One of the best parts of co-hosting the Authors Are Rockstars Tour is that I get the chance to have more than one rockstar author stop by the blog. Sure, I feel a little guilty for not sharing, but not completely. And I definitely wouldn’t want to have to share the author I have stopping by today.
Author Fiona Paul is a total rockstar. She’s a world traveler. She wants to swim with sharks. Her series is set in the Renaissance which means she is knowledgeable about different eras in history. Her books are set in Italy which means she knows something about a country outside of the one in which she presently resides. And she writes books full of mystery, intrigue, opulence and romance.
Sounds like a rockstar to me.
I may not yet have read VENOM, but I did take just a brief look at the excerpt, which I’ve linked below. And I was instantly grabbed by this quote that appears prior to the start of this story.
“It is human nature to fear the dead, but it is the living who are capable of malice, evil, and utter destruction.”
—THE BOOK OF THE ETERNAL ROSE
I couldn’t agree more.
And then I was captivated by the very first lines of the book. It pulls you into the world even further.
Just that brief introduction to Cass and the unnamed, flirtatious boy with the “devlish smile” was all it took to make me know for certain that this author is most definitely a rockstar. And one whose books I can’t wait to devour.
For my stop today, Fiona Paul shares an interview she has done with her character, Luca. It required a little bit of magic to get her to Renaissance Italy and it took a bit of an iron stomach to make it through the meal chock full of Venetian fare. But I will leave that to her to tell you all about it.
I am also offering up for giveaway two pre-orders of the author’s book VENOM. It may be just over two months to release date, but as time flies the wait shouldn’t feel too long…I hope….
About the Author
Fiona Paul lives in St. Louis, MO where she’s managed to persuade prestigious universities to award her degrees in psychology and nursing. Between her studies, she traveled around five continents and spent time living in Thailand and South Korea (which is probably why she finds the idea of wearing shoes in the house a little weird.)
In addition to writing, Fiona is somewhat obsessive about coffee, music, and adventure sports. Her future goals include swimming with great white sharks and writing a whole truckload of novels, not necessarily in that order.
She also writes contemporary YA under the name Paula Stokes.
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin… and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
Coming October 30, 2012….
About the Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series
Cassandra follows a trail of clues about the mysterious Order of the Eternal Rose to Florence. There she runs into a few familiar faces, including Falco, who is now working for a nine-fingered woman known as Belladonna. When Cass discovers Belladonna is involved in the Order, she won’t rest until she discovers the shadowy society’s true purpose, knowledge that will put her—and everyone she loves—in terrible danger. (2013)
Getting to know Luca: A Q & A session with the other guy from VENOM.
Dressed in full Renaissance attire—yes, including those chest-crushing, skinny-making whalebone stays—Fiona Paul lifts her skirts as she alights from her magical time-traveling gondola onto the private dock of Palazzo da Peraga, the family home of Casandra Caravello’s fiancé, Luca.
The butler opens the door and ushers her into the dining room where Luca awaits. Luca is about 6’3” with close-cropped blond hair and just a hint of beard. He’s wearing black velvet breeches and a dark green doublet that is stretched tight across his broad shoulders. He stands and bows, and then pulls out Fiona’s chair for her.
Fiona: Signor da Peraga, Thank you so much for inviting me to your palazzo for dinner.
Luca: The pleasure is all mine. And Signor da Peraga was my father. You may call me Luca. He hands Fiona a lily. For you.
Fiona: It’s gorgeous. Thank you.
Luca: My fiancée, Cassandra, loves lilies.
Fiona: That’s exactly who I wanted to talk to you about. Can you tell me a little bit about the day you first met Cass?
Luca: He blushes slightly. When I first met her, we were both children. Her parents were always bringing her over to the palazzo when they came to visit my parents. Somehow, I was the one tasked with the job of entertaining her. She never wanted to just play quietly or read books. She was always digging in the garden dirt or chasing after the kitchen cats, making her maidservant half-crazy. He smiles to himself. She would find the strangest little trinkets: buttons, scraps of lace, perfectly shaped leaves, and insist on keeping them.
Fiona: Would you say it was love at first sight?
Luca: Er, no, since I was ten and she was only six and that would have been a little odd. I didn’t fall in love with her until—He stops, suddenly fascinated with the fraying edge of his cloth napkin.
Fiona: Until when?
Luca: Our visits dwindled after her parents died. They had arranged our betrothal shortly before their demise, but once Cass moved to San Domenico to live with her aunt I saw her less. It was difficult watching her grieve. I remembered how taken she’d been with random little treasures so occasionally when I visited I would hide things for her and mark the hiding places with a lily. But in my head she continued to be that rambunctious little girl I knew when I was younger. Before I left for university, I went to see her one last time. He blushes again. I found her in the library reading Michel de Montaigne. The way her graceful form bent over the book, the glow from the fireplace backlighting her slender frame and thick wavy hair—suddenly I saw her for the enchanting and intelligent woman she had become. It was that day I realized exactly how fortunate I am.
Fiona: What a beautiful story. What is it that you study?
Luca: I study law at the renowned Montpellier University, in France.
Fiona: So then what brings you back to Venice?
Luca: His eyes flick down toward his napkin again. Family business.
Fiona: I see. Have you thought anything about your wedding to Cass? Where you want to have the celebration? What sort of foods you’d like to eat?
Luca: Honestly, I still can’t believe I’m to marry a woman who is as kind and beautiful as she is smart. All I want is for her to be happy. I will marry her anywhere she desires and eat anything she wishes to eat.
Fiona: Whoa. It sounds like someone has got it bad. Aren’t you worried about Falco?
Luca: Who is Falco?
Fiona: She coughs. Um, hey look, the food is arriving. Yum, it smells delicious.
Three kitchen servants enter carrying tarnished silver platters heaping with food. They set the platters down on the table. Fiona eyes the one nearest to her. It looks suspiciously like a…
Fiona: Is that a porcupine?
Luca: He smiles broadly. It has been roasting on the spit for three hours! We’re also having eyeballs of veal and guinea pigs with French mustard. I had the cook prepare only the finest Venetian delicacies for you.
Fiona: She turns a little green. Oh, I think I completely forgot to tell you I was a vegetarian.
Luca: What’s a vegetarian?
Another platter arrives holding a steaming three-foot wide pie. The pastry’s fluted edges are adorned with gold leaf. The servant cuts into the hard crust of the pie and a wet, soggy blackbird wriggles free from the filling and begins hopping about the table.
Fiona: Her eyes go saucer-wide. I actually just remembered somewhere I need to be. Curtseying quickly, she abruptly flees the dining room, takes the stairs two at a time, and throws herself over the side of her magical time-traveling gondola.
Author’s note: The gondola is just a means for me to travel to and from Renaissance Venice. VENOM does not contain magical time-traveling gondolas, though in retrospect, I kinda wish it did. The bird baked into a pie, though? I have it on good authority that stuff like that actually happened!
This interview was amazing. And I have to thank you for taking the risk to go back to Renaissance Italy to do this interview/Q&A. It could not have been easy. Venetian delicacies are probably less than palatable even for die-hard meat lovers. But to a vegetarian? *Shudders.* I got a little green myself. Especially after that half-baked bird hopped out of that pie.
I haven’t met Luca yet, but I don’t think he’d be too pleased to know that he’s the “other guy” in Cassandra’s love triangle. You handled that situation quite well. Though you’ve made me very intrigued as to what possible “family business” Luca had to return to Venice for.
I hope for the sake of everyone involved that beauty isn’t too deadly. But judging from the titles of the first two books in the series – VENOM and BELLADONNA – it sounds like it just might be.
Anyway… Before I go on and on and on, I would also to thank you so much for being a part of the Author’s Are Rockstars Tour and for sharing this peek at one of the characters in a series that sounds mysterious and deadly, decadent and intriguing. October seems so very far away….
What’s up for grabs:
A pre-order copy of VENOM by Fiona Paul sent to TWO WINNERS from Amazon or The Book Depository.
1. One entry per HOUSEHOLD.
2. There will be TWO WINNERS.
3. You must be 13 or older.
4. Giveaway is International.
5. Contest ends at 9:01 p.m. Pacific on Friday, August 24th, 2012.
6. Winners will be chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter and announced on August 25th in this post.
7. Winners will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details.
There is no requirement to like or follow. But if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form: