Carrie Elks and an Italian Summer

Today I welcome for the first time Carrie Elks. Thank you Carrie for being our guest and telling us about your new book, Summer’s Lease.

What is your book about?

Summer’s Lease tells the story of Cesca, a writer with a severe case of writer’s block, and Sam, the actor who walked out on her play six years before, who is now a big star in Hollywood. At the beginning of the story, Cesca flies out to a secluded Italian villa in order to try and write again, at the same time Sam flies to the villa to hide out from the paparazzi who are chasing him, after he’s been involved in a Hollywood scandal. When the two of them meet again after all these years – spark fly!

What inspired the storyline to your novel?

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to write a story about four sisters, and that each book would take place in a different season. I’ve always loved Italy, and in particular Lake Como and Lake Garda, and it seemed like the perfect location to set this summer book. Summer’s Lease is the first in the Shakespeare Sisters series of 4 books, and is a stand alone romance.

How long did it take you to write your novel?

The first draft took around 3 months. I tend to write first drafts quite quickly, and them flesh them out during the editing process.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved writing about the chemistry between Cesca and Sam. They start out as enemies – she believes he’s the reason her career failed, and when she sees him again in Italy she’s very angry with him. And yet there’s something about him that draws her in. Having the two of them stuck in a remote villa during the hot Italian summer allowed me to really explore their relationship, and how it changes them both for the better.

What did you research the most while writing this book?

Italy! I spent a lot of time researching the area (Varenna, on Lake Como) that the book is based in. I also did a lot of research on the local food and drink. I love everything about Italy, so this was a real treat for me. It also made me very hungry. 

For those who have not discovered your novel, how would you describe it to get them interested?

It’s funny, emotional and romantic, with a little bit of heat thrown in. I’d say it’s the perfect beach read!

Who’s your favourite character arc of all time, fiction/or onscreen and why?

Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. She was way ahead of her time – intelligent, witty and didn’t take nonsense from anybody. She’s still the archetypal romance heroine to me.

What do you think makes the best character arc?

I think a character needs to have flaws at the start of the book, that stop them from achieving the things they want. A perfect character is a boring character, and would also make a boring story. Give me a messed up character any day!

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

As Summer’s Lease is the first of four books, I’m currently editing the second book (A Winter’s Tale, due out in November 2017) and writing first drafts of the third and fourth books! Each book is based on a different sister (Cesca, Kitty, Lucy and Juliet), but all four of them appear in each story, which is a real treat to write.

What is the theme or take home message of your book?

I think the main theme of these books is to never give up, and that love can conquer all.

Thank you Carrie.

Interview by Anne John-Ligali



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Anne loves writing, reading fiction and is a Mum of two. Get updates and tweets from Anne on Twitter at @BooksNAuthorsUK and her author Twitter page at @AnneJohnLigali Q & A’s, author profiles, blog series, giveaways, reviews, stories, daily tweets, Facebook updates and book news.

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