Guest Post: The Armchair Explorer by Hannah Fielding


The armchair explorer

My favourite aspect of reading is its ability to transport you to another world. You can be sitting comfortably in an armchair at home, but simultaneously on a mountaintop or in an ocean or in a bustling city. The result is fabulous escapism coupled with a means of learning through exploration of another time and place.

From an early age I was an armchair explorer – as soon as my parents introduced me to reading, I was hooked. I devoured books set in all kinds of places and times; I travelled from my home in Egypt all over the world.

These journeys were of immense comfort and pleasure for me as I grew up, and began to develop a wanderlust. My best friends, sisters Colette and Miguèle, had left Egypt to live in Africa, and their weekly letters depicted another world – exciting, colourful, wild. And each year my father, who was in cotton, held a meeting attended by spinners from all over the world – Italians, Spaniards, Frenchmen – and these handsome men would tell me fascinating stories of their homelands. I dreamt of seeing the world for myself, yet my family could not travel due to the political situation in Egypt, so I had to content myself instead with books, many books.

Then finally, after I graduated from university, the restrictions on travel were lifted, and I spread my wings and flew free, to the experiences of peoples and cultures and places that have made me the writer I am today. Indeed, countries have been my main source of inspiration. For me every country I visit is a new and exciting setting for the plot of a novel. I draw on the richness of its people, its sceneries and all it has to offer in the way of cuisine, language and customs to create fabulous places where my characters can meet and fall in love.

When I write, I always have in mind the armchair explorer. I endeavour to create a strong sense of place, so that readers can experience interesting and beautiful places to which they may not have travelled, from the canals of Venice to the savannahs of Kenya, the dazzling shores at Cadiz to the ancient palace at Alhambra, Granada. The beauty of writing with such a strong sense of setting is that I am able to revisit in my memory places I have loved and share them with others, and of course there is no shortage of inspiration. Best of all, I now have the perfect excuse to travel often!


Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Introducing… Hannah Fielding

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 passionate, evocative novels: Burning Embers, a ‘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 books 1 and 2 of the Andalusian Nights trilogy, set in sultry Spain, entitled Indiscretion and Masquerade. She is currently working on her fifth book, Legacy, which will publish this spring.

February Fiesta artwork

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