Publication Day is approaching! May 7 is the Big Day when THE ITALIAN WIFE will be released in the UK. So there is much excitement in the Furnivall household.
I’ve reached the point when nerves kick in. I start to wake in the night with mental images of its gorgeous new UK cover leaping up and down on shelves in bookstores and supermarkets with my heroine, Isabella, reaching out to entice readers into her story. Because it’s quite a story.
It is about one woman’s love for a man who is a danger to her and about her driving ambition to become the finest architect in the country. Set in Italy in 1932 the story takes place in an unusual region just south of Rome called the Pontine Marshes – Agro Pontino – at a time when the country was in the grip of Fascism. Benito Mussolini rules as a ruthless dictator and is determined to transform Italy into a modern power.
Isabella is passionate about designing the new town that Il Duce has set out to build and she blanks out all else from her life but her work. But in one single moment in the town square, her world is tipped upside down. An orphan child enters her life and everything changes.
THE ITALIAN WIFE is a powerful tale about love and ambition, about courage and betrayal. Secrets and corruption haunt the new town and lead to a hunt for a killer through the ancient mountains of Italy. And over everything is cast the long shadow of Mussolini’s Rome.
Exciting time!! My new book THE ITALIAN WIFE is published on 25 November in Australia and New Zealand. It is always a breath-holding moment when a new book is launched into a big wide world of waiting readers and I am thrilled that my loyal Australian and New Zealand readers will be getting their mitts on it for Christmas. But don’t worry if you are in the UK because THE ITALIAN WIFE will also be published on KINDLE on 25 Nov.
So champers all round!
What’s the book about?
It is set in beautiful Italy in 1932. Mussolini is in power and Fascism grips the country with an iron first. No one is safe.
One bright autumn morning, architect Isabella Berotti sits at a cafe in the vibrant piazza at the heart of the new town Bellina, when a woman she has never met asks her to watch her nine-year-old daughter, Rosa. Just for a moment. Reluctantly Isabella agrees – and then watches in horror as the woman climbs to the top of the town’s clock tower and steps over the edge. This tragic encounter forces Isabella to probe deep into the secrets of her own past and, with the help of charismatic photographer Roberto Falco, she discovers that some secrets are more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.
From the glittering marble piazzas to the picturesque hillside villages and winding streets of Rome, THE ITALIAN WIFE will take you on a complex journey of intrigue, romance and betrayal.
Why did I choose Italy?
I defy anyone not to fall in love with Italy, it is so enchanting. I have always wanted to set one of my books there, but was looking for the right story and the right setting. I like to embed my stories in tumultuous times, in fragile moments of history, and the regime of Mussolini provided exactly that. But it wasn’t until I heard about Il Duce’s ambitious draining of the Pontine Marshes, the ‘Agro Pontino’ – a mammoth undertaking – in order to build five new towns, that I knew I had found my precarious moment that would form the background to my story. My heroine Isabella is an architect who designs the town’s clock tower. When I travelled to Latina, one of Mussolini’s showpiece new towns 30 km south of Rome, I looked up at the magnificent clock tower and imagined what would be going through Isabella’s head when she sees the woman step off her tower. That moment changes Isabella’s life. She has to discover whether the man she loves has secrets that may prove him to be her greatest enemy …..
Everything about this fascinating time and place inspired me. I hope you will enjoy exploring them with me..
I am thrilled to announce that my latest book THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN is published in the US this week by my wonderful publisher Penguin/Berkley. Huge thanks to them for a superb cover that I’m hoping will have the book jumping off the shelves.
It is set in the Bahamas 1943. Young Dodie Wyatt hoped to escape her turbulent past when she fled to Nassau. But the world is at war and one night the peaceful life she has created for herself in her shack on the beach is shattered when she discovers a man dying in an alleyway. On the other side of the city elegant Ella Sandford is married to a powerful diplomat who is assistant to the Duke of Windsor, Governor of the Bahamas. But Ella has her own secrets – ones that threaten to tear apart her safe and ordered life.
When Ella’s world collides with Dodie’s, they find themselves caught in a spiral of violence and greed that rips through Nassau. But Dodie falls deeply in love with a mysterious American stranger on the island, and together they fight to uncover the truth behind the bloodshed while struggling to keep each other alive in this dangerous new world.
It is a story that looks at love and betrayal. At courage and cowardice. But above all it portrays the forceful bond of friendship that shapes the lives of these two strong women, Dodie and Ella.
I hope you enjoy it!
Great excitement here!
My new book THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN is being published this week on Thursday 14th August by my fabulous publisher Little, Brown/Sphere. It is an exciting story set in the Bahamas in 1943, a time when the world was at war and even paradise wasn’t safe.
It is a powerful tale about what it means to find love, but also what it means to lose it. THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN centres on two very different woman whose lives are changed for ever when they fall in love with men who become involved in a murder that shocks the world. This book looks at love and betrayal. At courage and cowardice. But above all it portrays the forceful bond of friendship that shapes the lives of these two strong women, Dodie and Ella.
Dodie Wyatt is young and from the wrong side of the tracks. Feisty, angry at life, a loner. She’s got a lot to learn. She lives in a shack on a white-sand beach. And then there’s Ella. She has it all. Married to a wealthy diplomat, she has time and money to spend on her quest to improve life for the natives and the brave boys in military uniform. But her marriage is as empty as her champagne glass. It is when the paths of these two women cross that their worlds start to collide.
Watch out for the Goodreads give-away of copies to readers. Good luck!
Having been woefully remiss about keeping my blog active in recent months, I was tagged last week by the lovely and talented Claire Dyer to take part in this Blog Hop. See her own Blog Hop here: http://www.clairedyer.com/?page_id=12. So thank you, Claire, for nudging me back into blogging mode.
You see, it’s far too easy to sink into a familiar writing rut that fits comfortably into the jigsaw of one’s life.
That’s why it strikes me as a particularly Good Thing to get poked and prodded out of my Comfort Zone every now and again, to be asked Blog Hop questions that make me re-evaluate what I do and why I do this crazy business of WRITING. So bring it on!
Four set questions. Let’s start with the easy one.
What am I working on?
I am deep into my next book – it’s set in Italy 1932 when Mussolini was in power and Fascism gripped the country with an iron fist. My heroine is an architect who is ambitious to leave her mark on one of the new show-towns that Il Duce is building just south of Rome – but corruption and intrigue spin a web around her. She finds love but at a cost ….. And I’m loving it.
So I am spending my days chatting in my head with Isabella and Roberto and Dottore Cantini and Capitano Sepe and Rosa – and what happens is …. No! Stop there!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
To be honest, I don’t think there are that many other authors writing in my area of the historical genre. I create a sweeping mix of love and adventure, of betrayal and violence, and combine them with a strong injection of history and early 20th century politics. But where mine differ from most is in the settings I choose for my stories – like the icy tundra of Russia, the ancient cities of China, a family rubber plantation in Malaya or the scarcely mentioned role of the shimmering blue skies of the Bahamas in the fight for victory during World War II. But when I write, I don’t think – how can I be different? I find an idea or a place or a character that excites me and I hope that I can make it exciting for my readers too.
Why do I write what I write?
Because I am fascinated by it. I was inspired to write my first novel – THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE – by the extraordinary story of my grandmother’s perilous escape from Russia during the Revolution when she fled to China.
That was when I realised that I adore digging around in tumultuous corners of history and finding out how the events impact on the personal lives of my characters. It is a journey of constant discovery. Stick me in a room full of dusty research books and I am as happy as a hippo in mud.
I love to put strong gutsy characters into a richly colourful setting and test them to the utmost, watching the layers peel away and exploring what lies at the core beneath. And then – of course – let’s not forget that there’s all the research travel to faraway places that I have to do for my readers …..
How does your writing process work?
I wish I had a process. Writing each book feels completely different and each time it evolves its own rules and routines. But I always start with the research and make hundreds of pages of notes, 95% of which I never use, but I need them in my head to make myself totally confident in the new world I am about to create. I start slowly, easing myself in, and gather momentum as I go. I make a skeleton plan but it is only a very loose collection of bones and I get excited about not yet knowing what is going to happen to surprise me and my readers along the way – though I always have a definite ending in sight. I try to write every day, even if it’s just a few words – partly because I have a Dreaded Deadline to meet, but also because I fall in love with my characters and want to hang out with them as much as possible. This writing business is a weird process!
So that’s it from me. But next week you’re in for a real treat. I will be handing the verbal Blog Hop batton to three lovely writers:
SHEHANNE MOORE writes gritty, witty, historical romance, set wherever takes her fancy. What hasn’t she worked at while pursuing her dream of becoming a published author? Shehanne still lives in Scotland, with her husband Mr Shey. She has two daughters. When not writing smexy historical romance, where goals and desires of sassy, unconventional heroines and ruthless men, mean worlds collide, she plays the odd musical instrument and loves what in any other country, would not be defined, as hill-walking
LINDA MITCHELMORE was born in Devon where she still lives. When a virus robbed her of her hearing she turned to writing as a means of communication and has had over 300 short stories published worldwide. In 2012 Choc Lit published her first historical novel, TO TURN FULL CIRCLE, followed by its sequel, EMMA: There’s No Turning Back. She has just finished the third in this trilogy. She has had two novellas published as ebooks – HOPE FOR HANNAH and GRAND DESIGNS. When not writing, Linda enjoys walking and cycling.
twitter.com/@lindamitchelmor (no e on the end)
MICHELLE J HEATLEY ‘s debut novel FISH SOUP is to be published this summer by Sunpenny Publishing. She has had stories published in the Stratford Literary Festival anthology and in magazines in the UK and Australia. In addition a number of her stories have been broadcast on SoundArt Radio. Michelle lives in Brixham and gets inspiration from the beautiful South Devon coast.
You can reach Michelle at:
Michelle Jayne Heatley@facebook.com