Today I’m pleased to welcome Annabel Fielding to the blog. Annabel’s novel, A Pearl for My Mistress, was published in ebook by HQ Digital on 9 August 2017.
Annabel kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about A Pearl For My Mistress.
I’d say, this is a story about three very different women get caught up in the political struggles of the 1930s, in three very different ways. It’s about the allure of fascism, the allure of love, the power of art and the art of climbing to power.
2. What inspired the book?
I’d say it was inspired by the period dramas that followed in the wake of Downton Abbey (I think we all remember that craze!), but in a sort of twisted way. I had this desire to explore the darker side of the world they’ve showed, to dissect all the political conflicts they only hinted at.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
Definitely a plan, plan, plan writer! In fact, it has taken me quite some time (two years, to be precise) to discard the romantic notions of a sudden inspiration and work out this kind of method for myself. After I’ve already had my detailed outline and scene-by-scene plan done, I’ve completed my first draft in about 2 months.
4. What have you discovered about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?
I’d say, that, as I’ve mentioned above, careful planning doesn’t take the creative part out of the process – on the contrary, as it allows you to work without the terrible anxiety of what-comes-next hanging over you.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I think I won’t be terribly original if I say reading. Though, when the weather is fine enough, I also enjoy city walks, hiking and photography.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant.
7. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
I’d say, it would a question of whether any points or characters in my novel were inspired by real events. I’d say, then, that nearly all of the most unrealistic events in the book were lifted straight from real biographies. For instance, the most sickening events and features of my Lucy’s childhood were taken from Diana Mitford’s biography; they actually had to be toned down a lot, for otherwise I would’ve been accused of blatant tear-jerking.
About the book
England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets