Tell us about your latest release.
The Florentine Bridge follows the journey of a young woman by the name of Mia, who is in remission from cancer and is now trying to overcome some fears in her life. An aspiring artist, Mia has lost her motivation to paint as a result of what she’s been through, so when an opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it, in the hope that this trip will help her overcome her challenges and find a way back to her art. She doesn’t expect to fall in love though, and life throws Mia and her love interest, Luca, some pretty significant challenges to overcome that test their individual strength but also their strength as a couple. A sweeping love story with a rich Italian setting, this is a story that celebrates that special kind of timeless and enduring love, while also lending itself to a book club read, as it explores how we deal with fear and uncertainty, how we cope with traumatic events and how those situations might change the way we see the world and the beauty in it.
How long did it take to get published? Can you share a little about your journey to publication?
I wrote the first draft of The Florentine Bridge over a period of six weeks. I then spent time revising, and that same year I signed with an agent. From the time I was offered a two-book contract with Harlequin MIRA, around ten months passed before seeing it on shelves. It’s also being published in Slovene which is a thrill!
Are you a plotter or a “pantser”?
While I didn’t use an outline for The Florentine Bridge, I did for my second book. I’m not a meticulous plotter and I don’t know the ending of my stories when I start to write. I’m not sure if that will change with subsequent books, though! I enjoy not knowing what comes next as it allows for surprises to come through, although I think writing this way requires a bit more trust in the story itself.
What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?
Many of them have been lovely but some of the stand out comments have been ones where readers have said they’d never read a book like this before, or it moved them emotionally, resonated with them or it made it to their list of “ best books for the year” or their “favourites.” One reviewer called it, “Absolutely exceptional! Breathtaking; beautiful; heartbreaking and outstanding!” which completely stunned me. Reading time is so precious, so for readers to invest time in reading and then go on to share their lovely impressions of the book, it really is an honour and something I truly appreciate!
How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?
I try to guard my writing time by not making other appointments around it. No coffee or lunch dates with friends on writing days and if I’m under deadline the writing has to come first. If I really need to squeeze in more writing time, I get up very early in the morning because I don’t like writing at night. I find it hard to fall asleep afterwards!
What do you like best about being a writer?
I love being able to make something out of nothing. I love being able to play with language and let characters and a story come to life on the page. I’m so fascinated by the creative process, and really enjoy the freedom of being able to express myself in this way.
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?
To read a lot and read widely while taking notice of what you’re reading. There’s a fantastic book out there called Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose which is a great resource. I’d also say critique is a very useful thing for writers and it goes both ways. I’ve learnt just as much from critiquing others work than by having my own work critiqued. And lastly, I’d say learn to trust – yourself, your voice, your characters, your story.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
You can find me at www.vanessacarnevale.com