Elizabeth Chats With…Maria Hennings Hunt

Regular readers of my blog will already know how important the annual Writers’ Summer School in Swanwick is to me. And over the past few months, I have been featuring interviews with some of the Committee responsible for organising the 2019 programme. This month’s guest is the current Vice Chairman. She is also both a successful published writer and a fully qualified dance teacher. She worked in publishing for more than 20 years, spending 13 years with Travel Trade Gazette – the leading travel trade weekly newspaper in the UK. She also did a three month stint on the travel team at the Daily Express and wrote short stories for the women’s fiction market in her spare time. She went freelance in 1999, specialising in writing brochures and copy for the travel market whilst at the same time qualifying as a dance teacher. She now runs her own SE London based Dance school called Dance Generation and still writes shorts stories in her spare time. I am delighted to be chatting with Maria Hennings Hunt.

Hello Maria and welcome. Like me, you have travelled widely, both for pleasure and on business. So let’s start by talking about where’s your favourite place on earth — and why? 

My bed.  I love sleeping.  I am a passionate believer that the quality of your sleep is far more important than even the scientific studies tell us.  I bought a waterbed on a whim during a visit to the Ideal Home Exhibition back in the early nineties – and I would never, ever want to sleep on any ‘ordinary’ mattress ever again. Sleeping on a waterbed is amazing.  Given the chance – I can bore people for hours talking about why everyone should sleep on a waterbed, or at the very least invest in 400 thread count (minimum) sheets, a silk duvet and Siberian goose-down filled pillows (although I actually can’t afford those – so mine are Canadian). 

I guess you were probably not quite looking for an answer like that – so my other favourite place on earth is Mauritius.  I went there for a week over the New Year 18/19, with my daughter.  I’ve done a huge amount of travelling in my life (partly thanks to working on a travel newspaper for many years) and there are only a handful of places in the world that I wouldn’t hesitate to revisit.  Mauritius is definitely one of them.

How do you relax?  

I do Yoga.  Drink Wine.  Dance.  Do a bit more Yoga.  Drink more wine.  Dance again (especially after the wine).  Then I do the splits.  Because I can.  

Describe your ideal menu — and where would you like to eat it?  

I’d like a perfectly ripe avocado to start – simply dressed with course ground black pepper.  I am now hungry at the very thought and it’s 22:57.   

My main course would be a pasta dish that I make called ‘Broccoli Thing’.  I know that doesn’t sound very inspiring, but we could never think up a suitable name for it – it’s truly delicious.  If anyone would like the recipe, let me know! 

And for dessert?  Hmm…I’m torn between a crème brulee – smooth and creamy under a burnt, sweet crunchy topping or a velvety dark chocolate mousse – perhaps I can have both?

I’d like a bottle of chilled Pouilly Fume to drink alongside my starter & main and then, depending on the time of day, maybe a macchiato, or perhaps a glass of Port.  

Location?  Anywhere with my two children – although The Teenager isn’t that keen on Broccoli Thing and I bet he would try and trade his crème brulee for my chocolate mousse. 

If you were a car, what type would you be — and why? 

I’d be a Maserati.  A white GranCabrio convertible – sexy, sophisticated and sassy.  Almost exactly like my current white car – which is a Hyundai i10.    

Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?

I’m a 1st Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate (I still train and teach three times a week)

Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer? 

A juicy metaphysical discussion about Life, the Universe and Everything.  Must be accompanied with a glass or two of wine and go on for hours… slurp…

Show us a picture or a photo that best represents you, and tell us why (and it doesn’t have to be a portrait, although it can be). 

This is The Queen of Wands – she’s the most powerful, amazing, intuitive woman in the Tarot pack and I try to live my life in the same way I imagine she would – with courage, gratitude, determination, passion and love.

What would you have printed on the front of your T-shirt? 

Universe Provides

How do you see yourself in 25 years time?

Well – assuming humans aren’t extinct by then – I’d like to live out the rest of my life in much the same way as I do at the moment – with a few minor adjustments/improvements.  If sea levels haven’t already submerged SE London, I might consider moving nearer to the ocean, so I can walk on the beach on windy days and I will challenge my inner gardener to finally grow something more interesting than just tomatoes.  I will go to bed the sensible side of midnight (although I don’t suppose that will EVER happen) and eventually I might learn a few more chords to add to my guitar playing repertoire. I would listen to Country music every day, finish the novel that I’ve been working on since I was ten years old and grow my hair down to my waist.  I will carry on my love affair with designing posters for the yoga and dance classes that I’ll still be teaching and spend the afternoons napping as I’ll stay up late every night with my scissors, glue and piles of magazine cut-outs doing decoupage and creating book doors.  I’ll definitely dance and do the splits every day too and maybe I’ll get another couple of cats – is six too many?

Thank you for finding time to chat to me, Maria, especially when you are up to your eyes preparing for this year’s school. Readers, you can find out more about Maria’s dance school by clicking here.  


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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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