Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Girly Book Blog Hop - Part Deux!



Hello everyone and welcome to the second Girly Book Blog Hop, back by popular demand. Once again we have a whole array of fabulous prizes for you to win. And the topic today is Location, Location, Location, so choosing Sign of the Times to work with, which will also be part of the grand prize, here's why I chose Italy for part of the setting.



I’ve been really lucky that I’ve travelled all over, but I am often asked why I chose to set part of my first book Sign of the Times in Italy. Simple. I love Italy, Italians and the food. What’s not to like? (apart from the honking car horns!)

When I wrote this part of Sign of the Times, I’d already visited many cities and towns in Italy, but as a region, Tuscany has always appealed to me. Now unfortunately it is vastly overrun by German and British tourists and is very expensive, but there are still small towns, like Bibbiena, where the novel is partly set, which have laughed in the face of progress.

Of course, I prefer to picture Bibbiena as it was 10 years ago when I visited it. Undoubtedly now, there are fewer teenagers on mopeds, slouching in outdoor caf├ęs, perhaps the old men playing chess outside the bars have gone to meet their maker and who knows if the town still boasts the prize-winning olive oil.  But in my mind, Bibbiena will always be a small town in the Tuscan countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves. How much of that is in my memory and how much in my imagination is now unclear!

I wonder if the granddaughter of the salumeria owner has taken over her delicatessen. I mistakenly asked for 800g of salami instead of 8 slices...thank God there were 8 of us staying at the villa, but even so, it took us 3 days to eat it all!

I also wonder how Giampiero, the owner of Casa Dovizi, where we stayed, and his family are. They practically adopted us, simply because I was the first person to rent their villa who spoke Italian. Each day he would bring us a little gift  (they lived next door) - coffee, Amaretto biscuits, wine, Sambucca and so on.  I also wonder what kind of teenager his little son became, who he would hoist with ease onto his shoulders, as he chatted with me.

The truth is, I could have written about many parts of Italy. I have friends in Turin, Milan, Rome and Genova, but Bibbiena made such an impact on me, that it had to be the setting for Holly’s stay,   The small hotel with the two Italian sons who were besotted with her and the Italian matriarch, who doted on Holly, were a combination of fiction and a trip to Praiano on the Amalfi coast. The wedding they attended, where a key meeting occurs, took place in a fictional  house, on land I could see from my bedroom window during my stay in Bibbiena. It was such a beautiful location , it deserved to have a wedding set there!

My only dilemma now is do I revisit Bibbiena in a future novel?  After all, there will be a sequel to Sign of the Times in 2014...
And now for the prizes. I will be giving away to one lucky reader an ecopy of my new novel, The Dating Game.  To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below. You can enter each day to give you more chances of winning - the blog hop is on until the 21st! a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
BUT, that's not all. Visit the other blogs to see their posts and enter the Grand Prize Draw (check the loot below - for logistical reasons the Grand Prize is only available to US residents)






Have fun, good luck and hope you enjoy discovering some great new authors!
Sooz 





20 comments:

  1. Great post - I've always wanted to go to Italy but your description of Bibbiena (I had never even heard of it before) makes me even more determined to get my butt there! (I tried to comment before to no success so I am trying again - hopefully it went through this time.)

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  2. I think you should stay in Italy for as long as possible! Bibbiena sounds wonderful...
    ;)

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  3. Bibbiena sounds absolutely dreamy! I really enjoyed this post. I've been to Italy many times but never Bibbiena. I'm leaving a little quote on the blogs as I travel along...

    Good morning fellow bloggers on the Girly Book Blog Hop. I pulled this quote about location off Goodreads; thought I’d share. I’m really enjoying everyone’s posts and blogs. This is fun! – Julie Valerie, @JBValerie, Blogs on julievalerie.com Blog title: “Chick Lit Chit Chat” Sub-title: a gleeful gallop through the chick lit genre

    “It was [Robert Louis] Stevenson, I think, who most notably that there are some places that simply demand a story should be told of them. ...After all, perhaps Stevenson had only half of the matter. It is true there are places which stir the mind to think that a story must be told about them. But there are also, I believe, places which have their story stored already, and want to tell this to us, through whatever powers they can; through our legends and lore, through our rumors, and our rites. By its whispering fields and its murmuring waters, by the wailing of its winds and the groaning of its stones, by what it chants in darkness and the songs it sings in light, each place must reach out to us, to tell us, tell us what it holds. ("The Axholme Toll")”
    ― Mark Valentine, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21

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  4. Your post gave me goosebumps! I nearly visited Tuscany. My train was heading to Rome, and the countryside was so pretty I nearly got off. But I didn't speak Italian, didn't know where I was, and I chickened out. Rome was great, but I wish I'd taken the leap. Someday!

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  5. I think you should stay in Italy for as long as possible! Bibbiena sounds wonderful...
    ;)

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  6. I wrote in my review of The Dating Game that your writing made me feel like I had visited both Scotland and Spain...and with my deep, abiding passion for Italy, I see I have no choice but to read Sign of the Times. I had it on my TBR, but now it's shot to the top. Great post!

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  7. How did I not know about Bibbiena? Sounds divine...

    vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

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  8. Yep, I knew it. I'm going to want to visit every location highlighted in this blog hop! But I already knew I wanted to visit Bibbiena after reading Sign of the Times (which is a most fabulous book folks!) I especially loved your food descriptions. Haha. One day I will definitely make it to Tuscany... Thanks so much for participating in the hop, Sooz!

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  9. I hope I win your prize, Sooz! It takes a heckuva good woman to eat all that salami, and I happen to really like salami myself. Great fun visiting your blog and best of luck with the hop.

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  10. Hey Sooz,
    I too love Italy! I've been all over it and seen most everything you're supposed to see, but I love the small volcanic top towns the best! Orvieto is my favorite!
    Chow,
    E

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  11. The location of your book sounds amazing! I will definitely have to add it to the bucket list! I'm very excited to read your book, too - sounds wonderful.

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  12. I cannot wait to read the sequel!! Sooz, one of the things I love most about your books are the incredible locations you choose and your gift at transporting your readers there. Great post!

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  13. That is so true about parts of Italy being overrun by tourists. I went once to the Cinque Terra area with my hubby (a German). All we heard were Americans and Germans all around, and we were part of the problem! :-)

    Congrats on your new book and its sequel. I love the idea of structuring it around the twelve character types of the zodiac.

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  14. very interesting
    katrina day-reilly

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  15. Bibienna sounds like exactly the type of place I want to find, thank you for introducing me. I'm not much for big tourist places unless it has significant history, and once I've seen that I always want to go to the less touristy places. Small Islands, remote villages..places more real, more untouched. Ahh, maybe one day!

    dreammie_angel at yahoo dot com

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  16. Never been to Italy but I have always wanted to go!

    shan4178 at comcast dot net

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  17. Definitely revisit the quaint Tuscan village. You've sold me on your "imagine" questions and I want to be whisked away now. And thanks for the giggle about the 800g of Salami. I've often come across the ml and litre problem in Germany, asking for about a whale's tank of water instead of a glass. ;) Italy, Bibbiena, or pretty much anywhere--big city or Old-World-quaint--definitely revisit, Sooz!

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  18. I hope to one day make it to Italy. But...Oops! That's a lot of salami!

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  19. While I have been to Europe, I did not get the chance to visit Italy. Your post makes me want to hop on a plane tomorrow and head there. There were similar small towns throughout Spain and France and now I am reminiscing about old times and the people I met there. Perhaps I will pull out some old photos and some wine tomorrow!

    Thank you for sharing this snippet of Italy with us!
    Marlena
    charmedpoms(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  20. Bibienna sounds lovely! I've never been to Italy, but I've always wanted to go, and that town sounds perfect!

    Bjoneill@hotmail.com

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