, to start giving, and to trust.

Rafe’s vulnerability and compassion that Coral perceives despite his notorious reputation makes him unique. He is a passionate man with a strong sense of right and wrong – though he is very much in love with Coral and desires her more than anything, nevertheless he fights to keep his feelings in check; and when she offers herself to him, he finds a way of giving her pleasure without totally robbing her of her innocence. It is just this combination of strength and vulnerability that is irresistible and goes straight to a woman’s heart.

NRR: What is one word you would use to describe Burning Embers?


The romance of Kenya’s countryside with its wonderful vistas, its amazing dawns and sunsets, its colourful flora, it fabulous animals and its beautiful people, which is so breathtaking it enchants you.

The passionate romance that evolves between Rafe and Coral and the trials and tribulations that they must fight and survive to deserve their happy-ever-after; a story that grips your heart as you follow them through a tortuous path wrought with jealousy, lies and revenge.

NRR: Any authors that help inspire your career?

I am the third generation of authors in our family. My grandmother was a poet: The Virgin Heart by Esther Fahmy Wissa at www.amazon.com, and a feminist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ester_Fanous. I had great admiration for her and wanted to emulate her.

My father, who was a great raconteur, wrote a book about our family: Assiout: The Saga of an Egyptian Family by Hanna Fahmy Wissa at www.amazon.com, and he always encouraged me to write. He used to read the short stories I wrote as a teenager and he often told me that one day I’d be published. I wish he was alive to see that I have fulfilled my dream of becoming an author.

Though my governess was not a published author, she used to tell the most beautiful fairy stories. She was the first one who taught me how to maximise my imagination and she helped me develop the art of weaving a good tale.

NRR: What is next in the works for you?

 I have written a passionate, fiery trilogy that takes place in Andalucia, Spain, and spans three generations of a Spanish/English family, from 1950 to the present day. At the moment I am in the process of writing a romantic novel set in Venice and Tuscany, Italy, in 1979/1980. It opens with the Venice Carnival that has returned after a cessation of almost two centuries.

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1 comment :

  1. You have lived in so many exciting places and I can see why the landscape is what inspired you about the story. This story and the trilogy you have written appeals to me.


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