Today's interview is with Zana Bell.
1. Tell me about yourself and your new book, Fool's Gold?
As an immigrant to NZ, I have found the history fascinating – particularly the 1860s. There was a gold rush here – much as there had been in the US, Canada and Australia. These are particularly colourful times as gold draws people from all around the world, from all walks of life – and generally young, adventurous and resourceful.
NZ was also in the foment of social change. Victorian social codes did not always translate so easily in Aotearoa/NZ and so immigrants found their beliefs being challenged, their fortunes reversed – for better and worse....
You can see it was impossible to resist writing about these years.
2. And now I will do this differently. My second question is for Quinn.
What did you think of Guinevere the first time you met?
Well, she’s English. That says it all really. High-handed, foolhardy, impossible to reason with. Only an Englishwoman would be in a forest all alone, taking photographs of birds with no thought to the dangers around her. Her campsite was pitiful. Mind, when I say high-handed – she didn’t put on airs with me. She only got that hoighty-toighty tone when I tried to reason with her. She immediately disregarded any sensible guidance. Of course, I did notice she was pretty, but then I’d been out goldpanning for several months. All women begin to look mighty appealing at that stage.
And What did you think of Quinn the first time you met?
If was funny, actually, looking back. We met in the depths of the New Zealand wilds and I was furious initially. He had just ruined a photograph I’d taken hours setting up. Once I’d calmed down, I did have to concede he did it unknowingly. After that, I didn’t know what to make of him; celtically brooding one minute, helpful the next. He cooked us the most delicious meal over a fire, saving me from the dried up bread and cheese I’d brought along on the trip. Strangely, despite his reserve, I found him really easy to talk to. He’s a good listener. I felt safe with him. I also found his slow, lopsided smile and his lilting Irish accent most attractive. But of course, like all men, he took it upon himself to to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do. Since my father’s death, I’d had my fill of men and their infuriating advice. I cannot tell you how galling it was to have him go on to save my life!
Tell me about your dream woman
Naturally, she’d be Irish with black hair and green eyes. A grand singer and dancer. She’d be practical too; a good cook and housekeeper. She’d know how to lay out a vegetable garden well enough. I’m not sure I want children, but if we did, if goes without saying that she’d be a good mother.
Any dish on your dream man?
Well of course he’d be artistic – I don’t mean an artist as such, though that would be nice. But a poet is fine too. He’d be sensitive and understanding and care about the things that really matter in life like philosopy and art. At the same time, he must enjoy dinner parties and balls and know how to have fun. I couldn’t bear anyone grim or serious.
6. And lastly, for Zana. Are you working on something new right now?
I’m finishing off on a novel based on a real-life Gaelic community who moved from Nova Scotia to NZ in the 1850s and then, according to local legend, kidnapped a young Englishman to teach their children to speak English. He obviously didn’t take umbrage because he stayed on. I believe it was because he fell in love....
And thank you for inviting me to join you today!
Love – is it worth its weight in gold?
It’s 1866 and the gold rush is on. Left to fend for herself in the wilds of New Zealand’s west coast, Lady Guinevere Stanhope is determined to do whatever it takes to rescue her ancestral home and restore her father’s good name. Forced out of his native Ireland, Quinn O’Donnell dreams of striking gold. His fiercely held prejudices make him loath to help any English person, let alone a lady as haughty and obstinate as Guinevere. But when a flash flood hits, Quinn is compelled to rescue her, and their paths become entwined in this uncharted new world. Though a most inconvenient attraction forms between them, both remain determined to pursue their dreams, whatever the cost. Will they realise in time that all that glitters is not gold?
One of our favourite quotes from the book!
‘He had felt her quickening pulse during their kisses, had felt the flare of her passion. She was a
creature of impulse and would certainly follow her desires, a lady not used to being denied. But these
were dangerous games, all the more dangerous because now she owned his heart.’
Zana Bell describes herself as a big fan of Georgette Heyer and combines the elements of light-hearted romance with travel and adventure. She grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe and studied English Literature at the University of Cape Town. After travelling for several years doing a wide range of jobs, she immigrated to New Zealand where she now lives with her family and cats in a small harbourside community. Zana has previously published with Harlequin, Mira and a young adult book with Scholastic. She has won two Single Titles Reviewers Choice awards for her historical romances. Zana’s debut novel with Choc Lit, Close to the Wind, was published in October 2013.
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