I’m delighted to be welcoming award winning author Hannah Fielding as part of her blog tour. Legacy is the conclusion of epic love story, Andalucían Nights trilogy (although can be read as a stand alone). Hannah is chatting about her characters, the research she undertook and sharing some of her personal processes. I hope you enjoy finding out more.
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, 1970; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in turn-of-the-millennium Italy; and books 1 and 2 of the Andalucian Nights trilogy, set in sultry Spain, entitled Indiscretion and Masquerade.
Connect with Hannah Fielding
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
Please summarise Legacy in 20 words or less.
Love, intrigue and redemption under the scorching Spanish sun… can love survive family legacies of feuding and tragedy, and rise like the phoenix from the ashes of the past?
Please tell us about the characters in your book.
Luna is a strong, independent, intelligent young woman with an enquiring mind: she is a journalist for a scientific journal. With an American father, she has grown up in the US, but she is half-Spanish; her mother left her when she was a child and returned to Andalucía. When Luna’s boss sends her on an undercover assignment, to investigate a doctor in Cadiz, Luna is understandably curious about her Spanish roots – but also hesitant to explore them; can she really belong with these passionate, fiery people? For Luna, Legacy will be a journey of self-discovery – and liberation.
Dr Rodrigo de Rueda Calderon, Ruy for short, is a bright, ambitious and innovative oncology specialist who confidently assimilates the two sides of his heritage: that of a noble family of Andalucía and that of the gypsies. He has a devilish sense of humour, a smouldering sexuality and an ardent belief in fate that quickly leads him to believe that he and Luna are meant for each other. Convincing Luna of the fact, however, will not be easy – and will he continue to believe in destiny when he discovers Luna is secretly writing an exposé of his life’s work?
What scene did you most enjoy writing Hannah? Why?
I always love writing the scene in which the hero and heroine first meet. In that moment there is so much emotion and chemistry; the coupe de foudre (thunderbolt; i.e. love at first sight) is what romance is all about.
In Legacy, Luna first sets eyes on Ruy in a city far from home, Barcelona, in a bar she has stumbled upon while exploring. Drawn in by the flamenco music, she stands in the busy tavern, feeling uncertain and out of place, and is about to leave when:
And then it happened … their eyes met across the room and held for a long moment. The effect was electric and hit Luna like a bolt of lightning. His gaze, fringed by long black lashes, burned with a fire that scorched her as it moved slowly and deliberately over her face, then her body, with frank admiration, as if drinking in her every feature. Though she could not see the exact colour of his eyes at this distance, she knew they were paler than his tanned complexion – brilliant and alive with passion.
The man before her was mesmerizing in his perfect male beauty. His bold, open stare should have made her want to turn and run but something more powerful than she had ever experienced, a shot of pure adrenaline in her blood, had her rooted to the spot.
In that split second of silent meeting, Luna’s heart seemed to turn over in her breast and her pulse accelerated to a wild beat.
From there, Luna is compelled to find a seat and watch the gypsy perform. At this first meeting, not a single word is exchanged between the two. Luna and Ruy are simply two anonymous strangers whose paths have crossed. I wanted to give them this chance to connect, to be individuals displaced from their pasts and their families, before bringing them to Andalucía, where they become entangled by tortuous family legacies that thwart and complicate their love.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be?
Without doubt, it would be Polonius’s advice to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘This above all: to thine own self be true.’ Whatever your history, whatever legacy you bear, what matters most is your own journey.
Did you do any research for Legacy?
Absolutely! I love the research phase of my writing, and try to immerse myself in the setting as far as possible. For my Andalucían Nights trilogy that meant watching Spanish movies, listening to Spanish music (especially flamenco music), reading up on Andalusian culture, history and legends, cooking the cuisine and sampling the drinks, and – best of all – visiting some of the key locations in the book. I especially loved exploring the pueblos blancos of Andalucía (little villages of white-washed houses in the hills), and the cities of Granada and Cadiz.
People often have a most creative time of day.
Is there a part of the day that works best for you Hannah?
The morning is my most productive time. I get up early, have a light breakfast and a herbal tea, and then get straight to work on my current novel. I try to write fairly solidly until lunch, and then I take a break. In my home in Kent, I write in a wood-panelled room, surrounded by books – we call it the library. In France, I write overlooking the most fabulous view of the Mediterranean from a large picture window in my bedroom, or if it is not too hot, outside in our gazebo. In terms of creativity, I do most of my daydreaming and inspiration-hunting in the late afternoon, when I take a walk in the woods or on the beach.
Panster or a plotter?
I am a thorough planner. Having researched my facts thoroughly, I plan my novel down to the smallest detail. Planning ahead, I have found, makes the writing so much easier and therefore so much more enjoyable. I use my plan as a map. I never set out on a long journey by car without a map, and the same applies to my writing. By the time I write the first paragraph, I know the story, the characters, the setting, the mood – everything.
Can you share with us what you’re currently working on?
Next summer will see the release of Aphrodite’s Tears, an intriguing and exciting romance inspired by Greek mythology set on the Greek Islands.
I have also written a dark story of love and revenge set in Luxor, Egypt, the land of my birth, a world of deeply ingrained customs and traditions, interesting though often cruel.
After that, my readers can look forward to a love story that tackles contemporary women’s problems and is set on the French Riviera and by beautiful Lake Como.
Now I am working on a dark romance set in the beautiful setting of Ireland, the land of fairy tales and legends.
Finally, what has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
The joy of escaping into romantic worlds! I have been a romantic since childhood, when I loved nothing better than listening to enchanting fairy stories on the knee of my governess. Now, I quite literally live the dream – what a wonderful way to spend my time, lost in passionate, evocative love stories.
Perfect 🙂 Wishing you success with all your creative projects Hannah.
*Watch out for a guest review coming soon and in the meantime, read an excerpt on Hannah’s website.*
A troubled young journalist finds her loyalties tested when love and desire unearth dark secrets from the past.
Spring, 2010. When Luna Ward, a science journalist from New York, travels halfway across the world to work undercover at an alternative health clinic in Cadiz, her ordered life is thrown into turmoil.
The doctor she is to investigate, the controversial Rodrigo Rueda de Calderon, is not what she expected. With his wild gypsy looks and devilish sense of humour, he is intent upon drawing her to him. But how can she surrender to a passion that threatens all reason; and how could he ever learn to trust her when he discovers her true identity? Then Luna finds that Ruy is carrying a corrosive secret of his own…
Luna’s native Spanish blood begins to fire in this land of exotic legends, flamboyant gypsies and seductive flamenco guitars, as dazzling Cadiz weaves its own magic on her heart. Can Luna and Ruy’s love survive their families’ legacy of feuding and tragedy, and rise like the phoenix from the ashes of the past?
Legacy is a story of truth, dreams and desire. But in a world of secrets you need to be careful what you wish for…