Sunday, 2 October 2016

Legacy by Hannah Fielding with guest post


A troubled young journalist goes undercover in Spain, and finds her loyalties tested when love and desire unearth secrets she hadn’t bargained for. When Luna Ward, a beautiful ice-blonde graduate, is commissioned by a leading New York science journal to investigate the head of a Spanish alternative health clinic, she jumps at the chance. But her life becomes far more complicated once she meets the man she has been tasked to expose. Luna finds Rodrigo de Rueda Calderon to be a brilliant, outspoken oncology specialist with irresistible, dark gypsy looks and a devilish sense of humour. 

The pair are irrevocably drawn to each other, but how can she give herself up to a passion that threatens to topple all reason? And how could he ever learn to trust the person who has kept her identity from him, even though he has a terrible secret of his own? The lovers unearth dark and brooding dramas in their family histories, binding them together in a web of intrigue that threatens to bring their lives toppling down.

Hannah has stopped by at The Book Corner today to share immersing herself in the novel's setting. Thanks so much, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have. Legacy is out now!

Immersing myself in the novel’s setting

In my home in Kent, I write in a wood-panelled room, surrounded by books – we call it the library. In France, I write overlooking the most fabulous view of the Mediterranean from a large picture window in my bedroom, or if it is not too hot, outside in our gazebo. Both are fantastic, inspirational settings in which to write. But it is not sufficient to be in those spaces when I am writing; I must simultaneously have one foot in the setting in which my novel is set.

Whatever the setting of my novel, during the research phase I work hard to learn all about the time and place. I travel, where possible, to the locations that will feature in the book, and wear through a pair of walking shoes as I explore and make lots of notes and take photographs. Back home, I read extensively on the setting’s history, architecture, legends and culture, from literature and dance to music and art, and on the customs of the local people.

Once the novel is planned and I am ready to write, it is important that I keep hold of the ‘feel’ of the place, which always features prominently in the story: my aim is to transport the reader to the setting, so that they are really drawn into the story world. During the months I am writing the story, therefore, I immerse myself in the setting so far as possible.

My Andalucían Nights series spans three books, and so I spent a wonderful couple of years living and breathing the Spanish way of life. I watched Spanish films (The Pleasure Seekers is my favourite); I wore out flamenco dance DVDs; I listened to all manner of Spanish music (especially Legends of Gypsy Flamenco). I spoke Spanish around the house, here and there, to keep ‘in the zone’ – a peppering of gracias and de nada and por favour and amor. I adopted a beautiful fringed shawl as my ‘writing shawl’ and a lace fan for keeping cool in the heat of summer.

For me, the most fun part is exploring the cuisine and eating customs of another country. I love the classic Spanish desayuno (breakfast), a small and simple meal of café con leche (milky coffee) and magdalenas, little fluffy, lemony cakes. While in Spain, I loved to tapear – hop from tapas bar to tapas bar for little nibbles, like patatas bravas (potatoes in spicy sauce) and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp). But of course this doesn’t quite work at home, so instead I have focused on the Spanish-style comida – the mid-afternoon meal – which has multiple courses and a strong emphasis on eating in good company. My family and I have loved adopting this Spanish custom, and I have tried out plenty of new recipes on them.

My absolute favourite recipe is this paella, which has fuelled so many days of writing Andalucían Nights. I hope you may try it at home; it’s super-easy, and fantastically tasty.

Hannah Fielding’s Authentic Spanish Paella (to serve 6)


2 cups short grain rice

1 1/2 cups mixed green, red, yellow and orange peppers chopped

1 cup green peas

24 prawns

24 scrubbed muscles

1 kilo monk fish

3 large Spanish onions chopped

6 large garlic cloves chopped

4 large pinches of saffron quickly boiled up in ¼ cup hot fish broth

3 large tomatoes chopped

6 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

6 cups of fish broth (you can use a Knorr cube)

1 cup white wine (optional)


1. In a large pot, bring about 2 cups of water to the boil. Add the fish cube and the prawns and boil until pink. Turn the heat off. Remove the prawns with a pair of tongs. Add the monk fish to the broth and cook on a medium heat until the fish is no longer transparent and is cooked through.

2. Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are transparent and the vegetables are softened. Stir in the tomatoes and the peas. Add the rice, and fry for another minute or so, then add the fish and saffron broth, white wine, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Don’t stir the rice or you’ll break it. Cover and cook until the rice is done. (You can add some water if the rice isn’t done and the water has evaporated.)

3. Uncover the pan and spread the prawns, muscles and monk fish over the rice, pushing them into the rice slightly. Add a little water if needed. Cover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes to heat everything through.

4. Garnish with parsley and serve. 

Legacy by Hannah Fielding is out on 29th September (£7.99)

I loved that recipe and think I may give it a go Hannah, thank you for sharing. 

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