HANNAH FIELDING: APHRODITE’S TEARS

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Hannah Fielding is fascinating for so many reasons. First, she divides her time between three countries: “a rectory in Kent, England; an old farmhouse near St Tropez in the south of France; and a Georgian house in County Wicklow, Ireland”—and she writes at a desk with a spectacular view in each one. Then there’s the fact that her grandmother was Esther Fanous, the Egyptian feminist and writer. And then there are her books themselves . . . including her latest, APHRODITE’S TEARS—a mystery and passionate love story set against the irresistible backdrop of Greece.

Welcome to the blog, Hannah! And congratulations on the release of your newest book, APHRODITE’S TEARS. I read the blurb, and I’ll admit that you had me at “web of dark obsession, mystery and seduction” . . . all that and a gorgeous Grecian setting, too? Tell us a little bit about the book—what’s it all about, and what was your inspiration for writing it?

Thank you for having me on the blog, Emily.

Quite simply, Greece is one of my favourite parts of the globe. It’s a very special place for me, because it is so romantic. I bought my wedding dress in Greece – and I felt like a goddess wearing it; and my husband and I honeymooned there. One of the best evenings of my life was spent in the Acropolis in Athens, watching a production of the Sleeping Beauty ballet under the stars.

The Ancient Greeks left such a rich inheritance of legends – stories full of wisdom, and a god or goddess for everything, from love and war to wine-making. These, too, were a rich source of inspiration for my novel; hence it is named for Aphrodite, the goddess of love. According to local legend on the island of Helios, where the story is set, on rainy nights, if you listen carefully, you will hear Aphrodite sobbing, and the rain is her tears for her children, pouring down onto the island.

The book is about an archaeologist, Oriel Anderson, who comes to the island of Helios for a dream work assignment: exploring an ancient underwater shipwreck. But when she reaches the island, she discovers that Damian Lekkas, the owner of Helios and her new boss, is not entirely a stranger; six years ago, they had a one-night stand. What ensues is mounting passion, but also a great deal of mystery, intrigue and ultimately peril, on this island of ancient rituals and vengeful gods, where the earth beneath their very feet is volatile…

Your books all take place in intriguing, lush settings around the world—Greece, Spain, Kenya, Italy, and more. What’s the origin of your fascination with international backdrops for your novels, and where will you be taking readers next?

I think fiction, for me, has always been about journeying – to another place, and sometimes another time. Because I love to travel and to explore new cultures, it makes sense to marry the two: the fictional journey and the real one.

The sense of exploration in my novels, of being a newcomer in a different, exotic setting, with lots of new experiences to have and so much to learn, makes the heroine more open to romance too, I think: to breaking down inner barriers, learning about herself and growing, so that she can work out what she wants, and with whom.

Plus, writing write about beautiful and fascinating places makes the writing so much more of a pleasure!

Next on the map for my writing is the French Riviera and Lake Como in Italy; and I have just started work on a romance set in Ireland, the land of fairy-tales and legends.

I’m writing these questions on International Women’s Day, so it only seems fitting to mention that your grandmother was Esther Fanous, the Egyptian feminist and writer. You grew up in Alexandria, correct? How did your upbringing in Egypt and your grandmother play a role in the writer you’ve become?

My family and my home are the foundations on which I have built my life, and they are very important to me.

As you know, my grandmother was a very strong woman, but she is just one of many in my family who inspire me for their intelligence, their determination, their vision, their compassion and their courage. My father, for example, instilled in me the love of books that has made me the reader and writer I am today; he was a published author and he had a very extensive book collection.

Alexandria was a beautiful place in which to grow up, especially for a writer – my bedroom had three windows overlooking the dazzling Mediterranean. There was such a sense of history all around, too, which moved me. I remember taking a cruise down the Nile when I was fifteen, between Luxor and Abu Simbel, Nubia, before the great temple’s relocation. There we were, drifting along, surrounded by an ancient world of ruins and the age-old scenery of fields and villages where people were living as they had lived a thousand years ago.

Is it true that you began writing romance novels in secret, to share with your fellow students while you were at Catholic school? If so, this would make a great novel in and of itself. What made you decide to start writing romance. . . and how did your fellow students react?

Absolutely. My secret writing made me popular with the other girls, but far less so with the nuns, when I was caught out!

By that point I was such a dreamer, inspired by everything from a TV show to a piece of music to a book I was reading, and I needed an outlet for all the thoughts and feelings. Writing was the obvious choice.

I had no expectations when I wrote the first story; I just enjoyed the process so much. I showed my family, who were very proud, and then, tentatively, I showed a friend – who proceeded to pass it on. I was astonished to find so many girls enjoyed the story, and they asked for more – so of course I kept writing.

I think that is where the idea of writing for publication someday came from; I so enjoyed entertaining those readers, and helping them to escape into another world.

Do you always travel to the places you write about? And do your travels inspire your writing, or the other way around?

So far, I have visited every country in which I have set a novel, so that my writing bears testament to my passion for the setting.

I am very fortunate to have travelled widely in my life. I spent a good part of my twenties after I graduated from university travelling around Europe, and since then my husband and I have been to many different and wonderful places together, whether for work or pleasure.

Many of the settings in my books are drawn from my own experiences – the Piazza San Marco, Venice, for example, and the Alhambra, Granada. But sometimes I decide to weave in a location to which I have not been. Then, where possible, I will make the trip, or failing that, I will research, research, research.

What didn’t I ask that I should’ve? Whatever it is, please answer it here!

Well, you may like to know that I divide my time between homes in three countries: a rectory in Kent, England; an old farmhouse near St Tropez in the south of France; and a Georgian house in County Wicklow, Ireland. In each home, it is all about the view: I write at a desk overlooking stunning countryside or the ever-changing sea.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Summer 1977, Oriel Anderson finds herself on the charming Greek island of Helios hoping to fulfill a long held dream or joining an archaeological dive team. Broken hearted after her university fiancé leaves her for her best friend, Oriel is determined to prove she can make it in a man’s world by heading up an all-male dive team on her first underwater dig.

Spending her days excavating a Roman shipwreck, surrounded by turquoise waters and scorching sunshine, Oriel thinks that she has found paradise, until she meets her employer and the owner of the Island, Damian Lekkas.

A widower, with a scarred face, Damian is a brooding presence on the island who instantly takes a shine to Oriel, but Oriel resolves to maintain a professional relationship between them.  But the mercurial Damian has other ideas, and Oriel’s stay soon becomes a battle between her head and her heart.

When strange things start happening Oriel doesn’t know what to think. She learns that no other women who had come to work on the dive had lasted more than a few weeks, a young boy almost drowns on one of her dives, then one morning Oriel finds a dead songbird in her room, its throat slit. Finally out exploring the beaches Oriel becomes trapped in a cave. Is it all just a coincidence or is someone trying to send her a warning?   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Having already had huge success as one of the UK’s leading romance authors, “Aphrodite’s Tears” follows the award winning success of Hannah Fielding’s previous novels “Burning Embers,” “Echoes of Love,” “Masquerade,” “Legacy” and “Indiscretion.” “Echoes of Love” won Romance Novel of the Year at the IPB Awards in 2012. With its spectacular setting and deep emotional drama, Aphrodite’s Tears will appeal both to fans of her backlist, as well as lovers of atmospheric travel writing including Santa Montefiore, Penny Vincenzie, Victoria Hislop and Lucinda Riley. 

Egyptian by birth, Hannah is fluent in French, English and Arabic and has lived all over the world. She currently lives between her writing retreat in the South of France and her rambling family home in Ireland.  Hannah’s grandmother, Esther Fanous, was the revolutionary feminist writer in Egypt during the early 1900s and helped found the Women’s Wafd Central Committee in 1920.

http://hannahfielding.net/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHannahFielding/

https://twitter.com/fieldinghannah

https://www.pinterest.com/hannahfielding/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5333898.Hannah_Fielding

Image

Hannah Fielding is fascinating for so many reasons. First, she divides her time between three countries: “a rectory in Kent, England; an old farmhouse near St Tropez in the south of France; and a Georgian house in County Wicklow, Ireland”—and she writes at a desk with a spectacular view in each one. Then there’s the fact that her grandmother was Esther Fanous, the Egyptian feminist and writer. And then there are her books themselves . . . including her latest, APHRODITE’S TEARS—a mystery and passionate love story set against the irresistible backdrop of Greece.

Welcome to the blog, Hannah! And congratulations on the release of your newest book, APHRODITE’S TEARS. I read the blurb, and I’ll admit that you had me at “web of dark obsession, mystery and seduction” . . . all that and a gorgeous Grecian setting, too? Tell us a little bit about the book—what’s it all about, and what was your inspiration for writing it?

Thank you for having me on the blog, Emily.

Quite simply, Greece is one of my favourite parts of the globe. It’s a very special place for me, because it is so romantic. I bought my wedding dress in Greece – and I felt like a goddess wearing it; and my husband and I honeymooned there. One of the best evenings of my life was spent in the Acropolis in Athens, watching a production of the Sleeping Beauty ballet under the stars.

The Ancient Greeks left such a rich inheritance of legends – stories full of wisdom, and a god or goddess for everything, from love and war to wine-making. These, too, were a rich source of inspiration for my novel; hence it is named for Aphrodite, the goddess of love. According to local legend on the island of Helios, where the story is set, on rainy nights, if you listen carefully, you will hear Aphrodite sobbing, and the rain is her tears for her children, pouring down onto the island.

The book is about an archaeologist, Oriel Anderson, who comes to the island of Helios for a dream work assignment: exploring an ancient underwater shipwreck. But when she reaches the island, she discovers that Damian Lekkas, the owner of Helios and her new boss, is not entirely a stranger; six years ago, they had a one-night stand. What ensues is mounting passion, but also a great deal of mystery, intrigue and ultimately peril, on this island of ancient rituals and vengeful gods, where the earth beneath their very feet is volatile…

Your books all take place in intriguing, lush settings around the world—Greece, Spain, Kenya, Italy, and more. What’s the origin of your fascination with international backdrops for your novels, and where will you be taking readers next?

I think fiction, for me, has always been about journeying – to another place, and sometimes another time. Because I love to travel and to explore new cultures, it makes sense to marry the two: the fictional journey and the real one.

The sense of exploration in my novels, of being a newcomer in a different, exotic setting, with lots of new experiences to have and so much to learn, makes the heroine more open to romance too, I think: to breaking down inner barriers, learning about herself and growing, so that she can work out what she wants, and with whom.

Plus, writing write about beautiful and fascinating places makes the writing so much more of a pleasure!

Next on the map for my writing is the French Riviera and Lake Como in Italy; and I have just started work on a romance set in Ireland, the land of fairy-tales and legends.

I’m writing these questions on International Women’s Day, so it only seems fitting to mention that your grandmother was Esther Fanous, the Egyptian feminist and writer. You grew up in Alexandria, correct? How did your upbringing in Egypt and your grandmother play a role in the writer you’ve become?

My family and my home are the foundations on which I have built my life, and they are very important to me.

As you know, my grandmother was a very strong woman, but she is just one of many in my family who inspire me for their intelligence, their determination, their vision, their compassion and their courage. My father, for example, instilled in me the love of books that has made me the reader and writer I am today; he was a published author and he had a very extensive book collection.

Alexandria was a beautiful place in which to grow up, especially for a writer – my bedroom had three windows overlooking the dazzling Mediterranean. There was such a sense of history all around, too, which moved me. I remember taking a cruise down the Nile when I was fifteen, between Luxor and Abu Simbel, Nubia, before the great temple’s relocation. There we were, drifting along, surrounded by an ancient world of ruins and the age-old scenery of fields and villages where people were living as they had lived a thousand years ago.

Is it true that you began writing romance novels in secret, to share with your fellow students while you were at Catholic school? If so, this would make a great novel in and of itself. What made you decide to start writing romance. . . and how did your fellow students react?

Absolutely. My secret writing made me popular with the other girls, but far less so with the nuns, when I was caught out!

By that point I was such a dreamer, inspired by everything from a TV show to a piece of music to a book I was reading, and I needed an outlet for all the thoughts and feelings. Writing was the obvious choice.

I had no expectations when I wrote the first story; I just enjoyed the process so much. I showed my family, who were very proud, and then, tentatively, I showed a friend – who proceeded to pass it on. I was astonished to find so many girls enjoyed the story, and they asked for more – so of course I kept writing.

I think that is where the idea of writing for publication someday came from; I so enjoyed entertaining those readers, and helping them to escape into another world.

Do you always travel to the places you write about? And do your travels inspire your writing, or the other way around?

So far, I have visited every country in which I have set a novel, so that my writing bears testament to my passion for the setting.

I am very fortunate to have travelled widely in my life. I spent a good part of my twenties after I graduated from university travelling around Europe, and since then my husband and I have been to many different and wonderful places together, whether for work or pleasure.

Many of the settings in my books are drawn from my own experiences – the Piazza San Marco, Venice, for example, and the Alhambra, Granada. But sometimes I decide to weave in a location to which I have not been. Then, where possible, I will make the trip, or failing that, I will research, research, research.

What didn’t I ask that I should’ve? Whatever it is, please answer it here!

Well, you may like to know that I divide my time between homes in three countries: a rectory in Kent, England; an old farmhouse near St Tropez in the south of France; and a Georgian house in County Wicklow, Ireland. In each home, it is all about the view: I write at a desk overlooking stunning countryside or the ever-changing sea.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Summer 1977, Oriel Anderson finds herself on the charming Greek island of Helios hoping to fulfill a long held dream or joining an archaeological dive team. Broken hearted after her university fiancé leaves her for her best friend, Oriel is determined to prove she can make it in a man’s world by heading up an all-male dive team on her first underwater dig.

Spending her days excavating a Roman shipwreck, surrounded by turquoise waters and scorching sunshine, Oriel thinks that she has found paradise, until she meets her employer and the owner of the Island, Damian Lekkas.

A widower, with a scarred face, Damian is a brooding presence on the island who instantly takes a shine to Oriel, but Oriel resolves to maintain a professional relationship between them.  But the mercurial Damian has other ideas, and Oriel’s stay soon becomes a battle between her head and her heart.

When strange things start happening Oriel doesn’t know what to think. She learns that no other women who had come to work on the dive had lasted more than a few weeks, a young boy almost drowns on one of her dives, then one morning Oriel finds a dead songbird in her room, its throat slit. Finally out exploring the beaches Oriel becomes trapped in a cave. Is it all just a coincidence or is someone trying to send her a warning?   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Having already had huge success as one of the UK’s leading romance authors, “Aphrodite’s Tears” follows the award winning success of Hannah Fielding’s previous novels “Burning Embers,” “Echoes of Love,” “Masquerade,” “Legacy” and “Indiscretion.” “Echoes of Love” won Romance Novel of the Year at the IPB Awards in 2012. With its spectacular setting and deep emotional drama, Aphrodite’s Tears will appeal both to fans of her backlist, as well as lovers of atmospheric travel writing including Santa Montefiore, Penny Vincenzie, Victoria Hislop and Lucinda Riley. 

Egyptian by birth, Hannah is fluent in French, English and Arabic and has lived all over the world. She currently lives between her writing retreat in the South of France and her rambling family home in Ireland.  Hannah’s grandmother, Esther Fanous, was the revolutionary feminist writer in Egypt during the early 1900s and helped found the Women’s Wafd Central Committee in 1920.

http://hannahfielding.net/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHannahFielding/

https://twitter.com/fieldinghannah

https://www.pinterest.com/hannahfielding/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5333898.Hannah_Fielding

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