A Pearl For My Mistress by Annabel Fielding
England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A)Of course. Essentially, it’s a story about three very different women get caught up in the political struggles of the 1930s, in three very different ways. It’s about the allure of fascism, the allure of love, the power of art and the art of climbing to power.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A)I have got the first idea back in 2014, but, for two years, it drowned in the incoherency of my research and my confusion at the whole writing process. It was only in the spring of 2016 when I have finally decided to set myself a reading list, a way to systematize my research, then a detailed outline, a chapter-by-chapter plan… As a result, I was able to have a revised draft with me by autumn.
I was totally new to the publishing process (and living outside the UK didn’t help!), so, for several months, I had been querying agents and young digital publishers, who didn’t mind unsolicited manuscripts. I have even tried self-publishing, but let’s just say that famous comparison to giving birth in a bar proved to be apt. So, when in March 2017 I have received The Call (or, rather, The E-Mail) from one of the HarperCollins imprints, I couldn’t have been more happy! It was like finding a home at last.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A)For historical fiction and politics, I’d say Hilary Mantel and Sarah Dunant, especially the latter’s Borgia duology. They are both really great at capturing the atmosphere of their respective eras – the fears, the hopes, the gore, the art.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) Lord of the Rings, I think. On some winter nights in my boarding school, I used to dream about the glades of Lothlorien.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) I’d say, it was seeing my book encouraged and promoted by my publisher. It really makes you feel you’re not alone anymore.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) It was probably my best friend, who has kindly read all the incoherent snippets, ideas and character playlists I sent her way.
*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.