Melinda Dozier , talented romance writer and wonderful critique partner, tagged me for this Blog Hop!, hosted by Page after Page . Thanks, Melinda!!

As Page after Page points out, all of our stories come from somewhere, whether it be a dream, another book, a life event, etc. And as writers, we need to be promoting our stories on a regular basis so that others will want to read them.

According to the rules, I should answer the following ten questions. Then, tag five people to answer the questions. (You can use the same ones, or make up your own. Just remember – they all have to be about the your book!)

  1. What is the name of your book? In the Shadow of the Apennines
  2. Where did the idea for your book come from?I love the Italian region of Abruzzo and spend a lot of time there with my family, skiing, hiking and exploring the little medieval towns. We were saddened by the terrible earthquake that destroyed L’Aquila – a medieval gem – in 2009. After that earthquake, there were lots of references to Pescina, the epicenter of a devastating 1915 Abruzzo earthquake. I first visited Pescina on a  perfect summer day, with the cicadas chanting and stray cats wandering through the ruins of the homes destroyed almost a century earlier. I visited Ignazio Silone’s tomb, set out just as the writer requested it, with a stunning view over the Fucino. A story began taking shape in my mind about the lives of a simple peasant girl from Pescina a century ago and a damaged, modern-day American woman seeking out a new life in Abruzzo.
  3. In what genre would you classify your book? Women’s fiction, both contemporary and historical
  4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose? Gosh, I’d be awful at casting actors… but, as a travel addict, I’d be great at suggesting filming locations.
  5. Give us a brief synopsis of your book. Samantha moves to a mountain home in Abruzzo, hoping to start a new life after the break-up of her marriage and a failed university career. But her attempts at breaking into the closed mountain community are quickly thwarted when the residents discover Samantha’s snarky blog ridiculing the town and its inhabitants. Shunned and increasingly isolated in her mountain cottage, Samantha seeks solace in the letters and diaries she discovers, written by a past tenant in her home – a survivor of the devastating 1915 Pescina earthquake. Despite the century that separates the two women, Samantha feels increasingly drawn into Elena’s extraordinary life and discovers startling parallels that allow her to better understand her own.
  6. Is your book already published/represented? No! I’m still on last revisions, taking on board the suggestions of all my amazing critique partners, then I want to start pitching it.
  7. How long did it take you to write your book? The first draft went quickly – a little over four months. But setting it aside and then getting to revisions has taken double that …ahem.
  8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours? Hopefully readers, like me, who enjoy discovering that the hopes and dreams of women can remain remarkably similar, across oceans, economic and social divides, and centuries. And, of course, anyone who loves Italy as much as I do…
  9. The first 50 words… Christmas Eve.The wind whips through the fireplace with a howl, setting the flames off on a wild dance. I startle at the sound of a shutter banging upstairs.  My head is throbbing. I never used to suffer from headaches, yet now they plague me almost daily.
  10. Have you been inspired to write other novels? Whoops ! Maybe this is why revisions are so slow. I always enjoy moving on to the next project. I’m pretty far along with two other women’s fiction manuscripts now and I’m trying to put together a collection of short stories.


Tagging (I always love this part!):

Chantel Rhondeau – Talented writer (and critique partner), who is finalzing her romance/suspense novel for self-publishing

Claire, Word by Word – Claire maintains a fantastic blog for writers, readers, and Fracophiles… and I admit I’m curious to learn more about her manuscript because I’m her future audience – it’s set in Italy!

Kim Golden – Swedish-based Kim just self-published her short stores, The Melanie Chronicles, and I’m curious to hear more about the background of writing these stories…. before I hear it in person at the next Matera Festival.

Julia Hones – Julia, another amazing critique partner, has a great site for writers and is a talented author of short stories, many set in Latin America.

Lucie Ulrich – Critiquing guru and author. Because Lucie’s novel in progress, The Rose Ring, is such a  pleasure to read, I’d love to learn the background behind it.