Sunday, 29 March 2015

Guest Post: Hannah Fielding's Imaginary Bookshop

Today Hannah Fielding, as part of her blog tour for her new novel, Indiscretion, has popped over to answer the Imaginary Bookshop Q&A.

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Hi Hannah, congratulations on the publication of your novel, Indiscretion and thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper and becoming the latest author to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
The Book Emporium: I’ve always loved the connotations of ‘emporium’ – sort of magical and olde worlde.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
In the village near my home in Kent (because an imaginary bookshop doesn’t need to worry about location in terms of commercial viability). In a beautiful old building with lots of quirky historical features and little nooks and plenty of light cast from higgledy-piggledy windows overlooking fields stretching all the way to the sea.

Would your bookshop have any special features?
Oh yes! Plenty of comfortable armchairs to read in. A log fire crackling away in winter, and a courtyard garden at the back open to all in the summer. Artworks inspired by works of literature – from paintings to book sculptures. Gentle acoustic music. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and baking cakes emanating from the little café onsite. A dedicated events space continually humming with activity: signings, readings, talks, meetings, screenings of big-screen book adaptations. A second-hand book-swapping programme.

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
It would be a true destination for book lovers – a place to visit and stay for an hour or more.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
I’d have every kind of book, to attract every kind of reader – a fully inclusive shop. But I’d have one creative area where I departed from the usual approach to sectioning by genre, organising by theme, perhaps, or style, or cover. It would be the ‘discovery zone’ – a place a reader would go to find a new writer’s work, rather than just sticking to browsing the usual genres.
Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
An eclectic mix, changed daily to accommodate plenty of authors and encourage readers to visit the shop often. I’d have one table with books I chose, and another that visitors to the store were encouraged to place their own choices upon.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
A reading from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. To hear Cathy and Heathcliff’s story from her own lips – I can imagine how silent the events space would be as the guests hung on her every word.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, Indiscretion and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
Well, there’s plenty I’d love to say, but I wouldn’t want to scare them off with a long speech. So I’d simply say, ‘It’s a passport to another time and another country and a whole host of emotion – most of all, love.’

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Chocolate, definitely, and plenty of it! Romance novels and chocolate cake go together like sunsets and dreams.

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Hannah Fielding was born and grew up in Alexandria, Egypt. Her family home was a large rambling house overlooking the Mediterranean where she lived with her parents and her grandmother, Esther Fanous, who had been a revolutionary feminist and writer in Egypt during the early 1900s.

Fluent in French, English and Arabic, Hannah’s left school at 18 and travelled extensively all over the world. Hannah met her husband in England and they lived in Cairo for 10 years before returning to England in 1989.  They settled in Kent, bringing up two children in a Georgian rectory, surrounded by dogs, horses and the English countryside. During this time, Hannah established a very successful business as an interior designer renovating rundown cottages.

With her children now grown up, Hannah now has the time to indulge in her one true passion, which is writing. Hannah has so far published two novels Burning Embers set in 1970s Africa and The Echoes of Love set in 1980s Venice. Her romance novels are adored by readers all over the world.


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