This is a great week for me. My book THE ITALIAN WIFE will be published in the United States on October 6th, so I just want to share a bit about it with you and delve into why I wrote this particular story. I will be posting interviews and articles here over the next few weeks to get you up to speed on how the book developed in my mind … and offer a glimpse into my weird and wonderful writing life!
This first interview is with Chick Lit Uncovered:
Tell us about your latest novel in 15 words.
Italy 1932. Love and danger as architect Isabella seeks the truth behind corruption and lies.
What inspired you to write The Italian Wife?
Italy itself inspired me – along with Mussolini’s incredible engineering feat of draining the 300 square miles of malarial swampland of the Pontine Marshes and building five new towns on it. The audacity of this bravado caught my imagination and I couldn’t stop thinking about what it must have been like to be a part of it, as the new towns were being built – a cauldron of strangers forced to live together. What were their hopes for this strange new future, and was corruption rife in the huge honey-pot of finances involved? What would happen if one of the architects were female and fell in love with the wrong person. I couldn’t wait to pick up my pen.
Where do you do most of your writing?
I love to write in the garden. Under my magnolia tree with my cat shuffling herself further and further on to my writing pad. That’s where I write my best scenes, but given that this is the UK and it has been known to rain, then I retreat to my desk upstairs away from distractions. But as I write with pen and pad, when my Deadline looms I have been known to write anywhere and everywhere – on trains and on windy beaches and even in a friend’s loo!
What is your favourite book?
Oh now, that is a tough question. So many I love. Classic book – has to be the incomparable ‘Jane Eyre’. Humorous book – any P G Wodehouse. Crime – Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Big Sleep’. (I would die happy if I could write like Chandler.) Contemporary novel – ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ by Barbara Kingsolver, an exquisite, layered and complex story.
Which part of The Italian Wife did you enjoy writing the most?
The scenes between Benito Mussolini and my main character Isabella. It’s always exhilarating to write a powerful character who lacks the inhibitions of most people, and I just let my imagination run free ….
Who is your favourite literary heroine?
I’m assuming you mean fictional heroine here. Without a doubt it has to be the flamboyant but feminist Southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara. I read ‘Gone With The Wind’ when I was a teenager and she made a big impact on me. I fell in love with her character – tempestuous, courageous, determined, difficult, loving, selfish, deceitful and utterly passionate about her beloved Tara. There is a part of her in all my heroines.
Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
My top tip is what every writer will tell you – read, read, and then read more. Never stop. You learn as you read. Analyse each chapter. See where the mistakes are, as well as the skills. Write something every day. You need to keep exercising that writing muscle.
Also writing is a solitary occupation and it is way too easy to lose perspective. We all do at times. So get honest feedback from others and grit your teeth to really listen. It helps. And find other writers, either in a writing group or online, because a support network is fabulous when you are going crazy. Which you will. So keep an open bottle of wine in the fridge. You’re going to need it!
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
To be honest, I was trying to keep it quiet for a bit longer but it has been winkled out of me! You have to understand, I fall in love with a place and find it hard to let go, so my next book is again set in bellissima Italy. But it takes place in 1945 when World War II is just over and times are brutally hard. It is set further south this time and it centres on a daughter trying to clear her father’s name when he is accused of crimes against Italy. Of course the research trip was dreadfully tough – all that limoncello and lobster and pannacotta to check out – but someone has to do it!
Today is Publication Day of THE ITALIAN WIFE!!!
Champers is open, so let the party begin! When you’ve exhausted your brain by deciding where to put your cross in the election, give it a break with a coffee and a thrilling trip to Italy with Isabella. So what’s the story about?
Take a peek:
Italy, 1932 — Mussolini’s Italy is growing from strength to strength, but at what cost? One bright autumn morning, architect Isabella Berotti sits at a cafe in the vibrant centre of Bellina, when a woman she’s never met asks her to watch her ten-year-old daughter, 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 draws vivid memories to the surface, forcing Isabella to probe deeper into the secrets of her own past as she tries to protect the young girl from the authorities. Together with charismatic photographer Roberto Falco, Isabella is about to discover that secrets run deeper, and are more dangerous, than either of them could have possibly imagined …
From the glittering marble piazzas to the picturesque hillside villages and winding streets of Rome, Kate Furnivall’s epic new novel will take you on an breathtaking journeyof intrigue, romance and betrayal.
“Kate Furnivall has a wonderful gift for evoking a location, and her stories are always fast-paced page-turners, peppered with authentic detail.” ~ Lucinda Riley
“The Italian Wife has everything: a fascinating setting in an extraordinary period of European history and a powerful love story. I loved this book.” – Liz Trenow, author of The Last Telegram
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.
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!