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My latest blog posts

Queens of literature

With the Queen on most people’s minds, the Huffington Post recently published a list of favourite queens from literature. They included three queens from Alice in Wonderland, Tatiana from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Guinevere from the many stories of King Arthur, Lady Macbeth from Macbeth, the White Witch from the Narnia

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A princess, a treetop hotel, a Kenyan landscape… a queen

Did you watch any of the Queen’s jubilee celebrations on the television? I enjoyed watching the flotilla, the fireworks after the concert and the coverage of the National Service of Thanksgiving; but what most drew my attention was the television footage of the Royal Family from many years ago. One

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Summer Giveaway

It’s summer (I know it’s raining, but check the calendar), and I’m delighted to be participating in Red Hot Books’ Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop. For a chance to win a print copy of Burning Embers this month, simply comment on this post. Now, here’s a list of all the lovely

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Book review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

Although this book is pitched as a young adult novel, and I generally don’t read within this genre, I love Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction and so was keen to read her latest offering, which is a departure from her norm, focusing as it does on four fictional characters rather than

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Favourite ballets: Les Sylphides

When I was a young girl, one of my favourite treats was a visit to the ballet. For this special occasion my parents my sister and I wore evening clothes. The Sayed Darwish Theatre in Alexandria, which in those days was called the Mohamed Ali Theatre, hosted some of the

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The red moon

When I close my eyes and conjure up a picture of Africa, the setting of my novel Burning Embers, it is the colours that are most vivid. The dry yellow of the savannah. A terracotta building. A coral-pink kapok tree. Every shade of green among the leaves of the jungle.

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A new feature on my website: Book reviews

It has been several months now since I first began this blog and website, and I have very much enjoyed developing it and learning more about publishing and sharing books (what did I do before GoodReads?). Now that Burning Embers has been published, I have encountered a whole new area

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Book review: To Be Queen by Christy English

I loved this book. The cover drew me in – especially the unusually silky textured paper – and sitting in my garden, I was transported to a bygone era, lost in a world of kings and queens and religion and politics and ambitions and dreams. While the book is full

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Port des Issambres – a view for writers

What do you think of the view? This is a beautiful port near my home in France. I sometimes take a thermos of coffee and a baguette of ham and cheese and spend the day writing there. Excitingly, this is my first blog hop. The hop is hosted here: http://omnificpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/. Enjoy!

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The creatures of African legends

When I was a teenager my family had a friend called Mr Chiumbo Wangai who was from Kenya. He would tell us all about his homeland – the landscapes, the people, the cultures. But my favourite tales were those he related based on African legends. And when I came to

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Chasing waterfalls

There is something so romantic about a waterfall. The roaring of the water in your ears; the rainbow of colours reflected in the downpour; the shock of the plummet from the horizontal river; the sense of nature’s might. Little wonder, then, that those who dream up love stories are drawn

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Recipe: Bouillabaisse

Have you tried bouillabaisse? It’s one of my favourite dishes because it’s a specialty of the region where I live in France, and because it calls to mind my childhood. Growing up, my parents would throw big parties for relatives and friends at our home, and my father would cook

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Favourite ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

Have you noticed the recent renaissance of the fairytale? At the cinema one can see two versions of Snow White, while on television Once Upon a Time is building a solid fan base. In a recent episode I enjoyed the classic scene of Prince Charming awakening Snow White with a

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Favourite poem: ‘The Howlers’

I love all forms of literature, from prose to poem – and one of my favourite poets is the 19th-century writer Leconte De Lisle. His poems are evocative and descriptive, which marries with my own writing style, and because he wrote about exotic locations like Africa, his verses were a

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A Burning Embers dinner party

I was fascinated to read an article in the Huffington Post books section this week about a company called Literary Dinners, which creates ‘a pop-up restaurant for a night, specifically located for the author in question, a lavish spread and a reading (or two) from the author hosting’. What a

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At home in France: Moustier

Moustier. While my husband and I were exploring on a sunny weekend, we discovered the most wonderful restaurant, La Bastide de Moustier. All their food is either fresh from their potager (vegetable garden) or from the local market. Their ‘Du potager à l’assiette’ (from the vegetable garden to the plate)

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The ‘wicked’ stepmother

I notice that there are two competing versions of the classic fairytale Snow White coming to the big screen this year: Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. I can only imagine the frustration of the opposing movie studios when each realised the other was creating a major motion

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The Mpingo tree

My novel, Burning Embers, is set in Kenya in 1970. The heroine, Coral, was born in Mombasa, but when her parents separated she moved to London. Now, she is returning to her birthplace to take up her inheritance: mistress of her father’s plantation, Mpingo. At the heart of Mpingo is

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The language of love

French, so they say, is the language of love. You may wonder why, then, when I speak and write fluently in both French and English, I choose to write in English. As a child I grew up speaking French predominantly – which was easy for me because my governess, Zula,

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Clapping the net over the butterfly of the moment

Vita Sackville-West is famous for many things. She was the daughter of Lionel Edward Sackville-West, 3rd Baron Sackville, and his wife, Victoria Sackville-West. She was married to Harold Nicolson, a diplomat, journalist, broadcaster, Member of Parliament and author. She lived in Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, and created the beautiful gardens now opened to the

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Favourite actor: David Selby

Elvis Presley, James Dean, Robert Pattinson, George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Brad Pitt… all teenagers dream of talented and handsome actors, and as a young girl I was no different. There were many actors I admired whom I had seen on television and at the movies, but my favourite for

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The romantic nanny

In Burning Embers twenty-five-year old Coral returns home to her birthplace, a Kenyan plantation, where she is reunited with Aluna, her old yaha – her nanny from childhood. It’s a poignant reunion for the two, who were torn apart many years ago when Coral’s parents divorced. Coral allows Aluna to

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The day I unwittingly snubbed Richard Burton

When I was a girl my family used to visit a cabin in a place called Montazah. It was an idyllic spot away from the bustling city – woods, green gardens and the sparkling Mediterranean on our doorstep. My sister, my cousins and I would have a blissful time during

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Romance book cover art

I have recently discovered the social media site Pinterest, which allows you to collate your favourite images and share them with followers. I think of myself as a visual writer – I’m inspired by things I see, and in turn I try to describe scenes carefully so that a reader

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An interview with Hannah Fielding

The following interview was published on Omnific Publishing’s website. Omnific: Burning Embers is set in such an amazing landscape that it becomes almost a character in the story. What was your inspiration for writing Burning Embers?  Hannah Fielding: Burning Embers began not as a story, but as a vivid landscape

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The Golden Globe

As a young girl I attended a convent school run by French nuns  (interestingly, all had once been Jewish but converted to Catholicism). The nuns were passionate about French literature, and so I was brought up on the likes of Balzac, Flaubert, Proust and Hugo. But it was 19th-century poet Leconte

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A publisher author

There have been several moments in my life that have had such resonance that I’ve found myself pausing, smiling and looking back over my journey to that point. My first lone journey abroad as a young woman to live in London. My first kiss. The first dance at my wedding.

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Returning home from France

This is the ferry that brings be back to Kent from France. And here is the view of the white cliffs of Dover I see from the ferry – such an awesome sight.  

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My latest blog posts

The Moors of Spain

Moorish culture and legacy echoes through my new novel, Indiscretion, which is set in Andalusia, Spain, 1950, from the architecture of places that Alexandra visits to the princess costume she wears to a masked ball. Today, I take a look at the Moors of Spain, and why their influence has

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Does age matter when it comes to writing?

The media has been all aflutter this week over comments made by the best-selling author Joanna Trollope at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai. In her speech she gave the opinion that writers create their best works after the age of thirty-five, when life has ‘knocked them about

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Literary hotels of London

In my new novel, Indiscretion, the heroine is a writer. So what better place for an intimate lunch between Alexandra and her estranged father than Hazlitt’s, I thought: the eighteenth-century hotel just off Piccadilly that has been a favourite haunt for writers over the years since it was home to

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Research, research and more research

In an interview with Judith Spelman for Writing Magazine this month, author Emma Donoghue spoke on the subject of research for fiction-writing, an element of the writing process that she takes very seriously. She said: If you hope to find any interesting details about the time and place, you have

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Welcome to El Pavón

In my first novel, Burning Embers, the heroine Coral has inherited a plantation in Kenya. I so loved making her a mistress of a beautiful expanse of land, and describing the setting: an exotic and stunning backdrop for the love story that plays out. In my new novel, Indiscretion, the

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My ten best tips for overcoming writer’s block

Writer’s block is a strange beast indeed. The writer lives and breathes writing, and has done from an early age. All we want to do is write; it’s what makes us feel most alive, most ourselves, most fulfilled and peaceful inside. And yet some days, the words just won’t come.

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Favourite writer: Miguel de Cervantes

Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be. –Miguel de Cervantes I was in my teens when I first began reading classic world literature, and when it came to Spanish literature, top of the list

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The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

From the blurb: Inspired by true events, the New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home is the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic—a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants. Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members

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Author: The most coveted job

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I imagine you changed your mind fairly often, as you discovered the world around and fell in and out of love with aspects of it, but perhaps one desire was deep-rooted and pervaded through the

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The UK’s ‘Most Romantic’ Awards

Regular readers of my blog and my books will know this fundamental truth about me: I’m an ardent romantic. I very much wish that was something everyone could say about themselves. Don’t you think the world would be a warmer, sweeter, kinder, more beautiful place if we were all romantics?

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The Hall of the Abencerrages

One of my favourite places on earth is the Alhambra, the amalgamation of fabulous Arabesque palaces and a fortress complex built by the Moors on a steep wooded hill during the mid-14th century in Granada, Spain. It’s straight out of the Arabian Nights, and is startling for its beauty and

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How ebook analysis can shape writing and publishing strategy

Follow my blog with Bloglovin An interesting new trend is emerging in publishing news – releases from Amazon sharing reader and reading data. Take, for example, its news release on the most highlighted passages in Montlake Romance titles (Montlake is its romance imprint). Amazon shared the 14 passages that readers most

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Heredity and my new novel, Indiscretion

Follow my blog with Bloglovin With just weeks to go until the publication of my new novel, Indiscretion, I’m delighted to be able to start sharing something of the background and themes of to the book. Today, I’d like to introduce this poem, by Thomas Hardy:     I am the

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Cover reveal for my new novel, Indiscretion!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Happy Valentine’s Day. Today I’m delighted to be able to share with you the cover for my new novel, Indiscretion, which will publish in April. I think this is my favourite cover yet – what do you think?

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Want to feel better about yourself? Read more books…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Quick Reads is a UK-based initiative that aims to encourage adult engagement with reading. It commissions big-name authors to write shorts – little books that are quick and easy to read, so that the one in six adults in the country who struggle with reading

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By the light of the moon

Moonlight – an element of nature about which poets have waxed lyrical for centuries. For Charles Baudelaire, the moon was sad: ‘Earthward she lets a furtive tear-drop flow’. For Robert Graves, it was unkind: ‘The cruel Moon hangs out of reach/Up above the shadowy beech’. For Emily Bronte, it made

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My latest blog posts

An ancient treasure trail… to the lost city of Helice?

‘Tell me,’ says Damian, the hero of my latest book Aphrodite’s Tears, ‘how did you become so keen on archaeology?’ ‘My father used to tell me tales of Atlantis as a child,’ replies the heroine, Oriel. ‘After that, I read anything I could lay my hands on, especially stories about

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Andromeda: the original damsel in distress

For my latest novel Aphrodite’s Tears, I took inspiration from the stories of the Ancient Greeks. Interwoven within the narrative you’ll find reference to plenty of Greek myths. But one story you won’t find is that of Andromeda. The poet Ovid tells us that Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus, ruler

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Whatever happened to courtship?

Recently, Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, took to Twitter to answer a fan’s question: ‘Is there a difference between a romance novel and a love story?’ In stating her case that her own novels are absolutely not romance novels (as, to her frustration, they are often categorised), Diana

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After the ‘happy-ever-after’? Why sequels aren’t my style

To date, I have published six novels: three standalones and a trilogy. The trilogy follows three generations of families, but essentially each novel can stand alone as one, cohesive love story. Increasingly, I’m finding that readers me ask whether I’ll write a sequel to a novel they’ve enjoyed. ‘Why oh

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Prometheus: the Titan who endured

I have always been interested in mythology. The Greek myths, which inspired my new book Aphrodite’s Tears, were written thousands of years ago by wise men who helped to shape our modern thinking, and many of those stories have withstood the test of time and are relevant today. I am

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The Ancient Greek myths of Delos

A maze of dry, meandering paths led them across the island. On either side crumbling stone temples, toppled columns and the remains of statues told a story of the once-great sacred island. Damian and Oriel were greeted by something new at every bend. Whether it was a view of the

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Facing the sunshine: why I write romance, not crime

A story reported widely in the British press last week caught my eye: ‘Crime pays,’ read the headline in the Telegraph; ‘thrillers and detective novels now outsell all other fiction.’ According to data by Nielsen BookScan shared at the London Book Fair, sales of crime and thriller novels in the

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