Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lori Nelson Spielman Interview - The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

Photo Content from Lori Nelson Spielman

Lori Nelson Spielman is a former speech pathologist, guidance counselor, and teacher of homebound students. She enjoys fitness running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her true passion. Her first novel, The Life List, has been published in thirty countries and optioned by Fox 2000. Her second novel, Sweet Forgiveness, was also an international bestseller. Her third book, The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, releases November 17, 2020. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their very spoiled puppy.


What inspired you to pen your first novel? 
First, I want to thank you, Jean, for hosting me today. I really appreciate it! 

I was working as a homebound teacher, and part of my job was to help expelled students earn an English credit while they were out of school. I wrote a series of vignettes, morally ambiguous stories that the students had to respond to in writing. The kids really enjoyed the stories, which was so gratifying, and soon I was enrolled in my first writing course. 

Tell us your latest news. 
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany just received a great review from Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus can be tough, so their nice words were a big relief! 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
That’s a great question. Every time I read a good book, I marvel at the talent of my fellow authors and can’t help but feel like an imposter. My first writing instructor, Linda Peckham, made me believe I could one day be a published author. And Dennis Heinrichson, my poetry professor, taught me about voice. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
It probably sounds cliché, but it’s when I hear from a reader. It’s incredible, getting messages from all around the world, with stories of how a particular novel touched them. As a novelist, that’s my goal when I’m writing, to touch someone’s emotions. I keep a photo on my writing desk of a woman from Israel and her family. Liat read The Life List at her darkest moment, right after her mother had died. She felt like her mother was speaking to her through the novel. And just as my character did, Liat found her soulmate and is now happily married with two children. Her friendship, and others too, have added such depth to my life. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope they’re so immersed in the novel that they feel like they’re right there, experiencing the very things the character is experiencing. I want them to be surprised, to laugh, to cry, to close the book with a feeling of hope, even if the ending isn’t quite what they expected. 

Tell us about your new novel, THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY. 
It’s the story of three second-born daughters of different generations who travel to Italy, in hopes of breaking a centuries-old family curse that keeps the second-born daughters from finding true love. 

For those who are unfamiliar with your protagonist, Emilia, how would you introduce her? 
Emilia is an ordinary young woman with extraordinary potential, a woman who is capable, funny, self-deprecating and sensible, but who has always been made to feel inferior—that is, until her Aunt Poppy comes into her life. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
Such a fun question! I would love to introduce Aunt Poppy to Hannah Farr, the protagonist in Sweet Forgiveness. Poppy’s warmth and joy and sense of adventure would be a great compliment to Hannah’s serious, reserved nature. 

  • 1. “Never underestimate the blueprint for a dream.” 
  • 2. “Life is better measured in friendships than years, don’t you think?” 
  • 3. “I prefer to see life as it should be, not as it is.” 
  • 4. “When you feel lost or confused, consult your heart. It’s your most reliable source of navigation.” 
  • 5. “The secret to staying young is white teeth and dark hair. Most people our age have the opposite.” 
  • 6. “Yes. This is who you’ve become. But Emilia, my dear, you don’t have to die as that woman.” 
  • 7. “Beauty is overrated. I’d choose interesting over beautiful, any day.” 
  • 8. There are no words when one has witnessed magic. 
  • 9. “Love, in any of its forms, is what takes this journey from a bleak black and white pencil sketch to a magnificent oil painting.” 
  • 10. “You will find, Emilia, life is not always a circle. More often, it’s a winding maze of detours and dead-ends, false-starts and broken hearts. A exasperating, dizzying maze which is impossible to navigate and useless to map. But not a single corner nor curve should ever, ever be missed.” 
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor or an influence? 
I adored Maeve Binchy’s novels set in Ireland. She had an incredible ability to capture the setting, the mood of each scene, so that you were right there in that small Irish town. I love the way she creates characters you fall in love with, characters you feel you’ve known all your life. 

How many books have you written? 
I’ve written seven, but four of them were what I call practice! 

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 
I always give the same advice: If you’ve written something that’s only garnering rejections from agents or editors, at some point, start a new project. This is contrary to what most people advise. I shudder every time I hear, “Don’t give up. Keep sending those letters.” If I’d followed that advise, I’d still be collecting rejection letters for a very mediocre young adult novel. Very few people can write a novel and get it published on their very first (or second or third) try. It’s hard to give up and move on, but we do improve with practice. 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Fall helplessly, head-over-heels in love, with abandon. 

Where can readers find you? 
I’d love to connect! My WEBSITE
Email: Lori@lorinelsonspielman.com 
Facebook: @LoriNelsonSpielmanAuthor 
Twitter: @lnelsonspielman 
Instagram: @lorinelsonspielman 
Thank you so much!

A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.

You can purchase The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LORI NELSON SPEILMAN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun trip to Italy with magic and romance!