March 17, 2016
Hello Readers! Welcome to our stop during the mini-tour celebrating the re-launch of the
Secrets of the Eternal Rose series by Fiona Paul with new covers!
Today, we are so excited to introduce you to
Venomous Kiss by Fiona Paul
and are thrilled to have Fiona on the blog for a quick Q&A!
Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, and a handsome, wealthy fiancé—yet she longs for something more. Ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman, she’s drawn into the dangerous and tempting world of secret societies, courtesans, killers, and a mysterious street artist named Falco, who could be the most dangerous temptation of them all.
Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, but his habit of getting into trouble could destroy the perfect life Cassandra has built. Will she find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Formerly published as Venom, Fiona Paul’s first installment of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose is perfect for fans of Jennifer Donnelly’s These Shallow Graves and Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty.
Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited that Paper Lantern Lit opted to repackage and republish the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy and give readers another chance to discover them. I think the new titles and covers are sensual and glamorous and I hope everyone else loves them too.
Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)
It’s a murder mystery set in Renaissance Venice, with spooky graveyards, glamorous masquerade balls, romantic gondola rides, and lots and lots of kissing.
What was your inspiration for writing this book? Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?
I was lucky enough to work on this project in collaboration with Paper Lantern Lit. The original pitch for a murder mystery in Venice was their idea, and then since I had traveled to Venice, and knew a thing or two about dead bodies from my job as a nurse, we worked together to create a story that took their original spark and developed it into a complex tale of love, betrayal, and murder.
Tell us about the main character(s).
Cassandra Caravello is the main character. She’s fifteen (which was like thirty back in the Renaissance ;D) and because her parents are dead and she’s been raised by her aging aunt for several years, she gets away with some improper and unladylike behavior. She’s also allowed the privilege of an education, which most Renaissance women didn’t have. Cassandra has two suitors vying for her affection: her dependable, if a little boring, fiancé named Luca and a rakish street artist named Falco. When Cass and Falco stumble upon the dead body of a murdered courtesan, they team up to try to unmask the killer.
Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?
I really love the graveyard scenes because I was so into the whole dark and creepy vibe of this story that I went to the oldest cemetery in my town, late at night, by myself, for research. It was so helpful to capture the way the shadows of crypts and headstones look in the dark, and how the wind sounds in the trees, the clanking of the wrought-iron gate, the feel of wet grass grabbing at my ankles. Not to mention the tightness in my chest and the pounding of my heart each time I was sure I saw a shadow cross behind me. You can Google a cemetery picture and do a good job describing how it looks, but nothing beats actually going there to capture the other senses and the visceral response of being alone in a dark and scary place.
Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing? If so, why?
What I struggled with the most was staying true to the time period while writing. Both Paper Lantern Lit and I wanted the actual prose to feel modern and accessible, so I used less formal syntax than actual Renaissance speakers, including contractions, but I tried hard not to use words that didn’t exist then. So I would write a sentence using a word like “parade” or “adrenaline” and then wonder when those words were first used, look them up on an etymology website, find out that “parade” is from 1680 and “adrenaline” is from 1901, swear under my breath, and then try to revise with more appropriate words. I won’t even get into all the research we did on a more macro level. I have so much respect for historical writers, because although writing the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy was a fun challenge and I learned a lot, there’s no way I could spend my whole career writing historical books. The research for me took at least twice as long as the writing, and I had Paper Lantern Lit helping me!
What sort of projects do you have going on right now? Any new books coming out?
2016 is an amazing year for me when it comes to books. After Venomous Kiss, Poisonous Touch will release in April and Dangerous Heart will be released in May. These are book two and three in the trilogy and what I have to say about them is that the pace quickens in each book and Cassandra finds herself in steadily increasing danger. Then I also have two of my solo books releasing (under the name Paula Stokes), Girl Against the Universe in May and Vicarious in August. GATU is a romantic contemporary story and Vicarious is a dark and twisty thriller.
It was great having you on the blog today! We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!
Thank you so much for having me. I hope that anyone who likes a blend of action, mystery, and romance set in a glamorous foreign place will give the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy a try :)
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
Fiona Paul is an author, freelance editor, and registered nurse. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she writes romantic mysteries set in Renaissance Venice. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and having adventures in faraway lands. Fiona also writes YA and NA novels under the name Paula Stokes. You can find her on Twitter @Pstokesbooks