On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral’s childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father’s death.
Circumstance confirms Coral’s worst suspicions, but when Rafe’s life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fiancé, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa.
Is Rafe just toying with a young woman’s affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral’s inheritance? Or does Rafe’s troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine?
Set in 1970, this contemporary historical romance sends the seemingly doomed lovers down a destructive path wrought with greed, betrayal, revenge, passion, and love.
Hannah was so kind to let me pick her brain a little and answered some of our questions as well as giving us a little peek into the book with her favorite quote.
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 in my mind. The seed of the idea was sown many years ago when, as a schoolgirl, I studied the works of Leconte de Lisle, a French Romantic poet of the 19th century. His poems are wonderfully descriptive and vivid – about wild animals, magnificent dawns and sunsets, exotic settings and colourful vistas. Then, as a teenager, I went on holiday to Kenya with my parents and I met our family friend Mr Chiumbo Wangai who told me extensively about his beautiful country, its traditions and its customs. I was enthralled, and when I put pen to paper Burning Embers came to life.
Omnific: Given the descriptions and details in your story, I assume that you have been to Africa? Do you travel often and where is your favorite destination?
Hannah Fielding: I grew up in North Africa in a house overlooking the Mediterranean, and I loved nothing more than to learn about exotic, far-off places. After I left university, I travelled extensively to many of the places I had read about. Traveling still takes up a large part of my life, but mostly now I travel to the romantic places where my novels are set. The sun and the sea are always present in my travels and in my novels – they are a great source of inspiration for me. I find it difficult to decide on a favourite destination; it is usually the place in which my latest novel is set! But I think that Spain might be the country closest to my heart: the countryside, like its people, is rich and flamboyant and suits my passionate nature.
Omnific: Can you give us a little insight into your writing process? Are you a plotter and planner or do you just write as it comes?
Hannah Fielding: I am definitely a plotter and a planner. I love the planning phase of a new book. I spend a lot time researching places and cultures – reading books, listening to music, watching films and, when I can, visiting in person. I really enjoy the excitement of a new story taking shape. I try to set down a framework before I commence writing, but I don’t stick to it rigidly. Sometimes as I write the words flow out and take the characters somewhere unexpected, but intriguing! I am always writing in my head. In fact, I keep a notebook and a pen in my bag, and next to my bed (with a torch so I don’t disturb my husband). Anything around me can prompt inspiration for the novel in hand or a future story. A painting, a view, a ship gliding on the ocean in the night, houses, people in the street, in a restaurant or at the airport – anything and everything that prompts a romantic scene in my mind can trigger the muse.
Omnific: Since Omnific is all about the romance...what is your favorite romance scene of all time?
Hannah Fielding: The roles are perfectly cast: Sarita Montiel as Soledad is wonderful. She is beautiful and has the most moving voice. And Raf Vallone is superb in his role as the handsome, passionate aristocrat. I love French, Italian and Spanish cinema. The films are often low budget, but have brilliant plots and wonderful direction that creates very evocative films.
Omnific: Do you have anything new on the horizon?
Hannah Fielding: Yes, I have written a trilogy which takes place in Spain and which follows three generations of a family from the 1950s through to the present day; and I am in the middle of writing my next novel, which takes place in Venice and Tuscany, Italy, in 1980. And just to tease you a little bit after hearing all about the spectacular love story and setting, we are giving you a little look into the book with Hannah’s favorite excerpt…enjoy!
He gave that devastating smile that made her melt inside. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be back in a flash.”
She stepped out onto the terrace. It was south facing, giving it full sun all day. The fragrance of the plants and creepers here was bewitching, making her head feel lighter. The voices of the countless insects seemed to make the air vibrate with a continuous faint pulse. For a second, she had a disconcerting feeling that her mere presence here was an intrusion, that she was treading the edges of another human being’s private moonlit universe: Rafe’s world. She momentarily found herself wishing to be part of that dream for ever.
Coral sensed his presence behind her and turned. Rafe was standing very still, just looking at her. His dinner jacket had been removed, his bow tie hanging loosely around his unbuttoned shirt collar, and his rolled-up sleeves revealed strong, tanned forearms. Approaching a tall raffia basket that served as a table, he set down a cup of steaming coffee, a glass, and a bottle of cognac, then took a blanket from over his arm and wrapped it around Coral’s shoulders, letting his palms linger a little over them as he had done on the boat not so long ago. Her heart turned right over in her breast, and perhaps she started a bit, as he drew away from her instantly. Her shivering only seemed to increase.
“That should keep you warm,” Rafe whispered as he handed her the cup of coffee. “Sip it slowly.” His voice was caressing and silky. “These coffee beans come from the plantation of friends of mine that live in the plains of Southern Kenya along the border with Tanganyika. The aroma is stronger than the brands you find on the market.”
The hot brew warmed her up: it was soothing and comforting. Rafe took a pace or two away from her and savored his cognac with the air of a connoisseur. He leaned on the bannister of the terrace and gazed out over his domain to the sea in the distance. A light breeze flicked at his dark hair, and he pushed it away from his eyes.
“A shooting star, Rafe. Make a wish,” Coral exclaimed. He stared fixedly at her, perhaps wondering what her wish had been, then gave her one of his enigmatic smiles. His hand slid along the top of the balustrade and touched her elbow. It was a momentary contact, but he drew away quickly as if suddenly afraid of touching her. Coral could see him staring at her lips, and her breathing quickened. He met her eyes, and still he did not move, his steady gaze delving into her soul, as if searching intensely for something in Coral.
And then all at once, she was melting in his arms, trembling against his powerful body as his mouth moved tenderly over her eyes, her cheeks, her neck, whispering his desire and his need softly in her ear. This must be what paradise is like, Coral thought crazily as she strained toward him.
Thank you so much, Hannah. I loved the story and can’t wait for the rest of the world to get a chance to read it!
If you want to find Hannah, I know that she would love to hear from her fans. Here is where you can find her –
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Hannah-Fielding-Author-Page/340558735991910
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5333898.Hannah_Fielding
Website - http://www.hannahfielding.net/
Twitter - @fieldinghannah