LR: Well I’ve always written as far back as I remember but the first time I ever got any real encouragement was from an English teacher at school called Mrs Robinson. She was a young, trendy sort of teacher who appeared to love my short stories as she often read them out to the class. That was probably when I thought, ‘I can really write!’ I also read a lot of romance magazines back then, with names like ‘Loving’ and ‘Love Affair’, intended for adults but I loved the short stories in them. They were written in the first person and seemed confessional in tone. That was the style I used when I wrote those stories Mrs Robinson read out to the class. Maybe she was a fan of those sorts of magazines too!
LR: I honestly can’t remember where the initial idea came from but what I do remember is that I started writing the first chapter on a long flight to Tenerife two years ago. I had a rough first chapter scribbled down in my leather journal by the time I got off the plane. It helped to pass the time in an enjoyable way as my husband snoozed by my side! I wrote most mornings by the poolside of the hotel when it was quiet. Later, I wrote even more on another holiday, this time to Lanzarote, [which is another island close by.] I think the setting made me feel as though I was in Sicily as it was so warm and by the sea. I love Mediterranean heroes so it was no hardship for me to write about a Sicilian man. I have an online Sicilian friend who was able to help me out with any questions I might have and I researched locations and other things too.
BBB: Tell us about your main character, Joanne Smith.
LR: Joanne Smith is a journalist. She’s a journalist with a strong moral streak running through her, so she’s ethical and empathic toward her subjects. She once worked for a magazine where she felt like she was compromising her values and ended up resigning not ever having walked out on anything before. Although a strong feisty sort, she also has an air of vulnerability which Dante, the hero, gets to see when she joins him on his yacht bound for the island of Lipari. She has a secret that she’s been keeping and she’s kept it for years much to her detriment. The two things that sometimes come between them as a couple are his mistrust of journalists as he’s had bad experiences in the past and her secret.
BBB: What do you think readers will enjoy most about your book?
LR: Taking a trip in their minds to Sicily and embracing the lifestyle and culture. Even more than that, the slow, simmering relationship between two people who are destined to fall in love but need to overcome their hang ups first.
LR: Yes at the moment I’m working on the third in a series of historical romances for a publisher. This one is set in 1890s Wales and is called, ‘Blue Skies’.
BBB: How can readers connect with you? (Facebook, Twitter, personal website)
LR: I love to hear from readers!