I am delighted to welcome the lovely Hannah Fielding to my blog today. Hannah’s latest novel, Masquerade, was released on the 6th August 2015 and is book number two in The Andalucian Nights Trilogy (you can get hold of your copy here). Hannah shares her tips of overcoming writers block, reveals her favourite thing about writing romance and gives us the lowdown on The Andalucian Nights trilogy…
Hi Hannah, welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! I’m thrilled to have you on the site, thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
I was born in Alexandria, Egypt, a city founded in the year 332 BC 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.
I met Nicholas, my husband, in London at a drinks party: it was love at first sight, just like in the romance books that were my constant companions. We settled in a Georgian house in Kent where I brought up two children, Christian and Alexandra, 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.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel, Masquerade (released 6th August 2015 with London Wall Publishing)?
Summer,1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo.
Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro – but almost the gypsy’s double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover.
Luz must decide what she truly desire as glistening Cádiz, with its enigmatic moon and whispering turquoise shores, seeps back into her blood. Why is she so drawn to the wild and magical sea gypsies? What is behind the old fortune-teller’s sinister warning about ‘Gemini’? Through this maze of secrets and lies, will Luz finally find her happiness… or her ruin?
Spain – and Andalusía in particular – is a land of flamboyance and drama. The weather also reflects this exuberance: all year azure skies, dazzling sunshine and sweetly fragranced gardens… colour, romance, emotion. The people are intense; their culture, their music, their traditions personify passion and fire. Where better to set a family saga that spans three generations, from 1950 to the present day?
My romance novel Indiscretion is set in the 1950s. General Franco’s regime was in full swing in Spain. The book poses a question: Can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away? Alexandra feels torn between her two heritages, her two families, and two different ways of life. Her attempt to reconcile these is one of the main themes of my novel.
Masquerade is set in the second half of the seventies. Franco is dead and the nation is reborn. Spain has opened its borders to outsiders and is preparing to enter what is now the European Union. Luz, Alexandra’s daughter and the heroine of Masquerade, has a much more emancipated attitude to life. Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust, and it poses a different question: Are appearances always deceptive?
In Legacy, the final (forthcoming) book, the story takes place in the present day and Spain has changed out of all recognition. It is a much more liberal country. However, the problems the hero and heroine have to face, the hurdles they must overcome, are of a more complex nature and are almost more challenging.
My Andalucian Nights Trilogy is a journey through Spain’s different historical periods and focuses on how my heroes and heroines confront the issues facing their respective generations – that is what I found fascinating to write.
Where did you find your inspiration from when writing Masquerade?
The hero Leandro was a face in a crowd of gypsies on a beach in France that triggered my imagination and was the muse for this story. He was in my mind throughout the writing; if only he knew how he had haunted and inspired me!
How long did Masquerade take you to write?
Like all my other books, Masquerade took me nine months to write from the moment I began my research to the time I wrote the word END at the bottom of the last page… It’s a bit like having a baby!
What’s your favourite thing about writing romance?
Writing romance is my way of escaping to a land of my choice whenever I want; of living a new love story with every book I write; of meeting new people that my imagination can shape in a way that suits me; and of course it gives me a wonderful excuse to physically travel to romantic places in which I set my plots.
You’ve had a fascinating life, growing up in Egypt and travelling in Europe. Do you have a favourite country that you’ve visited in your lifetime so far?
The countries I favour most in the Mediterranean – Italy, Spain and Greece – because of their fascinating culture with which I can identify, their beautiful weather, the warmth of their people and the richness of their cuisine.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so how did you overcome it?
One of my favourite quotes about writer’s block is this: “Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: ‘Fool!’ said my muse to me, ‘look in thy heart, and write.’”
― Sir Philip Sidney
I have two ways of dealing with writer’s block.
The first one is patience. If you sit there in front of a blank page – and I’ve done that, sometimes for as much as a couple of hours – the muse eventually takes pity on you and visits.
The second one is to get into my car and drive to a place that has inspired me in the past. That also usually works. It might be a garden overlooking the sea, a meadow carpeted with wildflowers if I’m searching for a setting for a love scene, or a cafe bustling with people where I can find the description for one of my characters.
A huge thank you to Hannah for participating in this interview. ♥
A young writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair, pulling her into a world of secrets, deception and dark desire.
Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo. Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro but almost the gypsy’s double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover.
Luz must decide what she truly desires as glistening Cádiz, with its enigmatic moon and whispering turquoise shores, seeps back into her blood. Why is she so drawn to the wild and magical sea gypsies? What is behind the old fortune-teller’s sinister warnings about ‘Gemini’? Through this maze of secrets and lies, will Luz finally find her happiness… or her ruin?
Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust. Are appearances always deceptive?
Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.
To date, Hannah has published four novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in Italy; and Indiscretion and Masquerade (from the Andalusian Nights Trilogy), her fieriest novels yet. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, Legacy, the final title in the trilogy, which is due to be published in spring 2016.