Friday, October 12, 2018

A Life By Design (The Italian Family Series) by Lucy Appadoo (Book Spotlight, Author Interview and Giveaway!)

A Life by Design is the latest book in The Italian Family series. Check it out, as well as my interview with the author and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Book Details:

Book Title: A Life By Design (The Italian Family Series) by Lucy Appadoo
Category: Adult Fiction, 211 pages
Genre: 20th Century Historical Romance, coming of age story set in Milan, Italy
Publisher: Self-published
Release date: Aug 24, 2018
Tour dates: Sept 24 to Oct 12, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M

Book Description:

When 20-year-old Elena Allegro leaves the Italian village of Laurino to study Fashion Design in Milan, she’s certain her dreams are about to come true. Despite her father’s warnings that risk comes with her newfound freedom, she loves her studies and develops a love interest with Francesco, the handsome young entrepreneur who offers her a part-time job in a Milan clothing store.

It seems like an idyllic situation—until a stalker targets Elena, tormenting her with mind games and threatening her safety. In the face of escalating danger to herself and to Francesco, Elena must fight for her freedom, her love, and her survival.

Buy the Book:

My Interview with Lucy Appadoo:

EI: Welcome to Essentially Italian, Lucy! Can you describe your book in 20 words or less?

LA: A Life By Design is about a 20-year old village girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer. She studies in Milan, Italy and develops a love interest while making new friends. In the meantime, she is terrorised by an unknown person, and suspects a fellow student. Towards the end of the story, you’ll find a twist, so hopefully the readers will be surprised.

EI: A Life by Design (clever title, by the way) is part of The Italian Family series. Can you tell us a little more about this series? Why did you decide to write an Italian family drama?

LA: A Life By Design is part of The Italian Family Series so follows on from Dancing in the Rain. I decided to write the series as I had discovered how fascinating my parents’ childhood stories were. I wanted to tell the story of Valeria’s sister, Elena who was from Dancing in the Rain, as I felt she had a story to tell about her creativity and drive. She was the type of person who wanted more for herself than working on a farm her whole life. 

There’s a part of me that appreciates the Italian culture, having grown up in it, and there’s also a part of me who is creative with my writing and likes to develop new ideas. I also enjoyed my last trip to Italy but never got the chance to travel to Milan. There is something about Italy that makes you feel alive and a part of a relaxed and carefree lifestyle. When I had last visited, I found the country to be filled with wonder, a beautiful history, and romanticism. You cannot compare the history between Italy and my hometown of Melbourne.

EI: What was the hardest thing about writing this novel? The easiest?

LA: The hardest thing about writing A Life By Design was coming up with ideas about the immoral acts of the villain, as I consider myself to have values and morals. I struggle to put myself into a bad character’s shoes, but I do try to understand why the villain behaves as he/she does. For a villain, there is always a rationale for the twisted behaviour, and this villain had a reason for behaving that way in my novel.

The easiest thing about writing my novel was coming up with ideas about the good characters and creating the chapter outlines. I believe I have a great imagination, but I also draw on previous experiences. Having the combination of imagination and drawing on experience can make for a rich story. I can also relate more to the moral characters as I am that way inclined.

EI: Are any of your stories drawn from real life experiences? And how does your work as a Rehabilitation Counsellor influence your writing?

LA: Three of my books from The Italian Family Series are drawn from my parents personal stories, and they include A New Life, The Beauty of Tears, and Dancing in the Rain. A Life By Design was inspired by one aspect of my own personality; the part of me that is creative, has had adventures through travel, and always has ambition, and strives for greater goals. However, the story itself is fictitious. My work as a Rehabilitation Counsellor influences my work by having an understanding of characters’ motivations. In other words, how would a particular person behave, given their traits and temperament, as well as their past experiences?

EI: If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

LA: If I could travel back in time, I would go to an Italian village, as the life was so very simple in those days. There is an appeal about doing things by hand, and that includes making wine or tomato sauce, planting vegetables on a farm, and making pickled foods. You get to experience the freshness of organic, natural foods and you’d feel a great reward creating all of these things yourself. In today’s times, we’re far too busy to create things, particularly with the advent of new technology and the fast and hectic pace of life. The city life is very different from farm life.

EI: Are you working on another book project?

LA: I am currently working on a romantic suspense novel from my Hearts Series. I’ve written the first draft which is currently with my editor. Once she returns the story to me, I’ll work on those edits and start the second draft. This story is a continuation of my previous romantic suspense novel, Forbidden Hearts, and draws on two previous characters from that novel.

EI: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now, both in your professional and personal life?

LA: In five years time, I am hoping to have a whole list of fiction and non-fiction books that are selling extremely well. I also hope to build a business as a grief coach and reduce my hours in my current position. On a personal level, I hope to be an evolved person who is wiser and more creative, with new personal connections and the continual support of my family and friends.

EI: Any advice for writers who want to write a series?

LA: My advice to writers about writing a series would be to always develop your writing craft by working with writing coaches, editors, and doing writing workshops. It’s important to intimately know your characters so that you can write about them in the next instalment of the series. Furthermore, it’s a great idea to advertise the first book in the series quite extensively as this will allow for read-through (if readers like the first book in the series, they’re more likely to read the next book in the series). You also need to read in the genre you write so that you’re aware of how that kind of genre works on a structural level. Furthermore, writing is very competitive and it is difficult to make money from it, but don’t give up and keep doing what you enjoy doing. Follow your passion and dreams, and believe in yourself.

EI: Thank you so much for chatting with me!

Meet the Author:

Lucy is an author of romantic suspense, historical fiction/coming of age, short story thrillers, and non-fiction books. She is also a Registered Counsellor/Wellness Coach, and works as a Rehabilitation Counsellor for the Australian Government.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, exercising, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Oct 19, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway