Behind the Story: Vanessa Carnevale

Vanessa_Carnevale.jpgToday I am honoured to have the delightful Vanessa Carnevale on my blog today. Vanessa is an author and freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Passionate about writing and creativity, Vanessa coaches writers to embrace their words and enjoys presenting workshops that inspire budding authors to get their books written. She is also the creator and host of Your Beautiful Writing Life, writing retreats, the first of which she held in Tuscany, Italy, in 2016.

In her early twenties, Vanessa spent several years living in Florence, Italy, where she met her husband and discovered a love of travel and la dolce vita. She now considers Italy her second home. The Florentine Bridge is her first novel.

Vanessa, please tell us about your Story Behind the Story.

In my early twenties I travelled to Europe, a trip that would change the course of my life. I accidentally fell in love not only with the man who would become my future husband, but with Italy, or more specifically, Tuscany. I ended up moving to Florence, where I lived and worked for several years, right in the infamous piazza that houses Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome. I learnt many things during my time in Italy; how to ride a scooter, what a table celebration truly means, what makes a good Chianti and how to embrace the hand gesture! Italy is steeped in all of these things, but most beautiful of all is the way that Italians truly embrace the concept of ‘the slow life’ taking each day as it comes. Perhaps one of the things I loved most about Italy was how life seemed to chug along at a pace that never felt hard to keep up with.

During my time in Italy I kept lots of notes about my observations about life, thinking that one day they might come in handy if I wanted to write a book some day. I sold my first freelance article while living in Italy but put off writing fiction for some time.

When I did eventually sit down to write a novel, a lot of my memories about life in Italy came surfacing back as I read through those original notes. I knew then, that the book I was about to write, would be set in Tuscany, the perfect backdrop for a young aspiring artist by the name of Mia who was in remission from cancer and had lost her motivation to paint because her perspective on life had changed.

Creating an artistic character fit so well with the setting – Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance is steeped in so much culture, that it’s hard to overlook the beauty of this incredible city.

I didn’t expect to write a love story though, but a story of enduring, once-in-a-lifetime, timeless love unfolded once handsome Luca made an appearance in the early chapters of the book and was determined not to fly under the radar unnoticed!

“Full of heart and hope, The Florentine Bridge is a love story about the dolce vita in Tuscany.”

The Florentine bridge (1).jpgMore about The Florentine Bridge:

Young Australian artist Mia Moretti has been cancer free for nine months. But her battle with the illness has taken its toll, leaving her depressed and tormented by overwhelming fears. What’s more, she can’t seem to paint anymore. Mia needs a fresh start so when a surprise opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it. With any luck, this trip will help her find whatever it is she needs to open her heart and start painting again.

What she doesn’t count on is meeting Luca, a handsome Italian mechanic. With his smile, his warmth and his inspirational outlook on all the good things life has to offer, he sweeps her off her feet. As Mia slowly lets down her walls and allows Luca in, her passion for life is reignited and her new perspective begins to inspire her art. But just when she’s ready to let go of her past, will a tragedy threaten her new life with Luca?

Full of heart and hope, a love story about la dolce vita in Tuscany.

Buy links for book/series

http://www.harlequinbooks.com.au/product/9781489214539

You can connect with Vanessa: 
Web: www.vanessacarnevale.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/vanessacarnevalewriter
Twitter www.twitter.com/v_carnevale
Your Beautiful Writing Life Retreats: www.yourbeautifulwritinglife.com

 

 

Advertisements

Story Behind the Story: Cassandra O’Leary

profileToday’s guest for the Story Behind the Story is the delightful Cassandra O’Leary, who is a romance and women’s fiction writer, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. 

In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK and her debut contemporary romance/romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, releases in July 2016. She was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest run by Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous.

Cassandra, please tell us about you Story Behind the Story!

Travel is one of my joys. Since my first flight at about five years old, from Melbourne to Brisbane, I’ve found it exciting and fascinating. Back then, kids were allowed to walk right into the cockpit and meet the captain – I’ve never forgotten the moment I received a shiny pair of wings that Mum pinned to my shirt.

Once I grew up and started earning money, I took off, travelling to some fascinating places. My first trip was a university study tour, an eight-week whirlwind from Hong Kong to London and across Europe. I added on a solo trip through Italy, to Vienna by train and then across to New York City. The food, culture, music…the food! I loved it all. I guess I was infected by the travel bug! Later I travelled heaps with my boyfriend (now husband).

SAMSUNG

Cassandra in Seville, Spain

I took a long time to come to creative writing, having worked in PR, marketing and communications for years. When I started writing my debut novel, Girl on a Plane, I found inspiration in places I’ve visited including: Melbourne (my home city), Singapore, London, Paris and Thailand. I also have a family member who is an ex flight attendant who has some stories! I was interested in the idea of writing about someone whose home is the entire world, but nowhere, at the same time. If you’re always in transit, it can be hard to form friendships and relationships or find your true north.

I also love romantic comedy movies and those influences flooded into my work. In Girl on a Plane, you might spot references to Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally and maybe more. I don’t think I’ve mastered the witty banter that screenwriters like Richard Curtis or Nora Ephron are so brilliant at, but it’s something I aspire to emulate.

Girl on a Plane is a contemporary romance/romantic comedy that’s sexy and sassy, about an Irish flight attendant named Sinead, who meets a gruff and gorgeous Aussie CEO, Gabriel, in first class. Their Melbourne to London flight is diverted when a storm hits in mid-air, and they’re thrown together in a Singapore hotel. What follows could be a one-night stand, or something else entirely.

I started writing the book about two years ago, in a short story incarnation, and re-worked it several times. I received a publishing contract for Girl on a Plane after winning the global We Heart New Talent contest run by HarperCollins UK in 2015. That was a thrill! The digital-first team at Avon Maze have been fantastic to work with, and we’re preparing for take-off now, as the e-book released globally on 18 July.

brighton beach

Brighton Beach, Melbourne, where part of the story takes place

My main character in Girl on a Plane, is Irish flight attendant, Sinead. She’s 26 years old and has been working for Mermaid Airlines for five years. The story begins with Sinead on board a flight, going through the motions of a silly dance to the airline’s theme song. She’s getting tired of the routine and the constant travel, even when she plasters on a pretty smile.

Sinead is quirky and funny, but also resilient – tougher than her glamorous exterior might suggest. At first glance, if you saw Sinead dressed in her flight attendant uniform with immaculate hair and makeup, you might assume she’s a light-weight, but you’d be wrong. Without giving away spoilers, she’s had family issues and an ex-boyfriend stalking her, and trouble finds her again. Her background and hesitant reaction to the hero are explained as the story progresses.

The hero, Gabriel, isn’t what he seems either. He’s a handsome, rich, Aussie surfer-in-a-suit CEO who’s cocky and sure of himself, but under the façade, he’s struggling with life-changing personal issues. Giving Sinead and Gabriel a happy ever after was satisfying as a writer, and I hope readers enjoy Girl on a Plane too!

coverGirl on a Plane 

A sexy, sassy, summer read. CLIMB ON BOARD . . .

When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .

Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.

The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .

Buy links:

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Plane-sexy-sassy-summer-ebook/dp/B01FSGGGXK

Amazon AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/Girl-Plane-sexy-sassy-summer-ebook/dp/B01FSGGGXK

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Plane-sexy-sassy-summer-ebook/dp/B01FSGGGXK

HarperCollins AU – http://www.harpercollins.com.au/9780008197025/girl-on-a-plane-a-sexy-sassy-summer-read/

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-AU/ebook/girl-on-a-plane-a-sexy-sassy-summer-read

Google Play Books – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Cassandra_O_Leary_Girl_on_a_Plane_A_sexy_sassy_sum?id=x2AuDAAAQBAJ

iTunes US – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/girl-on-a-plane/id1115614626

iTunes AU – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/girl-on-a-plane/id1115614626

 

BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST: Best of 2014 in expat books

For those looking for some interesting reads from 2014, this blog post from The Displaced Nation has a list of books that are centred around travel and other cultures. Enjoy!

The Displaced Nation

Best of Expat Books 2014Kindle Amazon e-reader by Unsplash via Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

Seasons greetings, Displaced Nationers. That special time of the year is here again, when we publish our selection of this year’s books with meaningful connections to expats, Third Culture Kids, global wanderers, and others of us who have in some way led “displaced lives”.

Having assembled this list on my own in years past, I am pleased to be joined this year by Beth Green, our BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST columnist, who has also graciously agreed to sign over her column space for the month.

Let’s give Beth the floor:

Happy holidays, all! Preparing for this yearly special, I went back through all of the books I’ve read since January—not such an easy task; I read a lot!—and realized that I hadn’t actually read all that many that were published in 2014. I just now took a look at…

View original post 4,125 more words