Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello
Links to Book:
First of all, a huge thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. It’s great to be here to tell you about my brand-new book Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello.
- Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it?
I love setting my stories in interesting and exotic places, that way I get to spend the day in some amazing parts of the world. I loved the research I did for the Paradise Cookery School series – each morning when I started to write, I’d get to jet off to the Caribbean island of St Lucia and bask in glorious sunshine, relax on white sandy beaches and dream of swinging in a hammock under a swaying palm tree. Heaven! Equally, with the Villa Limoncello series, I get to indulge in all-things Italian, from frothy cappuccinos to crunchy biscotti, tiramisu to a glass of limoncello. I always make sure I have a fabulous photograph on my screensaver so I can flick back for inspiration.
- How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
I love the research part of writing so I spend weeks immersing myself in the characters whose stories I’m going to tell, and reading up on the setting. For Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello, I did lots of research on Italian wedding traditions, of local floral arrangements, and of course, on the local cuisine – I made sure I tried out lots of recipes too, just to get into the Italian frame of mind, although they didn’t all turn out perfect! I do have a notebook where I jot down unusual facts I stumble across, and I also cut out snippets from magazines. I’ve just finished the Christmas book set at Villa Limoncello, so I’ve had fun testing out some Tuscan Christmas recipes.
- How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
Before I started to write the first book in my Tuscan trilogy, I spent about a month immersing myself in the places my characters were going to visit, like Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and the history of those places. I was also fortunate enough to visit these wonderful towns and cities with my family which really help to evoke the sights, sounds and flavours of the place. I also managed to do a piece of research on the historical importance of lemons to the local area which was the reason I included the limonaia in Izzie and Luca’s story.
- What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
I prefer to set my books in places I’ve actually been to. It helps me fix the story in my mind when I know about the places my characters are going to visit, particularly if there are interesting quirks. Of course, I take lots of photographs to refer back to, I always have a note book with me to jot down little details, and, in the name of research, this time I bought a bottle of limoncello so I could make a limoncello tiramisu.
- How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?
I find it invaluable if there’s an expert available to check facts with or to give you a personal perspective on what you are writing about. I have a neighbour who’s Italian and he’s been very generous with his time, talking me through recipes, traditions, customs, particularly around Christmas. I’m always very grateful for his time. How do I approach him? With a bottle of Chainti and a large bag of his favourite biscotti.
- What is your favourite genre?
MY favourite genre has to be travel memoirs. I love stories about people who have ditched their every day life and taken off for foreign shores to make anew life for themselves and their families, or who have decided to travel around the world with just a rucksack and a guide book. I’ve recently read A Bike Ride by Anne Mustoe, an account of her 12,000 cycle ride around the world – by herself! I also really enjoyed Tuk Tuk to the Road by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent, a story about Antonia and her friend Jo driving a pink tuk-tuk from Thailand back to London! Amazing people!
- What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
I’ve been writing since I was in primary school, creating my own hand-made book by stapling pages together and trying to sell them to my relatives. I really wish I had that! I have a full-length novel which I wrote in my teens in a shoebox on the top of my wardrobe , gathering dust. I don’t think it will ever see the light of day, but I can’t bear to part with it.
- Which of your books are you most proud of?
Gosh, that’s like asking which of my children am I most proud of! I’ve really enjoyed writing every one of them, perhaps for different reasons. Some I love for the exotic settings, particularly The Paradise Cookery School series. Some I love the recipes, like There’s Something About Cornwall and The Vintage Cupcake Company. And some for the fabulous characters, like Kirstie in Christmas at the Dancing Duck or Gabbie in The Summerhouse of Happiness.
- Do you have an unusual hobby?
Actually, I do. I play archery. Although I wouldn’t say I’m the best archer in the world I really enjoy being out there on a field with my bow and quiver filled with arrows, trying to hit a gold – a rarity for me!
Author: Daisy James
Previous Books: Sunshine & Secrets, Confetti & Confusion and Mistletoe & Mystery
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.