fbpx

My latest blog posts

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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?

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

On losing books, rediscovering them, and treasuring them

Recently, the British media reported the story of a lady who discovered a book she had owned in her childhood for sale in the shop of the Museum of English Rural Life. She recognised The Secret Garden Ladybird Children’s Classics as hers by the hieroglyphics penned on the inside cover – a secret code she and her sister had devised.

Read More »

Capturing music in words

Music is at the heart of my latest novel, Concerto. The heroine is an opera singer and the hero is a pianist composer. The novel draws on the rich heritage of classical and operatic music, particularly with relation to Italy, where much of the story is set.

Read More »
Concerto by Hannah Fielding

Favourite reviews of my novels

It has been seven years since I published my debut novel, Burning Embers, and even now I can remember how nerve-racking it was to contact some book bloggers and ask whether they may like to review the novel. Would they enjoy the book? I very much hoped so.

Read More »

Lovers with a history: healing from past mistakes in Concerto

Concerto, my most recent novel, tells the love story between music therapist and single mother Catriona and blind pianist Umberto. Umberto has not handled losing his sight well and has sunk into a depression, no longer able to compose and play as he once did so well. Catriona is hired to stay at Umberto’s Lake Como villa and work with him, and as she does so, attraction stirs between the two.

Read More »

A place with music of its own: Villefranche

The story in my novel Concerto begins in a place I know well: Nice, in the French Riviera, a little way along from my summer home. The hero of the novel, Umberto, is Italian, and so it makes sense that he spends time in this part of France, so close to the French–Italian border.

Read More »

Taking inspiration from the music of nature

When I am staying at my home in France, I love to take long walks by the sea and hear the rhythmic sound of the water lapping, or sometimes crashing, on the sand. I sit in my garden and listen to the chorus of the cicadas and the drone of the bees attracted to my lavender. In Ireland, I go for walks in the woodland near my home, to the sound of the leaves stirred by the breeze and the birds singing high up in the trees and the merry tinkling of a little stream.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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!

Read More »

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…’

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

My latest blog posts

Drawing inspiration from romantic settings

Setting is everything for my fiction, not just the backdrop of the story but where I write – where I dream up the first meeting of two people destined to be soulmates, or a first kiss shared on a moonlit beach, or a sunset framing lovers walking off into their happy-ever-after…

Read More »

Romance: not fantasy, but reality

‘To me, romance is reality. Romance – love – is everywhere, playing out all around us every day. Reading a romance novel isn’t indulging in a flight of fantasy; it’s reading about something real, and beautiful, and within your own reach in life…’

Read More »

Top screen adaptations of romantic English literature

‘Oh, the power of a good screen adaption of classic literature to awaken the romantic sensibilities! I can’t tell you how many afternoons since I have sat on a shady bench and gazed at the pond in the grounds of my home in Kent, indulging in a Darcy-esque daydream…’

Read More »

WIN fabulous prizes in my Sunday Special giveaway

Over the past few months, as a ‘Sunday Special’, I have given away my novel Indiscretion, serialised in chapters. I had such a wonderful response that I’ve decided to run another Sunday Special – a giveaway with exquisite and unique prizes worth more than £150. This giveaway is open to EVERYONE, so don’t miss your chance to win a wonderful gift from me to you.

Read More »

Taking inspiration from the poet Rilke

‘Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other…’ I love poetry, its ability to capture and convey a sentiment in so few words; and for me, the more lyrical, the more beautiful. That is why I love the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke.

Read More »
British Museums

My favourite British museums

Museum, for me, is another word for sanctuary, paradise. I suppose, growing up in Alexandria, Egypt – home of the original Musaeum (‘Institution of the Muses’), founded in the third century BC – it is inherent in me to have a fascination with these places. Over the years I have lived in Britain, it has been such a pleasure to explore its museums. Here are some of my favourites.

Read More »

Archive

Archive

Search the post archive by publishing date
Search the post archive by category