Hannah Fielding – Q&A

Hannah Fielding’s latest novel, Song of the Nile, was published by London Wall Publishing on 27 May 2021.

Hannah kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about Song of the Nile.

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?

2. What inspired the book?

I have always been fascinated by the 1940s in Egypt. My parents and grandparents were friends with the aristocracy at the Palace, and my mother used to tell me about all the magnificent parties she attended there in her youth. This was a time of glamour and frivolity for the aristocracy, of polo tournaments and glittering balls and picnics by the Nile. But in the same decade, the country was dealing with war and the stirrings of revolution, and a lot of trafficking of antiquities, arms and drugs was going on. So I decided to write a love story built around those facts and drawing on the rich culture and history of my homeland.

3. What is a typical writing day for you?

I write every day. Writing is my life and also a job – a very enjoyable job.

I wake up very early and do my chores first thing. After a cup of passion-fruit tea, in the morning I start off by looking at my online marketing for an hour or so. Then most days I sit and write through the day, with an hour for lunch and errands. When I’m dreaming up a plot, I take some time in the afternoon for a long walk, or to sit in a café and people-watch.

4. You lift your head up from the page/screen. What surrounds you when you write?

That depends on whether I’m at my home in Ireland or the South of France, and it depends on the season. In the winter, for example, you may find me writing at the kitchen table, cosy in the warmth from the stove and surrounded by pots and pans, cookbooks and ingredients. In summer, I’m often to be found writing in the gazebo in my French garden, which is nestled amid beautiful flowers and has a wonderful view of the Mediterranean.

5. Who would be at your dream literary dinner?

I read French Literature at university, so of course I would love to dine with 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. I’m sure the conversation would be lively!

6. If you had to choose, which would you give up, reading or writing?

Reading, I suppose, because I can’t imagine never writing again. But the idea of not reading is terrible, and surely in order to write we must read. Oh dear, what a tangle. I fear this is an un-answerable question!

About the Book

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/.

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