Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fiona Paul Author Interview

Photo Content from Fiona Paul

Fiona Paul lives in the Midwest but travels a lot since she can't breathe if she spends too much time away from the ocean. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in psychology and spent a year teaching English in Seoul, Korea while she was deciding what she wanted to be when she grew up. Answer: everything. In addition to being a teacher and writer, she's also worked as a saute cook, sporting goods manager, veterinary assistant, and registered nurse. When she's not working, you can usually find her kayaking, reading, or helping turtles cross the road. Her future goals include diving with great white sharks and writing more books, not necessarily in that order. Venom is her first novel.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I am, like, the biggest tomboy ever. I needed research and help regarding the most basic stuff about dresses and platform shoes, etc. for Venom. The fight scene in the wine room was the easiest scene for me to write because I feel more at home writing about weapons and fistfights than I do about fancy clothes and tea parties.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
You are not your book. It sounds very obvious, but when what was once your private story suddenly becomes public property, it’s easy to internalize the bad reviews as personal failures. If you do that, writing will crush you. Just because someone hates your book doesn’t mean they hate you. Whether or not your book is eventually deemed a success or a failure (by your publisher, by the industry, etc.) has no bearing on your worth as a person.

In your new novel; Venom, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Venom is the story of Cassandra Caravello, a wealthy Renaissance girl who lives on one of the outlying islands of Venice. While struggling with the balance of honoring her family and being true to herself, she discovers that a friend’s body has been stolen and replace with a murdered courtesan. Desperate to find her friend’s body and avoid the murderer who is now stalking her, Cass teams up with Falco, a street artist, to investigate the crimes. But Falco has his own secrets and motivations, and even as she begins to fall for him, Cass can’t be certain she can trust him.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Cassandra?
I learned that Cass and I are not as different as I once imagined. Cass frustrates me a lot in Venom because she says things and does things I would never say or do. I kind of want to shake her sometimes J But as she evolves throughout the trilogy, I was surprised to find her becoming someone I could relate to on several levels.

For those who are unfamiliar with Falco, how would you introduce him?
Falco is a seventeen-year old artist’s apprentice working for a lesser-known descendant of Titian. Unlike Cass, Falco is poor so society doesn’t really hold him to many standards. Because of this, and also because he’s male, he enjoys a degree of freedom that Cass doesn’t have. He’s brash but honest, funny but inappropriate.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
So assuming you mean general advice, not writing advice, I’m going to go with a line I heard in a movie once: Unless you’re a hundred dollar bill, not everyone is going to like you. This isn’t license to treat people like crap. It’s license not to second-guess yourself every single time someone seems to disapprove of who you are.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I love this question so I’m going to be honest, just this once. The question I always answer with a lie is: Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team? I always say “part of a team,” but the real answer is “it depends.” Of course this question usually comes out in job interviews or college interviews and anything less than enthusiastically declaring your love for teams immediately brands you as

a. difficult
b. anti-social
c. controlling
d. that despised girl on the reality show that says “I didn’t come here to make friends.”
e. a serial killer
f. all of the above

Let’s get real. High school students still hate group projects. Why? The reality is that sometimes the coordination of five schedules, skill sets, and egos is more work than just doing something yourself. So am I a team player? It depends. But if anyone calls you for a reference, hook me up, okay? J

Do you remember your favorite teacher?
My favorite teachers were Mr. Black and Ms. Pickering. I thank them in the Venom acknowledgments. They taught me American Lit, World Lit, Modern Novel, Advanced Comp, and Creative Writing. I remember Ms. Pickering once gave me a C on a short story. To be honest, it was a terrible story involving that awesome “and then I woke up and realized it was all a dream” device. But still, I think it might be the only C I got in my whole high school career and I was cranky with her until I realized she was right, that I could do a whole lot better if I tried.

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

Praise for VENOM

“Deftly balancing beauty and death, Venom renders the canals of Renaissance Venice frightening and irresistible in a sensual tale where no one can be trusted and passions kill.” —Andrea Cremer

“Wonderfully sinister and thrillingly romantic, Venom has it all—secret trysts in graveyards, Venetian canals, murdered courtesans, and masquerades! Fiona Paul created a lush, compelling mystery I couldn’t put down.” — Jessica Spotswood

Fiona Paul’s mysteriously thrilling first book in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series, Venom, follows the story of the very wealthy Cassandra "Cass" Caravello. A discovery at her friend’s funeral yields to an event that eventually changes her perfect little life. While wandering in the cemetery, she notices that another dead girl has been placed in her friend’s tomb. She also meets a young artist named Falco who immediately capture’s Cassandra’s heart. Her attraction to Falco leads her to a journey into the dark substructures of Venice and to solve the mystery of the dead girl. She will learn about love and self-discovery while on this ride.

Set in 1600 Italy, author Fiona does a remarkable job of providing readers with vivid descriptions of this beautiful era in time. The historical details were precise and accurate. The familiar scenes of Venice with its canals and people in fancy dresses are perfectly captured through Fiona’s writing etiquette that showcases this era’s magic and also its dark side. There seems to be action on every page as Cass’s adventure has her facing to make difficult decisions. The love that Cass follows is truly beautiful with the stylish and mystifying artist Flaco.

The mystery that Venom presents is highly fascinating and compelling. Fiona is able to capture readers’ attention right from the beginning and will continue to hold on to it throughout. The plot is unique and delivers an undeniable story that readers will appreciate its enchanting, romantic and dark elements. Venom is a well-written book with outstanding historical standpoint filled with an abundance of rich mystery.

You can purchase Venom at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you FIONA PAUL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Venom by Fiona Paul.


  1. Thank you so much for this donation Fiona! I have been waiting since Venom came out to read it!

  2. Thank You Fiona for the great donation!

  3. You're welcome! And thanks Jean for the interview and thoughtful review. It's an honor to be featured on such a popular blog :)

  4. Thanks so much for the giveaway! And thanks for the donation. I gave your FB page some love!

  5. Thank you so much for the giveaway

  6. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway! Can't wait to read this book :)

  7. Thanks so much... sounds like a terrific book!

  8. Woot! Awesome giveaway! I loved VENOM, and would love to snag a finished copy. Thanks for the chance to win, Fiona!

  9. Thank you! I'd love to read this book!