I am honored to have Mandi Benet stop by to chat about her recently released contemporary romance book, “To Rome with Love“. Welcome, Mandi.
MB: It’s about an American woman from San Francisco, Gaby Conte, who’s had it with men. Especially Italian men, like her cheating husband. After her divorce, she travels to Rome seeking refuge with her best friend Maria, but instead finds love and passion with another handsome Italian. Oops!
RJS: Oops is right. Nothing like a change of plans, right. Why did you write this?
MB: I’m not sure except I love to write and this story presented itself to me!
RJS: Fair enough. How long did it take?
MB:A few months but then a few more after that for rewriting, line editing etc.
RJS: Is there any special reason why you chose the character names and location that you did?
MB: I don’t know why or how I chose the names of my hero and heroine, Gaby and Silvio. I don’t even particularly like the name Silvio. But somewhere in the deepest, darkest recesses of this head of mine, that’s the name that popped up and I went with it! As for setting the book in Rome: how can one not have Rome-ance in Rome? To my mind, there are few more romantic cities in Italy, let alone the world, than Rome. With its gorgeous vistas, historic piazzas and churches, and the general ardor of the natives, particularly of the male persuasion, Rome is one huge, unending backdrop for romance. Besides, it’s also my favorite city in the world.
RJS: Yes, it’s definitely a city that encourages love to bloom. Are you working on anything else right now?
MB: I’m working on the next and final three books in my series, Love in the City. I was happy to sell them to my publisher but the problem about selling books to a publisher is that you then have to write them. Oops! Be careful what you wish for.
RJS: Yes, those little technicalities get you every time, right? Do you write in other genres?
MB: No! It’s hard enough writing in this one!
RJS: How do you beat writer’s block?
MB: This is a thorny issue. I try (try being the operative word here), taking a break. I’ve taken breaks of anything from a few hours up to three days, and that usually solves the problem. What really helps is reading. As I read someone else’s story, my mind opens up to my own.
RJS: Yes, I find breaks, reading other works, or for me, listening to music, all open my mind. How about some icebreaking questions, to get to know you beyond your writer’s hat? What is the most recent movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read?
MB: It’s not the most recent movie I’ve seen, it came out in 2015, but it really stayed with me: The Age of Adaline. It’s set mostly in San Francisco, and is about a woman who stops aging after an accident at the age of 29 and all the attendant and very poignant difficulties that that condition presents. It’s a ludicrous premise, of course, but somehow you’re sucked into it. Adaline, who’s really 107, spends her life running from entanglements of every kind in case someone discovers that she never ages and wonders if there’s something odd about that. The film examines some of the essential elements of the human condition: like how we can never defy time and how we all seek connection with others.
RJS: Your favorite town/ city in the world? MB: As I said earlier, Rome. Hands down.
RJS: If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Would you keep your day job?
MB: I would buy vast tracts of land, build homes, schools, hospitals, parks and so on, and invite the abused and neglected children and animals of the world to come to stay.
RJS: Love it. What is your favorite past time?
MB: Reading. (I know, I’m boring.)
RJS: What ‘s a typical day like?
MB: Walk the dog, run errands, do chores, read the New York Times, write.
RJS: How do you like to spend a rainy day?
MB: I hate the rain so I would prefer never to have a rainy day!
RJS: Do you play any musical instruments?
MB: I used to play the piano. I wasn’t that good even though my mother was a well-known concert pianist!
RJS: What one item would you grab if the house was on fire? (assume no living beings are inside)
MB: My computer.
RJS: If you could invite four people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be? MB: Jesus, Henry VIII, Shakespeare, Anne Boleyn
RJS: I think I’d like to come to dinner at your place. You have a great guest list. Okay, on to our speed round, serious shorties.
Favorite food to cook? Linguine with cream sauce.
Favorite animal? Dog
Favorite color? Coral
Favorite book? Impossible to answer!
Favorite sport or physical activity? – hiking
Favorite kind of music? – Latin, Swing, Big Band
Favorite song? Impossible to answer!
Favorite place to visit? – Europe
Favorite season? – summer
Which do you prefer for a second home? Mountain cabin, beach house or big city condo? Beach house
What kind of car do you drive? Color? BMW in charcoal.
What three items would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a tropical island for a year? (enough suntan lotion is a freebie) My kindle, a firm pillow and a guy called Alessandro.
Mandi, do you believe in love at first sight?
MB: I believe in love, period.
Mandi, I’d like to thank you for stopping by and talking to us today. Your book sounds fabulous. The buy link is conveniently listed below as well as your media links so readers can connect with you. Before you leave, is there one quote you love, something that keeps you going in life?
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill said that.
BUY LINK: http://amzn.com/B01AO6MH96
Mandi Benet grew up in England and published her first piece of fiction when she was twelve. She has been scribbling away ever since as an award-winning journalist— covering everything from the Democratic Convention to the Oscars for major American national newspapers and magazines— and as an author, writing women’s fiction and contemporary romance with rich, original characters. Mandi is a member of RWA National and the San Francisco branch of RWA.
Author | To Rome With Love | http://amzn.com/B01AO6MH96
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01BGYJ6J4
Bonus book “The Blasphemy Box” Mandi’s Women’s Fiction Novel http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615736831
BUY LINK: http://amzn.com/B01AO6MH96