Today’s guest is Hannah Fielding, author of Burning Embers. I had the pleasure of reading her book, and wanted to share my review first:
“Burning Embers is an evocative story, full of lush imagery, fascinating characters, and exotic locales. Hannah Fielding’s use of the English language is inspiring, her descriptions of Kenya are utterly mesmerizing, and could only have been written by one knows the subject first hand, which the author does. Her writing is vivid, compelling, magical.
“The story of Coral Sinclair and Rafe de Montfort is not the usual romantic tale. It’s an upmarket saga, full of mystery, twists, and turns as Coral seeks her just inheritance in a country in political upheaval and an expatriate English community. Coral is a strong, independent woman who knows her mind. A truly cinematic story.
“Hannah Fielding’s elegant prose drew me onto the story right away, and I was sad when it was over. I’m definitely looking for more from this author. Burning Embers is smart, sensual, contemporary fiction with a seamless five-star execution.” – Jan Moran
And now, let’s meet Hannah Fielding. Hannah, would you tell the reader a little about yourself?
I was born in Alexandria, Egypt, a city founded in the year 332 B.C. by order of Alexander the Great, a Greek king of Macedonia. The rambling house I grew up in was built on a hill facing the Mediterranean, commanding the most breathtaking views of the ever-changing sea, with its glowing sunsets and romantic moonlit nights overlooking a scintillating ocean.
I went to a convent school, and after I graduated with a BA in French literature, my international nomadic years started. 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, we settled in a Georgian house in Kent where I brought up two children, while looking after horses and dogs and running my own business renovating rundown cottages.
My children have now flown the nest and 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 which overlooks the Mediterranean.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
It came to me one evening while we were having a campfire in the garden and I was watching the incandescent embers. The fire was by no means dead – it was just smouldering there quietly, giving out a strong glow from time to time like the passions of Coral and Rafe, my heroine and hero.
What inspired you to write this book?
Burning Embers began not as a story, but as a vivid landscape in my mind. The seed of the ideas 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 animals, magnificent dawns and sunsets exotic settings and colourful vistas. Add to that my journey to Kenya and it was impossible for me not to be inspired.
It was a brightly lit cruiser gliding on the Mediterranean by my window in France one night that set my heart racing and the scene for my opening chapter of Burning Embers was conceived. Fausto Papetti’s saxophone music created the ambiance for The Golden Fish, Rafe’s nightclub; Leconte de Lisle’s wonderful descriptive poems helped me dream up the romantic sunsets and paint the animals and the breathtaking scenery of Kenya in the novel.
I have had some of Leconte de Lisle’s beautiful poems translated. You can find them on my website at http://www.hannahfielding.net/?cat=7.
What made you decide to become a writer?
Stories and writing have always been part of my life. My father was a great raconteur and my governess used to tell the most fabulous fairy stories – I could listen to them for hours. When I was seven she and I came to an agreement: for every story she’d tell me I would invent one in return. That is how my passion for storytelling began.
At school I consistently received first prize for my essays and my teachers often read them aloud in class. As a teenager I used to write short romantic stories during lessons and circulate them in class, which made me very popular with my peers (but less so with the nuns!). In addition, since a young age I have kept some sort of a diary where I note my feelings, ideas and things that take my fancy (or not).
My grandmother was a published author of poetry and my father published a book about the history of our family, so writing runs in my veins. I guess I always knew that one day I would follow in those footsteps and forge my own path in that field – a subconscious dream which finally came true.
What can we expect in the future from you as an author? Are you working on any new books?
I have written a sizzling and sensual trilogy, a romance that is set in Andalucia, Spain, spanning a period that will take the reader from the 1950s to the present day. It is the passionate story of the de Falla family, some of which have roots in England, and their interaction with the gypsies. A tale of love, treachery, deceit and revenge, a rumbling volcano, set against the fierce and blazing Spanish land which is governed by savage passions and cruel rules.
I have also written a very romantic and touching love story set in Venice and Tuscany in 1979/1980. It opens with the Venice Carnival that has returned after a cessation of almost two centuries. It is a tale of lost but tender deep, ineffable love, dealing with its echoes and learning to love again.
I am now working on a trilogy set in Egypt, which will take my readers from 1945 to the present day, transporting them to a world of deep, ingrained customs and traditions, interesting though often cruel, and making them live through the various winds and storms that blew over this very ancient land.
Thanks Hannah! Check out Burning Embers on Amazon now.