I believe that the setting a romance novel is essential for establishing a romantic mood and transporting the reader to the fantasy world I am creating, to capture not only their attention but also their emotions. The reader must be able to see, feel, taste, hear, smell everything my heroes and heroines are experiencing, and I call upon all the senses to render an authentic ambiance.
Coral stood on the deck at the top of gangplank, dazzled by the reflection of the blazing light. The late morning sun spread its fan of fire over the shimmering sea. The baking heat was suddenly very familiar, and she did not dislike it. Here and there flying fish erupted from the water in a show of sparkles. The air was heavy with redolent scents. It was all coming back to her now: the blend of tar, sea, ropes, mouldy timber, spices, and dry fish that haunts every port…
Vivid description has formed part of my writing style since its emergence, during my teenage years, because I am a very passionate and emotional person and places have always had a powerful influence on me.
I grew up in Alexandria, Egypt. My childhood memories are full of azure skies, the Mediterranean sea with its ever-changing shades of blue, gardens full of a kaleidoscope of vivid-coloured flowers and sweet-fragranced fruit, ripe for picking all the year round, and the sun… always the sun: blazing sunsets, breathtaking dawns, the countryside wrapped in a glory of ochre brilliant hues. How could I not be inspired? Then, when I reached womanhood, I was keen to explore beyond the boundaries of my home country, and I travelled widely. Spain, Italy, England, the Greek islands – so many cultures and peoples and amazing places to explore.
Kenya, in particular, stood out for me as a wonderfully colourful and wild setting. When I was a teenager Mr Chiombo Wangai, a Kenyan and a dear friend of my father’s, used to often come to visit. He was a great raconteur and used to tell me wonderful stories about his country, its people, its customs and its very exotic rituals. From time to time he lent me books about the place. Later, I travelled with my family to Kenya, and Mr Wangai showed us around his fascinating country. I fell in love with its beauty and the romance of the place.
When I decided to write, I had already a lot of information in my so-called diaries – notebooks that I have accumulated with anecdotes and thoughts about people and places which have taken (or not) my fancy. I also read a lot about Kenya , watched films and documentaries about the place and tried to soak up as much as possible about this beautiful country and its people. Finally, when I put pen to paper, Burning Embers came to life.
One of my favourite descriptions is the very first that the heroine, Coral, sees as she approaches Africa on a ship that has brought her from England:
Variant tones of pink were gently spreading into the sky, struggling to seep through the symphony of blues. A few moments later the sun burst forth, dazzling in this multicoloured canopy, and the dark outline of the landscape gradually loomed on the horizon, transforming first into the dark green, gray, and russet skirt of the jungle before revealing the bush, rising in layers toward the backcountry. Soon after, the port of Kilindini became visible, comfortably tucked away at the end of the estuary in the midst of vigorous vegetation.
Burning Embers is a contemporary historical romance novel set in 1970s Kenya. It tells the story of the developing love and passion between Coral, a naive, young English girl returning to the place of her birth, and Rafe, the handsome but tortured womanizer to whom Coral is inextricably drawn.
It's a story of long, hot African days and sultry nights; of slumbering beasts and awakening desires; of intrigue and darkness; of journeys beginning and ending; of growing up and letting go; of falling in love, and following your heart.
Click here to read an excerpt of Burning Embers on Hannah’s site!
The Author Talks about Herself:
(Note: I'm not responsible for the contents of this post, including the original post, the author profile and the pictures, as all of the above were provided to me by the author or taken from her website) ~Punya