Author Judith Works has recently published her novel City of Illusions and stopped by The Opinionated Woman’s Musings Blog to talk a little her inspiration for writing.
TOW: What were you like at school?
I was a complete and total wimp and conformist, desperate to be popular. Got a steady boyfriend my junior year in high school and married him after my first year of college. Big mistake!! Dropped out of school and then had to finish the hard way – at night.
TOW: Which writers inspire you?
I like writers who can make historical fiction come alive like Sarah Dunant, and other writers who use Europe as a setting, particularly if the time period is the 1900 to 1945. I also enjoy books specifically about Italy, both history, fiction and nonfiction, and memoir. I found Under the Tuscan Sun inspirational, not because I ever lived Frances Mayes life or because I believed all of it, but because she could make Tuscany come alive through an American’s eyes. This is something I hope my memoir, Coins in the Fountain, soon to be published in paperback, will do for Rome.
TOW: Give us an insight into Laura and Jake. What is it about them that makes them special?
Laura and Jake never should have gotten married – too young and naïve. Laura thought she had found her man but she finds that she has made a mistake.
Laura is beginning to grow up when she realizes that time is passing and she has never done anything interesting with her life. Her internet search for something new turns up a job in Rome.
She slowly becomes more daring and determined, and when she realizes that Jake is not the man she needs, she finds her own way. The path eventually leads to happiness.Jake should have stayed in Seattle because he is overwhelmed by his new situation and easily and naively led astray, all the while telling himself that he really couldn’t possibly be a criminal as he participates in antiquity theft which ultimately leads to a death. He only grows up when he finds himself back in Seattle, older but wiser, and able to be productive and creative.
TOW: What draws you to the romance genre?
The novel doesn’t quite fit into the standard romance category because Laura believes for a long time she can save her marriage, which has become first unromantic and routine, and then as their lives diverge in Rome, increasingly unhappy. But she manages to break away and find love at the end of the story.
I do like stories that have a happy ending, and that is one thing the romance genre provides!
TOW: What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I spent my career writing administrative and legal documents so I’ve always been writing. I began to write creatively about ten years ago when I began to draft up my stories about Italy and other travels. I’m usually at my desk around 6:30 a.m. and work at writing, revising and reviewing for several hours. All my projects are revised many times before they actually become a finished piece of work so I’m slow.
TOW: What do you do to relax?
I read constantly, I love to travel, and I walk regularly.
TOW: What made you choose Rome for this story?
I chose Rome because I lived there for ten years and I observed some of my fellow expatriates behave very badly. The scene where Laura hosts the disastrous lunch is taken from my own life. Additional I’m interested in ancient history and the illegal antiquity trade, one of the plot lines in the story. And also, Rome is a very romantic city filled with lots of handsome Italian men, fabulous food and wine, great shopping, and beautiful warm summer evenings. Who could ask for anything more?
TOW: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing is hard work. To be a writer means persevering when you want to give up, constantly working to improve your craft, and learning to take critique and apply it to your work in progress. So the message is: hang in there and don’t be discouraged!
City of Illusions By Author: Judith Works
Laura impulsively applies for a job in glorious Rome
without telling her husband, Jake. She wants to leave gray Seattle and make her dreams of a more exciting life and a rejuvenated marriage come true. When the offer unexpectedly arrives she talks Jake into the adventure. After all, she is nearing 30 and Jake crossed that threshold only a few years earlier. Life might pass them by if they don’t take the chance.
But she and Jake soon learn la dolce vita is far more complicated than they imagined when they are catapulted into a world full of intrigue, deceit, and infidelity lurking behind the sunny piazzas and crumbling ruins.
Their lives spin out of control when naïve Jake, cast adrift as the trailing spouse, is sucked into a gang of antiquity thieves. Laura is left to find her own way the city of yearning, of echoes, of illusions. What will she do? Preserve her marriage at all costs or search elsewhere for the key to the happiness she desires?
In this woman’s fiction set in the romantic city of Rome, author Judith Works tells the classic tale of the Old World colliding with the New but with a modern twist.
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About the Author:
Ran away to the Circus (Maximus) in mid-life. In reality I worked for the United Nations in Rome for four years as a legal advisor to the director of human resources. When the contract was up my husband and I reluctantly returned to the US. But we pined for the land of pasta, vino, art, and sunny piazzas. Then the gods smiled and offered a chance to return to Rome. Six more years in the Eternal City passed much too quickly.
Now back in the US, I volunteer for arts and literary organizations when not traveling to Italy and other places on my list. And whenever I am in Rome I toss coins into the Trevi Fountain to ensure yet another return to enjoy la dolce vita.
Find her here:
Please keep an eye out for
Judith’s upcoming release of her memoir of living in Rome called ‘Coins in the Fountain’.
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