Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Guest Post: Hannah Fielding

Gemini: an inspiration for Masquerade
Gemini, Gemini … Deceptive Gemini.
You think you know them, blinded by their wit and charm, 
Today they love you, tomorrow they may harm.
Chameleons of the Zodiac, they’ll lead your mind astray,
Into their murky waters they’ll drag you as their prey.
One body, two people, one heart, one mind, one soul;
One total complete entity; two sides to the same coin,
Evil lurks in every shadow for mile and mile and mile,
Behind a friendly mask, behind the friendly smile.
Deceit is all around, the curse you cannot break.
And it will last forever because of the mistake.
Unless love and its power can repair and erase
The scalding pain of hatred, and good it will embrace.
Forever rid of malice, at last you will be free.
Dear child, the truth reflects in this duality.
So sings a gypsy fortune teller to the heroine of my new book Masquerade. Luz is, quite understandably, sceptical of the old crone’s insistence that Luz’s fate lies with a Gemini. And yet as the story unfolds, she finds the fortune teller’s words eerily canny.
Gemini was a major inspiration for me when writing Masquerade. I have always been interested in astrology, and most of all by the sign of Gemini, which symbolises the psyche of the human race – the duality in our personalities. We all have two sides: good and evil, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary – two halves that together complete the whole. For one reason or another, we all wear masks concealing our inner thoughts and feelings, our ‘other side’. 
The idea of ‘the mask’ hugely appeals to me because it spells mystery, adventure, excitement and, most of all, romance. Romance novels have frequently used disguised identity to enhance a story. Often the birth of a great hero is shrouded in mystery or he has a hidden past that has led him to separate himself from the present. For example, Sir Gawain is shrouded by typical Arthurian ambiguities and Sir Percy Blakeney dons an outlandish disguise to become the Scarlet Pimpernel. Byron created a model for the romantic hero in his long poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, which is still compelling today. The ‘Byronic hero’, possessed of so many different characteristics, is sophisticated, slightly dangerous but, most of all, mysterious. 

Both heroes in Masquerade have some of those Byronic aspects and are shrouded in mystery, confusing Luz. On the one hand, Leandro, the fun-loving gypsy, comes from a world of danger, darkness and violence; on the other, the ambiguous, tenebrous Andrés was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, affording him a good education, wealth and an enviable place in society. With their striking physical resemblance but such fundamentally different characters, they embody the two faces of Gemini. Both are attracted to Luz: so whom will her heart finally choose, the gypsy or the hidalgo? 
Masquerade by Hannah Fielding

A young writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair, pulling her into a world of secrets, deception and dark desire.
Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo. Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro but almost the gypsy’s double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover.
Luz must decide what she truly desires as glistening Cádiz, with its enigmatic moon and whispering turquoise shores, seeps back into her blood. Why is she so drawn to the wild and magical sea gypsies? What is behind the old fortune-teller’s sinister warnings about ‘Gemini’? Through this maze of secrets and lies, will Luz finally find her happiness… or her ruin?
Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust. Are appearances always deceptive

Hannah Fielding bio
Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean. 
To date, Hannah has published four novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in Italy; and Indiscretion and Masquerade (from the Andalusian Nights Trilogy), her fieriest novels yet. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, Legacy, the final title in the trilogy, which is due to be published in spring 2016.

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