Stolen art, stolen heart is the tagline for my newest novel, Thief of Hearts. The inspiration for the novel came to me while my husband and I were visiting Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy. Civita sits on a plateau, overlooking the Tiber river valley. It is beautiful and tragic all at the same time. It is nicknamed the Dying City as it is slowly, and sometimes violently, falling away into the deep valley below because of earthquakes and it’s unstable ground. Even with all this danger, people have lived in this city since before the time of the Romans. If you visit there, you will understand. And then, of course, there is the enchantment of Italy, it’s art, its people, its history, and its food. I was inspired everyday.
Each book I write contains either the mention, or a cameo of a real-life historical character as well as historical places and their history. I love weaving these elements into my stories, but there is always a reason for their involvement. My goal is to recreate the feeling I experienced when I read my first romance novel in fourth grade, Forever Amber. My goal is for my readers to not only enjoy a love story between two unlikely characters, but learn a little about history as well. Maybe what they learn will inspire them to visit the places they read about in my novels.
My husband and I love to travel and he jokes that no matter where we visit, I can come up with an idea for a new book because I’m always asking the question – What if? For example, what if someone stole a necklace from the body of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici who died in 1743 and was a patron of the arts? How would they get away with the theft? Who would go after the thief, and how could I make it into a romance? My novel, Thief of Hearts started to form from those questions. I knew I wanted to set my story in Civita, Italy, and that it would involve stolen art.
Thief of Hearts was so fun to write. It will be released September 17, 2018, and is available for pre-order through my publisher, Wild Rose Press. Please let me know if it also inspires you to visit Civita and the beauty of Italy.
Have fun traveling,