Wednesday 1 August 2012

Author Interview - Janice Kirk & Gina Buonaguro

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Genre - Contemporary Romance
Rating - PG
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If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
While it sounds romantic to travel back in time to say Renaissance Italy or Tudor England, having done a lot of historical research for our books and after reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence by Steven Pinker, it’s safe to say future. As women, we now know we wouldn’t want to live any other time or place than the 21st-century developed world. So we’ll be hopeful and assume the future will be even better!

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
On this one, we will go into the past. While researching The Sidewalk Artist, we fell in love with the Renaissance painter Raphael. We feel we’re the only ones who really know his true story, and we’d like to see how right we were. Michelangelo, whom we came to love while writing The Wolves of St. Peter’s, would be up there as well, though we’d have to overlook his bad table manners and poor hygiene. Of course we’d love to meet our fictional characters as well - they feel so real to us. 

A dinner with the characters from Ciao Bella would have Graziella cooking and Ugo playing his violin, though we’re not sure if he’d be heard over his quarrelsome sisters. We’d love to have Rain from Falling for Rain for dinner, but we might end up fighting over him, which would not be good for our future as coauthors. There are a good many writers we’d love to meet though we might be too starstruck to eat anything. Two that immediately come to mind are Ann Patchett (we so loved Bel Canto) and R.A. Scotti, whose non-fiction is so riveting we sometimes wonder if there’s any reason to write fiction any more.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
As we would view this as an excellent opportunity to get some work done on our next book without all the interruptions we have in the real world, we would have to say our laptops (we’ll assume this desert island has a power supply). Some good food and lots of wine wouldn’t hurt either.

If you were a superhero what would your name be?
You mean we’re not superheroes?

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You will fall in love with Rain.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
We are juggling several projects right now. We have just finished editing a historical mystery set in Renaissance Rome called The Wolves of St. Peter’s (forthcoming Spring 2013). We have also begun a sequel to that in which the hero detective moves to Renaissance Venice. Additionally, we’re working on another romance set in present-day Venice.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There have been several milestones, but one that stands out in particular is getting our first novel, The Sidewalk Artist, published. When we saw and held a copy of that book for the first time, we actually cried.

What is your dream cast for your book?
That is a tricky question for this book. For The Sidewalk Artist, it has always been Johnny Depp as Raphael. In Ciao Bella, it’s Owen Wilson as Frank and Gael Garcia Bernal as Ugo, but with Falling for Rain, there isn’t an actor gorgeous enough to hold a candle to our image of him.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
We didn’t know each other as children, but we both loved to read and reread our favourites many times over. A book that we’ve discovered as adults we both wished we’d read as a teenager was I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s about an eccentric British family who live in a ruined castle in England between the wars. It is so engrossing and its characters so captivating, it’s like being there. We both love books that make you forget where you are. It’s that feeling we try to bring to our own books.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Persevere. That’s why having a coauthor is so helpful. You can share the successes but also support each other when you really just want to give up.

What is your favorite Quote?
We have several, and we always like to preface our books with a quote that we feel adds to the story or sets it up. For Falling for Rain, we chose something from Longfellow: “For after all, the best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
We both love Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, and so To Rome with Love and Moonrise Kingdom are at the top of our lists. We’re also looking forward to the new version of The Great Gatsby with Leonardo di Caprio. Speaking of Woody Allen, we both adored Midnight in Paris and joke that he must have read our book The Sidewalk Artist, the stories share so many commonalities.

How do you react to a bad review?
We basically feel badly. As authors, we want everyone to like our work. But we have a new take on it after reading a marketing book by John Locke - think of bad reviews as people outside your target audience who mistakenly read your book. That puts quite a different spin on it and helps put bad reviews in perspective.

What do you do in your free time?
We write! And when we’re not writing, we read. We both love movies and traveling too.

What's your favorite season/weather?
We’ve noticed we really like to write about seasons and weather in our books. Falling for Rain, for instance, takes place in November in Ontario with a late-season hurricane thrown in. The weather adds a dangerous element as well as romantic suspense to the story.

Finish the sentence- one book we wish we had written is....
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. It’s gorgeous.

Favorite places to travel?
It’s safe to say we love Italy. Many of our books are set there, we can’t seem to get enough of researching and learning about the place, and we’ve both traveled there extensively. Both of the projects we’re working on now take place in Venice during winter (although in completely different time periods), and we’re hoping to both travel there in January to work on it. As we usually travel with our own families, it will be the first time we’ve gone anywhere together. We’re really looking forward to writing in an exciting place, not just writing about an exciting place.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
Ha - this is a funny one for us! We truly feel we’ve already found the perfect coauthors in each other. We have an excellent working relationship and complement each other perfectly. It was a serendipitous meeting, and we feel very lucky to have found each other.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Neither of us can remember a time when we didn’t want to be writers. Neither of us were happy with just reading and wanted to create our own stories.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
We’re both pretty happy in our real worlds, but we do like to “travel” into the worlds of the books we read. We both have a pretty vivid imagination so shy away from the gruesome (though Janice loves a good ghost story). As children, we both wanted to live in Little House on the Prairie. We both love to escape into a good book and when we write, we have a sense of really living our stories. By the time we’re finished writing, it feels like it actually happened.

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