Probably my most memorable moment during the writing of THE LION AND THE ROSE came along one evening when my husband arrived home from work, only to be greeted by a distracted and wild-eyed wife rushing down from her study. “Hi,” I said breathlessly, “do you mind starting dinner? I’ve got a guy roped to a chair dripping blood upstairs, and I need about 20 more minutes to finish him off.”
I was treated to a long wordless stare. “In my book,” I added. I was writing the climactic scene where the Borgia Pope’s loathsome favorite son was—true story—lured away from his friends by a man in a mask, stabbed nine times, and then chucked in a river. Wasn’t that obvious?
“Ah,” my dear spouse said upon this clarification. “Ok, go kill him. I’ll start dinner.”
The hubby and I have been together over a decade, so he’s used to these little lunacies from me—anyone married to a writer will be able to recount similar tales. But for the newbies pondering co-habitation with a writer, here are ten tips to make life easier.
- Do not get freaked by your spouse’s Google search history when it pops up things like “testicle amputation techniques” or “how to kill a child and get away with it.” It’s all just research.
- Be prepared for post-it notes in weird places. Accept the fact that the one that says “Google headless Romans York” or the one annotating explicit sexual graffiti in Pompeii will inevitably be left out in full view when your mother drops by.
- Invest in a set of sturdy handcuffs. For book-release days. Because you will need to physically restrain your writer spouse from obsessively hitting “Refresh” on their Amazon sales ranking. And speaking of release days . . .
- Bring home champagne. Keep it flowing, along with soothing reassurances that author’s just-released book is not, in fact, utter dreck destined to languish on the Remainder table.
- Get used to weird nocturnal schedules. 2 a.m. eruptions from bed “because I just had a great book idea!” will become the new norm. Just go back to sleep to the sound of frantic scurrying, as your writer tries madly to find a pen before the idea has time to fade.
- Rejoice in the fact that you have the easiest-ever spouse to buy gifts for—writers always need books! Hubby’s birthday, anniversary, and Christmas gifts while I was writing THE LION AND THE ROSE were all annotated biographies of various Borgia family members, and I squealed and rhapsodized as though I’d been handed the entire contents of Tiffany’s.
- Buy stock in Folger’s. Your spouse’s coffee habit is probably supporting 1/3 of the company payroll.
- There is a matching Kindle habit. The speed with which writers can click “Buy” on each new Kindle special that catches their eye could max out any credit limit in history.
- Don’t be surprised if you or your loved ones turn up in a book. My husband was surprised to see his fiery Sicilian grandma turn up, sixty years younger but just as fiery, as my chef heroine in THE LION AND THE ROSE.
- Smile when you see that the book is dedicated to you. Because we couldn’t do it without you.
THE LION AND THE ROSE: A NOVEL OF THE BORGIAS
From the national bestselling author of The Serpent and the Pearl comes the continuing saga of the ruthless family that holds all of Rome in its grasp, and the three outsiders thrust into their twisted web of blood and deceit . . .
As the cherished concubine of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI, Giulia Farnese has Rome at her feet. But after narrowly escaping a sinister captor, she realizes that the danger she faces is far from over—and now, it threatens from within. The Holy City of Rome is still under Alexander’s thrall, but enemies of the Borgias are starting to circle. In need of trusted allies, Giulia turns to her sharp-tongued bodyguard, Leonello, and her fiery cook and confidante, Carmelina.
Caught in the deadly world of the Renaissance’s most notorious family, Giulia, Leonello, and Carmelina must decide if they will flee the dangerous dream of power. But as the shadows of murder and corruption rise through the Vatican, they must learn who to trust when every face wears a mask . . .