1. What inspired you to write this particular story?
I was traveling down the Romantische Strasse in Germany, (a road dating back to Roman times, hence Romantische) when it occurred to me that it might be fun to play with the name. The Romantische Strasse is indeed one of the most romantic roads I’ve ever traveled. It is dotted with charming little fourteenth century towns all of which look like they came out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It occurred to me that I might take the two meanings of Romantische and blend them into a story. The thought grew to a young widow, pursued across Germany, Austria and Hungry by dangerous men, in fear for her life, and falling in love along the way.
2. Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I always write a very detailed synopsis before I begin writing any book. I plot both internal and external conflicts and try to delineate crisis points. I divide this synopsis into chapters. Then I start writing. Now I know this sounds very efficient. If it worked it would be. Actually once I get into the writing, the book takes on a life of its own, and my characters simply take over. The final product is often far removed from my first vision of it.
3. Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?
Good grief, if they were, do you think I’d admit it? There’s that paragraph the publisher inserts at the beginning of every book about “…people…are products of the author’s imagination”. But of course we all, as authors, draw on bits and pieces of people we know, or even people we glimpse briefly. The eyes of a waiter I had in a little taverna in Greece ended up on my hero in The Memory of Roses. The hair of a well-known conductor became Igor’s hair in Romantic Road. A writer’s mind is a vast storehouse of trivia.
4. Was there any research involved in your work?
There is always a huge body of on-site research involved in all my books. Whether it is a wine cave on Lake Balaton in Hungary or backstage at the opera house in Vienna, you can bet I’ve been there. I’d be very uncomfortable writing about anyplace I’ve never been. Of course there is other research than that on setting. Google is a useful tool, but I don’t fully trust it. I’d rather talk to a paramedic than read about what they do in the instance of an injury such as Jane’s in Romantic Road.
5.Once a character is fully developed do you set them free or do they still dance around your mind?
They dance forever. They are so real to me that even long after the book is in print and I’m three books later, they live in my mind. A friend said to me once “You have way too many people in your bed!”
6.What project(s) are you working on now?
I’m working on the final draft of new book, Where Lemons Bloom, placed on Italy’s gorgeous Amalfi Coast, one of my favorite destinations in Europe. A romantic suspense in which a brief encounter with a mysterious Italian pulls a naive art historian into a world of dangerous secrets.
7 Where can readers find you and your book(s) online?
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