On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo
🍴I am so pleased to welcome Hannah Fielding to Sunday Brunch🍴
🍴Good morning, Hannah. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?
A selection of mini pastries for a French-style meal – pain au raisins, croissants, brioche and chausson aux pommes. Plus a platter of freshly prepared fruits.
🍴Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?
Coffee is the natural accompaniment for brunch in France. The French like it strong, and I prefer a cappuccino with extra foam.
🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?
Oh, outside please! I take any opportunity to dine outside. I’m sure the fresh air heightens the taste of the food, and the flowers, the birdsong, the breeze and the sun always lift my mood.
🍴Shall we have music playing in the background? And if so will you share with us a favourite song or piece of music that makes you happy?
How about some classical music? Debussy makes for wonderfully soothing background music.
🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?
How big is your patio table; how many can we fit around? I read French Literature at university, so of course I would love to meet the greats: Honoré de Balzac, Voltaire, Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo. And the wonderful poet Leconte de Lisle. The Brontë sisters too. And Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Goodness – we’ll need more pastries to go around!
🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?
The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye. It was published back in 1978 and has remained a favourite book for me ever since. It’s a romantic epic, a work of historical fiction that takes the reader back to the British Raj rule in India in the nineteenth century.
🍴When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!
I can’t imagine not reading; it is my solace and comfort, and a great source of inspiration for me. When I am writing a novel, I tend to read non-fiction books, so that I don’t confuse a story I am reading with the one I am writing. I love books on history, art, architecture, cookery – and language. I have been known to read dictionaries!
🍴What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?
A very old, very well-loved copy of The Arabian Nights. My parents and my governess would read these fairy tales to me when I was a child and I was absolutely spellbound. Once I could read the book for myself, I did so over and over again.
🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?
My travels, mostly. So far my novels have been set in Kenya, Spain, Italy and the Greek Islands – all places I have explored on my travels; and my latest novel is set in Egypt, my homeland.
I love to research a location and learn all about its culture, its history, its mythology, its proverbs, its cuisine. Most of all, I love to visit the place – writing is a wonderful excuse for travelling!
🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?
I have different writing spots in my homes in Kent, Ireland and the South of France, both inside and outside, depending on my mood and the season. In summer, for example, I often write in the gazebo in my French garden, and this winter I’ve been enjoying writing at the kitchen table, cosy in the warmth from the stove.
🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?
Usually, I’m really rather disciplined when I’m writing. With eight novels published and several more in the pipeline, I have developed a routine for getting the words down. That said, I have found it more challenging to focus at times during the pandemic, because there has been so much to worry about. Rest, I’ve found, restores my focus.
🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?
An idea about which they are passionate. A plan for the book. Sufficient time to devote to writing. The grit to sit on the chair and write and write. (Ideally also, as Virginia Woolf put it, ‘a room of one’s own’ in which to write.)
🍴What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?
Song of the Nile is my latest novel – a story that is very close to my heart, for it is set in my homeland, Egypt.
Luxor, 1946. When young nurse Aida El Masri returns from war-torn London to her family’s estate in Egypt she steels herself against the challenges ahead.
Eight years have passed since her father, Ayoub, was framed for a crime he did not commit, and died as a tragic result. Yet Aida has not forgotten, and now she wants revenge against the man she believes betrayed her father – his best friend, Kamel Pharaony.
Then Aida is reunited with Kamel’s son, the captivating surgeon Phares, who offers her marriage. In spite of herself, the secret passion Aida harboured for him as a young girl reignites. Still, how can she marry the son of the man who destroyed her father and brought shame on her family? Will coming home bring her love, or only danger and heartache?
Set in the exotic and bygone world of Upper Egypt, Song of the Nile follows Aida’s journey of rediscovery – of the homeland she loves, with its white-sailed feluccas on the Nile, old-world charms of Cairo and the ancient secrets of its burning desert sands – and of the man she has never forgotten.
A compelling story of passion and intrigue – a novel that lays open the beating heart of Egypt.
The novel is available to purchase in all ebook formats and in paperback on my website, https://hannahfielding.net/.
Hannah, where can we follow you on social media?
Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.
Thank you so much for having me.
Follow us on Twitter #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo