Today I would like to welcome to RFTC author Santa Montefiore. Santa is gearing up for the release of her newest book, A Woman From Paris and has stopped by to answer a few questions. Please give Santa a warm welcome.
Santa Montefiore grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up. She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha in London.
Santa Montefiore's novels have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than three million copies in England and Europe.
Places to find Santa:
First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
I’m forty-two and fighting age on all fronts except surgery and Botox – I haven’t succumbed yet! I have two children aged 10 and 12, a son called Sasha and a daughter called Lily. I live in London, but have a pretty cottage in the English countryside, in Hampshire. It’s on my parents’ farm where I grew up. Their house is a seventeenth century Jacobean farmhouse, which features in many of my novels! The gardens are stunning and they have lovely ancient bluebell woods which burst into color in the spring. My husband is also a writer. He writes big history books, like Stalin, Court of the Red Tsar and Young Stalin and most recently, Jerusalem. We’re very different – he writes to loud 70s music, I write to film tracks by John Barry and Ennio Morricone, played quietly! I light scented candles, he hates them, so it’s lucky we have our own offices. I’m at the top of the house, he’s at the bottom. We email each other!
Did you always want to be a writer?
Absolutely, writing was the only thing I was really good at school. I wrote stories for little children I knew and then, when I went to boarding school, I wrote romances for my friends. I love words – I can’t look out of a window or listen to music without itching to express what I see, or what the music evokes in my imagination. I’ve always been very fanciful and would go to sleep by inventing stories. I love to read, too – but am quite difficult to please as I don’t push through a book I’m not enjoying. I move on. Books have to be beautifully written – even if the plot is good, I can’t stand dull or bad writing.
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
A bit of both, I think, depending on the book. If it’s a mystery, I have to plot quiet carefully, but if it’s more character-driven, then I follow my nose. Even though I do plot when I have to, I’m still a bit like a sniffer dog following the scent of a good story – most of the time I end up going way off the path I’ve planned and finding myself somewhere totally different... I rather like to write with only a small nugget of an idea and see where I end up.
Where do your ideas come from?
Life – anything, from something I read in the papers to someone I meet who inspires me. I’m always on the lookout for a good idea.
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
Love, mystery in beautiful places like Italy, France, English coast, usually rural not city, big, sweeping landscapes – and big themes: forgiveness, redemption, friendship, trust, loss and love.
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth and Age of Innocence. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits. Arthur Golden’s Memoires of a Geisha. Sarah Walters’ Fingersmith. Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. All Dumas’ and Austen’s novels. Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April.
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
I have a few... if I HAD to name one, probably Love in the time of Cholera.
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
Sex scenes. It’s very hard to write sex well.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, because he’s a genius. J.K. Rowling, because she’s an incredibly talented and successful woman and I admire her ability to create a complete world – I wouldn’t have the patience to do that. Mary Wesley (If I’m able to bring her back from the dead) because I think she’s mischievous and that we’d get on really well!
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
My new novel The Woman from Paris is about to come out in the USA, and here in the UK in July my new novel, Secrets of the Lighthouse, comes out (2014 in the USA) and I’m about to start my 14th novel... plotting and planning right now, but will start writing mid-January to hand in in August. Not much time so I’m a bit anxious about it!
When Lord Frampton dies in a skiing accident, a beautiful young woman named Phaedra appears at his funeral, claiming to be the Lord’s illegitimate daughter. In his will, Lord Frampton has left her the priceless Frampton suite of sapphires, confirming her claim and outraging his three adult sons and widow, Antoinette. Eventually, however, Phaedra’s sweet nature thaws the frosty relationships. She becomes the daughter that Antoinette never had and a wise and compassionate granddaughter to the formidable Dowager Lady Frampton. But an undeniable attraction grows between Phaedra and Frampton’s eldest son, David. It seems an impossible love—blocked by the fury of one family member determined to expose Phaedra as a fraud.
Featuring the enchanting characters, scenery, and emotional complexity her fans adore, The Woman from Paris is a sweeping, sophisticated romance about family, forgiveness, and the surprising strength of love.
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Up For Grabs:
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Good Luck =)