Welcome to the blog, Kate!
Hi, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Can you tell us about your new book?
The Italian Wife is set in Italy 1932 when Benito Mussolini was ruling the country with the iron fist of Fascism. It is an exciting tale full of conflict and ambition, about two people bound together by love and courage who face danger, ruthless ambition and corruption. Isabella Berotti is a young architect who has learned not to trust anyone after her husband was shot ten years earlier. She is working as part of a team building a grandiose new town to the glory of Fascism, when she has an unknown child thrust upon her. She struggles to protect the child, Rosa, from those in power who wish to use her for political intrigue and she enlists the help of the photographer, Roberto Falco. Together they search for the truth behind the secrets and the fear that cast their shadow over the town. It is a complex emotional story full of twists and turns.
What has been your greatest experience of being a published writer?
Without doubt it was my book tour of America. To be honest, I was green and virginal in the ways of authors when my first book, The Russian Concubine, came out in 2007 and shot on to the New York Times Bestseller list. I was stunned. And when I was invited by my wonderful American publisher to do a book tour of the US, it seemed to be the stuff that dreams are made of.
It started with a warm welcome in San Francisco, followed by stylish events in Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, New York and Boston, with a whirlwind of flights and limousines, of handshakes and smiles, of bookstores and restaurants. I was running on adrenaline and praise - it was intoxicating. A totally magical ten days that I will never forget.
What was the first book you ever bought yourself?
I didn’t buy books when I was young. I lived in the library instead. But I remember in my teens buying a book called ‘The Arrangement’ by Elia Kazan and holding it tight in my hands when I’d finished, thinking, ‘This is what I want to do one day. Write a book like this.’
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was ‘Elizabeth is Missing.’ It is complex and totally compelling story of Maud, a woman with dementia. I was blown away by it. A brilliant debut novel. It is deeply harrowing but wickedly funny at the same time. I shall be looking out for more from Emma Healey.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
There is only one crucial piece of advice I would give:- read, read, read, and then write, write and write. Never stop doing both.
But other tips would be: be ruthless when editing and be prepared to kill off your darling sentences. Analyse what you read and work out what works for you, then go out and find a writing group to join – you’ll need all the support you can get. And ENJOY it!
Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I confess, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave Italy. Not yet. So I am now deep into the story of Caterina Lombardi who, after her father dies, takes on his master-craftsman business and … No, I must stop there or I’ll say too much. It’ll be out on Kindle at the end of the year.