Thursday, July 05, 2007

Writers Wednesday with Christina Hollis

Join the Pink Heart Society in welcoming newbie author Christina Hollis to this Writers Wednesday. You'll want to read on...she's talking Italy!


Until I began writing for Mills and Boon Modern Romance, all my books were set in the English countryside in which I grew up. Then we travelled to Italy for a holiday. From my first glimpse of that clear blue sky I fell in love – with the place, the people and the food. We stayed at a recently renovated palazzo in the Tuscan hills. As we were their first guests since the place reopened, we had everyone’s devoted care and attention. Feasting on those fantasies makes working for a living worthwhile!

It was the ideal spot for getting away from it all. Birds sang, insects chirruped, and the combination of endless sun and a luxurious pool was heavenly. It was the perfect setting for romance. What else could I want? Heaven on the opposite hill, that’s what! The palazzo’s terrace overlooked an ancient ruin that had once belonged to a rival warlord. How lovely it would be, I thought, to buy that derelict palazzo and do it up. I could have my very own castle in the sun. It would be like being on holiday every day…

It could only ever be a dream, of course. We all know how slowly the wheels of house buying, not to mention building bureaucracy, can grind. But hey, this was my new fantasy! It made creating the setting of The Italian Billionaire’s Virgin great fun. Even now, I can sit at my computer screen, close my eyes and dream that the place (minus all the horrors of its price, upkeep and reality) is mine. That’s the beauty of an imaginary life. In my castle on the hill, dry rot, rising damp and crumbling masonry are banned. Everything is a soft focus symphony of billowing roses and vines, draped artistically from pillar to post. Cheery builders wave hello as they arrive very early for work each and every morning. They are as quiet as the mice my dream palazzo definitely doesn’t have. Sun on my skin, warm breeze in my hair, and I’m lulled by the sound of my best guy relaxing in the imaginary pool. This is where a fictional setting really comes into its own. If I fantasize about real places, I find that real people with everyday concerns keep creeping in. But I’m not after that sort of reality. I like to take details from here and there, mixing and matching so that nobody can recognise any particular place, or specific person. It’s much more fun that way. That’s why I disguised a gorgeous local hunk with completely different hair and eyes, to turn him into the hero of my latest book, Count Giovanni’s Virgin.

Sorry, must dash. I’ve got a beautiful fantasy palace to redecorate, and a new hunk to design. I wonder how long it will take me to get them both as far as my computer keyboard?

Want to know more about Christina? Check out her website or blog. Stop by the Coffee Time Romance blog to win Books and get a look in a Day in the Life...


  1. Christina,

    Good luck in getting that new hunk to your keyboard.

    Am thoroughly jealous of you holidaying in a restored Italian palace! One day... Ah, the things we do for inspiration (G)>


  2. Wow, what a great holiday! Perfect for inspiration.

    Kate H.

  3. I thought the same thing. I need to holiday more!

  4. OH! And Happy 4th of July everyone! It is my BabyBoy's 4th birthday! He is truly a firecracker.

  5. Thanks so much for this Christina! I loved reading your Italian descriptions, but also it's all the incentive I need to make some firm plans for next year-- all in the name of dedication to the craft, of course...

  6. Christina, I just read your Count Giovanni - molto bene!!! Excuse my limited Italian. Love your descriptions, am thoroughly jealous of your trip there as I've never been...and with the rain lashing down outside, it's good to have your book to escape with. Good luck with your new hero!
    x Abby Green