I AM PLEASED TO WELCOME AUTHOR
BANTER – STUFF ABOUT YOU
Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like.
A: Winter: I love to snuggle up in an armchair in front of a log fire with a good book while a howling gale is raging outside.
Spring: I love watching nature wake up after a long slumber. Everything seems brighter: the birds are singing again, the grass has a special fresh smell and the vegetation sparkles with new growth.
Summer: I love the warm weather. The fruit in the orchard and vegetables in the garden are glowing, ripe for picking; the sun is shining in an azure sky and the butterflies and bees are enjoying the flowers.
Fall: I love the nostalgic poetry of autumn, with its kaleidoscope of russet-colored leaves, the smell of damp earth as you walk, and the light that is soft and melancholic so that it catches at your soul as the summer gradually blows away.
Q: Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep soundly. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else?
A:I grew up in a rambling house on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I could hear the ocean waves at night; they used to lull me to sleep and infuse my dreams. When I moved away, for a long time I missed that familiar sound. Today, when I am in my house in France, I can hear the waves lapping the shore of the beach just across the road. It’s wonderfully soothing.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I love music: it has such power to move, to affect, to inspire. When I write at my desk, I often have music on in the background – carefully selected to reflect the mood of the particular chapter I’m writing. I have many favourite singers but no favourite song: Italian, Peppino di Capri; French, Alain Barrière; American, The Beach Boys; Spanish, Julio Iglésias; Greek, Demis Roussos. The list goes on!
Q: List these in order of preference, French food, Chinese food, Italian food, Indian food, home cooking, backyard BBQ.
A: 1) Home cooking, because if I say so myself, I’m an excellent cook: I use the best ingredients and that way I’m sure I know exactly what has gone into the pot!
2) Chinese food, because it’s different: light, with wonderfully fragrant aromas. We don’t often have it so it’s a real treat.
3) Italian food; I love the way they cook vegetables and fish.
4) French food; I love it but it is sometimes too rich for me.
5) Backyard BBQ; as long as there’s lots of salad to accompany.
6) Indian food; a little too spicy and strong for my liking.
BOOKS – ABOUT THE CRAFT
Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: Stories and writing have always been part of my life. My grandmother was a published author of poetry and my father, a great raconteur, published a book about the history of our family.
My governess used to tell me the most fabulous tales and when I was seven, we came to an agreement: for every story she told me, I told her one in return. Later, at the convent school I went to, the French nuns who taught us sowed in me a love of words and of literature. When I was fourteen, I wrote short romantic stories that I circulated in class, which made me very popular with my peers but less so with the nuns! In addition, since a young age I have kept some sort of a diary where I note my feelings, ideas and things that take my fancy (or not).
To quote Anais Nin: “If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write.” I do all that. Writing is my life.
Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: I find the hardest and the most challenging parts for me are the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph. The first must encourage the reader to continue his or her journey into the novel, to want to get to know the characters and their story; and the last must leave the reader with a feeling of contentment and maybe a tinge of melancholy because the voyage has come to an end and it is as if he or she is saying farewell to a friend.
Q: Are you a sit down and play it by ear kind of writer, or do you need a structured guideline, or maybe a little of both?
A: I have a very rigid routine which has served me well. Having researched my facts thoroughly, I plan my novel down to the smallest detail. Planning ahead, I have found, makes the writing so much easier and therefore so much more enjoyable. I use my plan as a map. I never set out on a long journey by car without a map, and the same applies to my writing.
Q: How do you handle a writer's block?
A: One of my favourite quotes about writer’s block is this: “Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: ‘Fool!’ said my muse to me, ‘look in thy heart, and write.’”
― Sir Philip Sidney
― Sir Philip Sidney
I have two ways of dealing with writer’s block.
The first one is patience. If you sit there in front of a blank page – and I’ve done that, sometimes for as much as a couple of hours – the muse eventually takes pity on you and visits.
The second one is to get into my car and drive to a place that has inspired me in the past. It might be a garden overlooking the sea, a meadow carpeted with wildflowers if I’m searching for a setting for a love scene, or a cafe bustling with people where I can find the description for one of my characters.
BOOKS - NOW LETS PROMOTE – STRUT YOUR STUFF
Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: This summer, my publisher is planning to bring out Masquerade, Book 2 of The Andalucian Nights Trilogy of which Indiscretion, launched in April, was the first.
A young Spanish writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair – until an unexpected attraction pulls her into a world of secrets, revenge and mystery.
Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as a biographer to a famous artist. On her first day back, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart. Even though relationships with gypsies are taboo and her family are suspicious of his kind, Luz becomes fascinated by him.
Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the suave, sophisticated Andres de Calderon. Reserved but darkly compelling, he is completely different to Leandro – and almost the doppelganger of the gypsy. Both of them stir feelings in Luz that are unfamiliar and exciting, but danger, secrets and lies surround the two men in ways she has yet to discover.
Luz must decide where her heart lies, and determine the price of desire – her happiness, her ruin, or something far worse? Should she listen to the gypsy witch who appears with strange warnings about Gemini? And who will she finally choose, the gypsy or the hidalgo?
Q: How can we find you?A: Here are some links:
Indiscretion is my new romance book.
1950’s London. Alexandra, a young writer is bored of her suffocating but privileged life amongst the gilded balls and parties of Chelsea. Keen for an adventure, Alexandra travels to Spain to be reunited with her estranged Spanish family on a huge estate in Andalucía.
Arriving in sun-drenched southern Spain for the first time, Alexandra is soon caught up in the wild customs of the region. From bull fighting matadors and the mysterious Gypsy encampments in the grounds of the family’s estate, to the passionate dances of the region and the incredible horsemanship of the local caballeros, Alexandra is instantly seduced by the drama and passion of her new home.
When Alexandra inevitably falls for Salvador, the mercurial heir to her family’s estate and the region’s most eligible man, she finds herself entangled in a web of secrets, lies and indiscretion. Alexandra soon falls prey to scheming members of her own family, the jealousy of a beautiful marquésa and the predatory charms of a toreador, all intent on keeping the two lovers apart.
But nothing can prepare Alexandra for Salvador’s own dangerous liaisons with a dark-eyed Gypsy.
Can Alexandra trust that love will triumph, or will Salvador’s indiscretion be their undoing?
An Excerpt of Indiscretion
"Turning into the Calle de la Iglesia, Alexandra was immediately struck by the contrast between the quarter she had just walked through and this one. Here, the street was immersed in the shade of giant flame trees and life suddenly slowed to a more leisurely pace. She passed white houses tucked away between clumps of pomegranate trees; orchards hemmed in by dry stone walls; hedges of aloe; secret, leafy patios, the domain of women and their families, where the warbling of birds and the smothered laughter of young girls mingled with the soft murmur of fountains.
She had almost reached the end of the street when bells began ringing the Angelus, calling worshippers to Evensong. To her right was a small chapel. It seemed so welcoming, the garden planted out with roses and mimosas, front doors open, inviting passersby to enter.
On impulse, she went in. Inside, it was dark, quiet and cool. The organ was playing softly and the scent of orange blossom and roses filled the place. Alexandra was overcome by a feeling of great serenity and slowly moved towards the altar.
Her eyes took a few minutes to grow accustomed to the relative gloom. On each side of the main aisle, ten or so rows of oak benches stood in perfect orderly fashion. There were flowers everywhere: in garlands, in dainty crystal vases on the altar, in bunches of various sizes, placed as offerings at the feet of the statues of saints that filled the church. Several candles burned in thanks for prayers that had been answered; all were witness to the faith and gratitude of the devout worshipers who had carefully placed them there.
At first, Alexandra thought she was alone but she soon noticed a man, a few paces away, kneeling on a prayer stool at the foot of Saint Mary of Mercy’s statue. His broad shoulders were hunched beneath a shock of jet-black hair, his face hidden in slender, suntanned hands. It was dark, so why she should think that this was the stranger she had already encountered on the seafront and why her heart was beating so hard against her ribs, she couldn’t say, but she had no doubt at all that it was the same man.
Footsteps and whispering made her turn around. A man began to speak in a nasal singsong voice that echoed strangely from the walls of the little church, disturbing the peace and tranquillity: ‘This is the Church of Santa María. As in most of our Spanish towns, Our Lady of Mercy is its all-powerful and well-loved patron saint, a friend who protects all, be they lords or paupers.’ It was a tour guide who had appeared in the doorway, ushering his party of tourists into the church.
‘Our land is rich in legends about the Virgin Mary. The most moving is the one about the young Jewish girl who fell in love with a Christian knight. Despairing of ever attracting his attention, the beautiful maiden turned to our Virgin here, on whom everyone called. Humbly, she gave all she possessed: a pin decorated with a tiny glass bead. The miracle happened: the knight passed by at that very moment, saw her, and his heart was forever linked to hers by the pin she had given as an offering.’
The group of sightseers passed Alexandra and disappeared through a low door at the back of the church leading to the crypt. Peace returned.
All the while, the man on the prayer stool had not moved. Alexandra went up to the statue of Our Lady of Mercy to light a candle but a priest had just gone by to clear up the melted wax from the previous batch of devotees’ offerings, and she neither had matches nor a lighter handy. A faint tch of annoyance escaped her lips.
‘Permita me señorita.’
Alexandra had scarcely time to register the quiet words spoken unexpectedly, close to her ear, before the stranger’s brown hand had flicked a gold lighter in front of her, bringing to life a tiny blue flame and at the same time brushing against her arm.
The spark that went through her at the Spaniard’s touch made Alexandra shudder and, emitting a slight gasp, she instinctively drew back in the first instance. But then, as she realized he was only trying to be helpful, she raised her face, smiling as readily and uninhibitedly as she always did.
‘Gracias, muchas gracias.’
There was utter silence in the church. The man did not smile but merely inclined his head, leaving Alexandra, as he had earlier on, with the impression that inbred courtesy had prompted him to lend his assistance, rather than the more usual reasons men found for helping her. Still, her green gaze met his. She was struck by the expression of sadness reflected in his arresting grey irises and the sternness of his hard, regular features.
An almost visible current leapt between them. For a split second, the determined line of his jaw stiffened, his well-defined lips parted and she thought he might speak. Her heart missed a beat…"
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