Hello book friends!
Hope you’re having a good weekend! Excited to share this guest post with you today, I always find it interesting to learn more about authors and their writing process.
The Casanova Papers
Ellie Murphy takes a contract teaching English at a school in Venice. There she meets the sexy, enigmatic Professor Piero Contarini, from an ancient Venetian family, and agrees to help him in his work curating a new edition of the memoirs of the famous seducer, Giacomo Casanova. Taking their task seriously, they start to enact his adventures with each other, ecstatically revealing their own kinks as they do so. But who is watching them from the shadowy alleyways of Venice?
Author Bio – Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She is the author of Tuscan Enchantment (eXtasy: Devine Destinies). Kate/Katherine writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member.
Social Media Links – Twitter: @katmezzacappa
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My writing life
I’m delighted that you’re reading about The Casanova Papers on this blog today. It’s my third published novel, my second as Kate Zarrelli. I also write historical sagas as Katie Hutton, and publish a range of short fiction under my own name, Katherine Mezzacappa. It helps me to have those different names, because in each I am writing in a different groove. It also helps to combat the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ because whenever I think I might be running out of steam on one piece of work, I can switch to another, and I’m still writing.
That’s because writing is the most important thing for me to be doing. I have to write something each day, even if sometimes I don’t feel like it or don’t feel as if what I’ve written is very good, because I can always go back the next day with a fresh eye and revise. You can’t revise a blank page or an empty document. Having people I trust to read work for me really helps, and I reciprocate this. I’ve met so many dear friends through writing courses (I try to do one a year somewhere, including on-line, so that I don’t get too stuck in my own ways). I truly can’t say that writing is a lonely business, not now that we live in a connected world; that’s been particularly valuable during lockdown. I also do some manuscript critiquing for writing consultancies and competitions, and I think knowing what works or what could be done differently in someone else’s work helps make me a better writer too.
I don’t write full-time, or at least not yet. My part-time job has pretty well been furloughed until September, but I really appreciate it when I have it not only for the obvious reasons but also for the human contact, because all of that is valuable to a writer; writers don’t just write for themselves because they like doing it – they write for other people – for you, the reader. Normally I do my job in the morning, and write in the afternoons, evenings and weekends. But I also think of writing as a job too. I have to deliver when I said I would, either to a publisher or to a magazine story deadline. I need to present my work properly, and be open to feedback from editor or publisher, and be prepared to change things if they suggest it, though this is very much a collaborative process. In other words, I have to be professional, as well as have a lot of discipline.
Writing is a creative process too, of course, so I need to be aware of when, where and how I write best. This is going to sound like a wopper of an excuse, I know, but I sometimes deliberately go to the beach, though not at the crowded high point of the season (I live in Italy). I learned in some psychological training I have had about something called the ‘alpha state’, a semi-conscious state between sleeping and waking when we can be at our most creative. Think about when you wake up in the morning with a bright idea about something, and then you become fully awake and remember all the ‘real’ things you’ve got to do that day, and your bright idea somehow fades away. Well, drowsing in the sun is going into that ‘alpha state’. I can put my sandals back on, go home, and write an entire scene that came into my head in that dozy state – a scene that usually doesn’t have anything to do with a sunny day in Italy.
I can write anywhere, be it at a desk (right now), on a train, or propped up on pillows in bed, or in my favourite place of all, a little hideaway in the country. Here I have the company of the village cats, and my neighbours when I go for a walk, but otherwise I just have the view and the whirr of grasshoppers in warm weather.
Field visits are an essential too, though the writing about them gets done later. For The Casanova Papers I took the train to Venice at the quietest time of year. For other books I’ve gone to Oxfordshire, Canterbury, London, Nottingham, Dublin, Florence, Mantua… When this crisis passes, as it must eventually, and our poor frightened world adjusts to a different kind of normal, I have places I want to go to in Germany and Romania, because I have shadowy characters in my head that I want to see clearly in their own settings. Some might say, ‘well, lucky for some.’ I am lucky, but I didn’t start writing seriously until I was 55. If you’re younger than me, and want to write – start now, and you’ll be luckier earlier. It’s not just luck though. I have the unstinting support of my husband and sons. I couldn’t do any of this without them.