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.
Writing my heroines
For the last five years, I have spent my days with some strong, creative, empowering (and at times maddening!) women: the heroines of my novels – Coral of Burning Embers, Venetia of The Echoes of Love, Alexandra of Indiscretion and Luz of Masquerade.
Each woman is different in terms of background, temperament and ethos, but they all share certain characteristics that I think are essential in a heroine:
- Independent: Even in my book set furthest back in time – Indiscretion in the 1950s – the heroine is unafraid to stand alone and follow her own path. My heroines build solid careers for themselves and support themselves financially; they live alone; they travel. Most importantly, they develop – and express – independent viewpoints. No demure, docile little sheep in my books!
- Cultured: These women are grounded in their settings and their times. They are inquisitive about places and peoples, about legends and histories. They love to dance, to go to the theatre, to listen to music, to appreciate great paintings and literature. Their respect for and interest in culture is reflected in their professions: Coral is a photographer, Venetia an architect, and Alexandra and Luz are writers.
- Strong: Each of my heroines has been through heartache, having to deal with bereavement and betrayal. They are not bowed by painful experiences, but pick themselves up and continue – though they may have lessons to learn in how to trust another again. Sometimes, of course, to be strong is to reveal and explore one’s vulnerability, and each of my heroines treads this path also.
- Passionate: Essential in romance, don’t you think?! Still waters run deep with the women in my fiction. They may be supremely sensible, in control or even shuttered at the outset, but when the right man comes along they will be consumed – and ultimately irrevocably transformed – by passion.
I believe we read romance to escape but also, more importantly, to belong: we find affinity with the heroines (and fall in love with the heroes!). That is why I write independent, cultured, strong, passionate heroines: they are the kind of women I most admire.