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My latest blog posts

The serendipitous book discovery

‘Finding a book that speaks to you feels like finding treasure. There’s a magic to it – a spark of energy when you realise the book in your hand is one you’re going to read…’

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The perils of fairy-tale romance

‘As a child, I longed for the world to be only sunshine and rainbows and happy-ever-afters. As an adult, I understand that real romance is multi-faceted, and there is a danger in indulging in fantasy…’

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Bibliotherapy: books to heal the soul

‘Studies have shown that bibliotherapy is especially powerful for alleviating anxiety and depression, which makes reading so important for us all right now as we are trapped in a bubble of worry, fear and isolation. Reading is an act of self-love; it is a way to make yourself feel better…’

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8 reasons to read a romance novel today

‘The best romances offer an opportunity for readers to learn about something new, such as an interesting occupation or a place. In my own romances, I take readers to fascinating locations around the world, like Lake Como and Venice and Cadiz, so that my books are like a passport to travel from the comfort of your own home…’

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Duende: the artistic flamenco spirit

Have you heard of the term duende? The Oxford English Dictionary defines duende as ‘a quality of passion and inspiration’. The word is used to describe a state of heightened emotion, authenticity and expression, and it is commonly associated with flamenco. The soul in the singer’s cry, the feeling etched into the dancer’s face, the power in the guitarist’s playing – that is duende.

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Pannettone: a festive taste of Italy

The weeks leading up to Christmas find me baking up a storm in the kitchen, everything from Christmas cake and steamed figgy pudding to mince pies and gingerbread – and panettone; I love panettone.

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Books as art: the wonder of the pop-up

It’s Christmas Eve-Eve and I’ve finally finished wrapping all of my gifts. Many of them, it must be said, are decidedly book-shaped. Most of my friends and family are bibliophiles, like me, and so the bookstore is my first port of call.

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Sbrisolona: a sweet taste from my new novel

When I research the setting for a novel, I explore the location’s culture (music, theatre, dance and so on), its history, its economy, its legends and its cuisine. The latter is a real pleasure, because I love to cook, and this is the perfect reason to try out some new recipes in my kitchen.

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The ballet: A favourite Christmas tradition

When I was a child, the absolute highlight of my year was going to the theatre to watch a ballet.  I was fortunate enough to see world-class ballet companies like the Bolshoi and Leningrad perform, and I was completely enchanted.

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Love: a tale with two sides

Browse through the ‘romance’ shelves in a bookstore and you will find many, many books told entirely from the heroine’s perspective. This approach is very common in the romance genre, because generally these authors are writing about women for women.

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The blind hero: finding hope in adversity

I am writing this in darkness, but for a lamp by my desk. It is only four o’clock in the afternoon, but already in Ireland darkness has fallen. Everything feels different now the sun has set. I can make my home cosy with candles and lamps and firelight, but what if I could not? What if I were trapped in the darkness?

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Saint Nicholas Day traditions around the world

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Today is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, who lived in Myra, Asia Minor, from 270 to 342. He was a Christian bishop who is associated with various miracles, including the resurrection of children from death to life, which earned him the title Nicholas the Wonderworker. Nicholas was a kind and generous man, and he particularly enjoyed giving gifts secretly to those who needed them. Sound familiar? Saint Nicholas is, of course, the origin of our modern-day Father Christmas / Santa Claus.

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Love: a lightning bolt, or a gentle falling for each other?

My absolute favourite part to write in a novel is the hero and heroine’s first meeting. So much hinges on these first moments – both must feel intrigued, impressed, attracted. It has to feel like something fundamental shifts for them both; that nothing will ever be the same again. Plato wrote of soulmates, two halves of a whole, and said that if you are fortunate enough to meet your other half you will feel ‘intoxicated’. Thus the moment must be heady, exhilarating, intriguing. A coup de foudre as the French say: a bolt of lightning.

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The heroine with a secret

In my latest novel, Concerto, the heroine, Catriona, has built a good life for herself. She is a partner in a psychologists’ practice and has a reputation as an excellent music therapist. She lives in a beautiful home on the coast near Nice. She is a single mother and is raising her son, Michael, in love.

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The novels that shaped our world

Three hundred years ago, the first novel was published in English: Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. The book was an instant bestseller (within a year of its publication it was into its fourth edition), and evidently it had a profound effect on readers, sparking debate on cultural imperialism and inspiring a wealth of ‘marooned’ narratives.

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If you can’t follow your dream… change it

The hero and heroine of my novel Concerto are both very talented musicians. At the start of the novel, Umberto is in his early twenties and is taking the classical music world by storm as a great concert pianist and composer, and Catriona is in her teens and studying piano and singing. They are deeply passionate about their careers: Umberto is planning a tour of the United States, and Catriona wins a competition to study at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, which will make her the opera singer of her dreams.

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My latest blog posts

10 things I love about Andalusia

‘En la sangre hierve España sin fuego. (In Spain blood boils without fire.) This proverb says it all: Spanish is a land of deep passions, the perfect setting for fiery, dramatic romance…’

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Perfectly imperfect art

Recently, a memoir caught my eye. Published in February this year, Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chicceh Hindman is an account of her time playing the violin with a professional ensemble in New York City. Only she didn’t actually get to play the violin – none of the members of the

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Poems to lift a lonely heart

‘Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.’ So wrote French novelist Honoré de Balzac. For me, this quotation perfectly encapsulates the difficulty of our time in lockdown. We may appreciate the simpler, quieter life, but at the same time we ache to share the time with

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Healing through music: the power of music therapy

In my novel Concerto, the heroine, Catriona, is a music therapist who is hired to work with a client who is depressed. Umberto was once a celebrated pianist composer, but since he lost his sight he has turned his back on the music that is his great passion. Once, Catriona

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Fiction: ‘the triumph over chaos’

‘To write fiction, to express oneself eloquently and with passion, to set down the words in order – that requires triumph over chaos. But more than that, I think writing demands finding a harmonious way of being with chaos…’

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Hannah Fielding romance interrupted blog

Romance, interrupted

‘Does it matter, ultimately, when a romance is interrupted, when a hero and heroine spend years apart when they could have been together?’

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My latest blog posts

Mindful reading for inner calm

These past months have been a difficult time for us all. Whatever our circumstances, we have had to deal with a great deal of change, of anxiety and of frustration over restrictions to our liberty. Alongside being patient and compassionate (for oneself and for others), our greatest tool for coping with the stress has been to be in the moment. Not dwelling on yesterday. Not fretting about tomorrow. Just breathing and being in the present time.

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Products to make you feel beautiful

Regular readers of my blog will know that I love to travel. Exploring new cultures is the main appeal of course, but also… I adore the duty-free shopping! I often arrive at my destination with a new perfume, and my trip feels all the more special for it. Later, when I am back home and I smell that perfume, I am transported across the world to Egypt or Greece or Italy. Truly scent-sational!

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