Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! My guest this week is Serena Fairfax. She's sharing her latest release, Alchemy, and some insight into her life as a writer. Be sure to comment for a chance to win a Mobi copy of Alchemy!
Set in sun-drenched Lake Garda, church mouse Tamsin Heriot, an English rose, pairs off with sexy, privileged Luca Leopoldo who’s half Italian half Somali. But Luca isn’t what he seems…
Orphaned, aged seven, when his childhood in Mogadishu is brutally destroyed, Luca is left emotionally broken. Ragged and starving he seeks refuge in Italy where kindly aristocrats adopt him.
Ever since she was fifteen, Tamsin has had a crush on Luca and the summer before she goes to university, she’s determined to lose her virginity to him.
It’s eight years before their trajectories re-converge. Tamsin, still lusting after Luca, receives devastating news that triggers her return to the dilapidated family casa when an unexpected bond develops between her and Luca’s widowed, adoptive mother.
A will alters what starts as a dalliance and there’s no shortcut to love, everything to lose, as the relationship between two wounded people, Luca and Tamsin, is pushed to breaking point.
Buy link: www.bookstrand.com/alchemy
Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
Serena: That I could write a Mills & Boon. I’d read many and put pen to paper. Never managed to crack that nut, though. However, I did get taken up by Hale Ltd who published STRANGE INHERITANCE and PAINT ME A DREAM. I’m very fond of those two as they were my first efforts. Then I wanted to write something bigger so I self-published WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS which is a sweeping novel set in India. I broke out of the romance mold with IN THE PINK. Its book cover depicts a wall that I photographed when I was travelling between Azerbaijan and Georgia, a few years ago.
Me: Do you see writing as a career?
Serena: It’s now very much a career given that my role in the day job has morphed from hands--on to managerial. With me, every enterprise is all or nothing so I’m pretty focused on authorship. Wasn’t it Maya Angelou who said ‘there’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’
Me: Do you prefer to write single title or series? Why?
Serena: Single titles are my preference. I suppose it’s because to me The End means just that and I don’t believe in reincarnation. I like to start afresh with a new plot and new characters that take me on a different and new journey. Cindy Ross hits the nail on the head: ‘Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; you have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.’
Me: How did you come up with the title?
Serena: Well, I rather think it chose me. I like one-word titles and given the cultural mixture and passion in this book, ALCHEMY seems perfect. It came to me in a blinding flash when I was about to drop off to sleep and I actually remembered it the next morning because it had squatted in my sub-conscious and refused to be evicted.
Me: What’s your favorite sub-genre (contemporary, sci-fi, etc.) to write? To read?
Serena: I love writing contemporary romances with strong plots and to read I’m a fan of biographies and cookery books. I’m only an average cook and despite shelves of recipe books and fancy cookery courses, I haven’t gotten any better over the years. Still, I’m generous with the wine so no one really notices my culinary shortcomings.
Me: I usually get plot ideas in the shower and while driving. When/where does inspiration strike you?
Serena: Generally on public transport--taking a tube (subway) or a bus. It’s amazing what nuggets one can pick up when eavesdropping that are pure gold. I scribble it all down before I forget and it sparks to all sorts of exciting permutations.
Me: What new stories are you working on?
Serena: I like the way you put that in the plural and that just about sums it up. I’ve two on the go. One’s an erotic romance with a twist and the other (still in a seminal stage) looks as if it’s going to be 80,000 words about an American who marries an Indian and goes to live with her husband’s family in India.
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm. Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content, that you can download free from her website until 1 August 2014. She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog, http://www.serenafairfax.com/serena_fairfax_author_blog/. Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat on the Thames which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure. Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).
Amazon Author page: www.amazon.com/serena-fairfax
Remember to comment by midnight (EDT) Wednesday, July 23, for a chance to win a copy of Alchemy!
Romance...With A Kick!