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Guest Post: Situating Romance in a Vivid Setting by Hannah Fielding, Author of Burning Embers

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ta-da, today is the day for my first ever Guest Post! I’m sooo excited to welcome debut author Hannah Fielding and feature this lovely piece of writing by her. I hope you’ll help me welcome her too, read the post and have a look at her novel, Burning Embers, which is set in 1970s Kenya. The setting of the novel alone made me want to read this, as I’ve never read anything set in Kenya (novels or otherwise). Along with the Guest Post, in the following, you’ll find the information on Burning Embers and how to connect with Hannah. 

Situating Romance in a Vivid Setting

In reviews of my novel Burning Embers there has emerged a common theme: that readers enjoy my descriptive situation of the plot with the book’s setting, 1970s Kenya.

I believe that the setting a romance novel is essential for establishing a romantic mood and transporting the reader to the fantasy world I am creating, to capture not only their attention but also their emotions. The reader must be able to see, feel, taste, hear, smell everything my heroes and heroines are experiencing, and I call upon all the senses to render an authentic ambiance.
Coral stood on the deck at the top of gangplank, dazzled by the reflection of the blazing light. The late morning sun spread its fan of fire over the shimmering sea. The baking heat was suddenly very familiar, and she did not dislike it. Here and there flying fish erupted from the water in a show of sparkles. The air was heavy with redolent scents. It was all coming back to her now: the blend of tar, sea, ropes, mouldy timber, spices, and dry fish that haunts every port…

Vivid description has formed part of my writing style since its emergence, during my teenage years, because I am a very passionate and emotional person and places have always had a powerful influence on me.

I grew up in Alexandria, Egypt. My childhood memories are full of azure skies, the Mediterranean sea with its ever-changing shades of blue, gardens full of a kaleidoscope of vivid-coloured flowers and sweet-fragranced fruit, ripe for picking all the year round, and the sun… always the sun: blazing sunsets, breathtaking dawns, the countryside wrapped in a glory of ochre brilliant hues. How could I not be inspired? Then, when I reached womanhood, I was keen to explore beyond the boundaries of my home country, and I travelled widely. Spain, Italy, England, the Greek islands – so many cultures and peoples and amazing places to explore.

Kenya, in particular, stood out for me as a wonderfully colourful and wild setting. When I was a teenager Mr Chiombo Wangai, a Kenyan and a dear friend of my father’s, used to often come to visit. He was a great raconteur and used to tell me wonderful stories about his country, its people, its customs and its very exotic rituals. From time to time he lent me books about the place. Later, I travelled with my family to Kenya, and Mr Wangai showed us around his fascinating country. I fell in love with its beauty and the romance of the place. 

When I decided to write, I had already a lot of information in my so-called diaries – notebooks that I have accumulated with anecdotes and thoughts about people and places which have taken (or not) my fancy. I also read a lot about Kenya , watched films and documentaries about the place and tried to soak up as much as possible about this beautiful country and its people. Finally, when I put pen to paper, Burning Embers came to life.

One of my favourite descriptions is the very first that the heroine, Coral, sees as she approaches Africa on a ship that has brought her from England:
Variant tones of pink were gently spreading into the sky, struggling to seep through the symphony of blues. A few moments later the sun burst forth, dazzling in this multicoloured canopy, and the dark outline of the landscape gradually loomed on the horizon, transforming first into the dark green, gray, and russet skirt of the jungle before revealing the bush, rising in layers toward the backcountry. Soon after, the port of Kilindini became visible, comfortably tucked away at the end of the estuary in the midst of vigorous vegetation.
Since writing Burning Embers, I have become lost in Spanish culture and landscapes while writing a trilogy set in the fabulously passionate country, and also in Tuscany and Venice, Italy, where I am setting another romance novel. It’s a joy to visit such locations, and even as I write I find myself wondering which place will call to me next – Egypt, the land of my birth, perhaps. There is such a big world out there full of places where romance can blossom, and as long as I am able to travel and to write, you will find me dreaming up love stories to play out in the most beautiful places on earth. 
The Book and the Blurb:

Burning Embers is a contemporary historical romance novel set in 1970s Kenya. It tells the story of the developing love and passion between Coral, a naive, young English girl returning to the place of her birth, and Rafe, the handsome but tortured womanizer to whom Coral is inextricably drawn.

It's a story of long, hot African days and sultry nights; of slumbering beasts and awakening desires; of intrigue and darkness; of journeys beginning and ending; of growing up and letting go; of falling in love, and following your heart.
Click here to read an excerpt of Burning Embers on Hannah’s site!


The Author Talks about Herself:

When I was a child, my governess told me fairy stories. These tales, full of superstition and magic, were my first inspiration, and the warmth and colour they still evoke greatly influence my writing. They were also the experience through which I learned to become a storyteller, as my governess and I had an agreement – whenever she told me a story, I would have to tell her one in return.

Hannah Fielding
As a novelist, I am obsessed by vivid colours, lush landscapes and tales of exotic customs in far-off lands. I can trace much of this back to a dear and long-departed friend of my family Mr Chiumbo Wangai, who fascinated me as a teenager with stories of the witch-doctors and magical ceremonies in his native Kenya. When I visited the country myself, I soon fell in love with its beautiful countryside and unforgettable sunsets.

Though I have been telling stories since I was a child, it was only after my children had grown up and my husband and I had turned our family business into a success that I felt I could devote myself to writing full time. After I dug out the various ideas and sketches I had jotted down over the years, I realised how profoundly my travels throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and particularly Africa had burned themselves into my memory. I felt driven to turn them into a novel.

The mystery, magic, heat and passion of Kenya’s landscapes inspired me to use them as the setting for my first novel. Burning Embers, a passionate love story set against the backdrop of the country in 1970. Burning Embers is available to buy from all leading retailers.

Connect with Hannah (click on the following links):


Please don’t forget to comment and tell Hannah if you’ve already read Burning Embers and your thoughts on her book.

(Note: I'm not responsible for the contents of this post, including the original post, the author profile and the pictures, as all of the above were provided to me by the author or taken from her website)  ~Punya


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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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