Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi, my name is Kathrin Murphy and I am 52 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in Toronto, Canada
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a sustainability consultant and over the past 15 years have worked with companies helping them improve the environmental and social footprint. I also recently trained as a life and career coach to help young people find meaningful careers in the impact space. I have an undergraduate degree in History& Political Science with a minor in Italian Studies and I also have a MBA. I am married to my American husband, James who hails from Houston, Texas.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am currently working on my next two books. The sequel to “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato” is called “Lemons, Lovers & Lavender” which takes place in Provence and features a secondary character from my first book. The third book is titled “Camels, Couscous &Casbahs” and finds the protagonists of both previous books reunited in a fun caper in exotic Morocco.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when my husband and I were living in separate cities for a couple of years due to work. I was in a demanding job and looked to books to take me away from my day-to-day life. I love reading books that take place in Mediterranean countries and I love romance books but I couldn’t find the kind of books that were geared towards my age category, 40+. Most of what is written in the romance genre tends to be for twenty- or thirty-somethings yet I know of so many women in their 40’s who are divorced or single but haven’t yet given up on finding true love. So I just started writing the kind of book I wanted to read and the result was “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Even though I’m published I’m not sure I consider myself a writer, even today. Because the process has been so much fun it doesn’t feel like I’m a writer. I always assumed that writing is really hard and serious work.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired by my love of Italy (which I discovered when I was 15 years old) and my love of all things Italian and Tuscan. It’s not difficult to get inspired by Tuscany. It’s such a romantic setting. And don’t even get me started about Italian men!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It just came to me one day. It was almost magical. What a lot of people call being “in the zone”, when everything clicks into place for no specific reason. So much about this book happened this way. I would find clues about what I should write about or include in the storyline by just going for a walk or talking to people and that’s how the name came about as well.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
People who have read the book have told me that my writing style really draws them into the story and that it makes them feel like they are in Italy right there with the protagonist, Adriana. It’s also inspired a lot of people to book their next trip to Tuscany. I’m nor sure this qualifies as a writing style but I guess it’s an effect of my writing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think the story is a fantasy that many women have, whether it’s taking off for Italy or reinventing their lives at a certain point. About starting over and leaving everything behind that has become day-to-day, uninspired drudgery. So, while my story is a fantasy, the book has also been compared to a cross between the non-fiction books, “Under the Tuscan Sun”, Frances Mayes account of buying and restoring an Italian villa, and “Eat, Pray, Love” Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of finding herself and true love in a foreign county. And there’s a bit of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” thrown into my novel as well, for good measure.
I think every book has a bit of the author’s own experiences in it and some of the things Adriana experiences when she discovers Italy where things I experienced as well, like learning about the food and wine.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I had been to Italy and specifically Tuscany many times before writing the book. It’s one of my favourite places on earth. In fact, I spent nearly a year in Florence after my undergraduate studies where I studied Italian and learned to cook. So, I had a lot of experiences to draw on. My husband and I also go to Italy as often as we can.We’ve been back a few times since I began writing the book. But mostly these trips were to get photos for my website.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I worked with Tellwell Publishing and I had a very different cover in mind. I initially wanted a drawing or photo of a woman driving an Italian car up a road that leads to her Tuscan villa. My advisor at Tellwell said they could do this but would I be open to something different. When they presented me with the cover I immediately knew it would be perfect and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on it. People love it! It really sets the tone for the story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
While the book is essentially a romance, I also wanted it to be about a romance for the location, Tuscany. The other message I wanted to get across is that it’s never too late to reinvent your life. The protagonist in “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato” is 40 years old when she moves to Italy to start all over again. She has always played life on the safe side but by taking a leap of faith in middle age, she manages to bring a lot of joy, happiness, love and fulfilment into her life.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Well, lately I’ve been reading a lot of books set in Tuscany, both fiction and non-fiction (to check out the competition) and also books set in Provence (the location for the sequel to “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato”) and one of the writers I really enjoyed is Jennifer Criswell, an American with a real-life story of uprooting her life to move to Italy. She is brutally honest about what it takes and reveals that it’s not always a walk in the park to start over in a foreign country.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I was very secretive about my writing. Even my parents didn’t know what I was up to until the book was published, and I handed them a physical copy. No one except my husband knew what I was up to. It was never my goal to publish. I was just writing to entertain myself. However, my husband who is my inspiration for just about everything in my life was the one to say I should publish after he read the first draft. He was my biggest cheerleader and continues to be so.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to write for a living but right now it’s not lucrative enough. Maybe one day. I love everything about the process, even the marketing aspects that a lot of writers hate.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the writing process involved “being in the zone” where things snapped into place almost as if by magic. The writing process was very intuitive and if you follow your intuition, there shouldn’t be anything that needs changing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. That people like what I have to say and that I’m able to tell a story that can take people away into another world. I’ve always believed that this is the magic of books and for me to have accomplished this is magical in and of itself. I am very grateful for this.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
That’s a great question. I would love to have “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato” made into a movie if only for the reason thatwe’re always hearing that there aren’t enough good roles for women over 40 in Hollywood. This would be a perfect for any 40-something actress. Maybe Amy Adams or Jennifer Garner.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just go for it. If you have a story in you – and I believe that everyone does- write it down. Read a couple of books on writing or take a class. I read “See Jane Write” before starting and it was a great guide to writing chick-lit. There’s tons of information, a lot of it free, available online. Do a bit of research but then just go for it. And set yourself a goal of how much you want to write in a day, a week, a month. Get lots of feedback from people you trust to give you honest comments on what you’ve written, then take that advice to make your writing the best it can be.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love to hear from my readers to learn about what in “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato” resonated with them and about their adventures in a foreign country or how they have reinvented themselves. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has a story to tell and I love connecting with readers on that level.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Every Day in Tuscany” the follow-up to Frances Mayes’ “Under the Tuscan Sun”. I will be interviewing Frances for my blog in a few weeks’ time so am brushing up on some of the books she’s written as she was such an inspiration to me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. It was probably a French or German children’s book. Those were the first two languages I learned. My first English book was “The Cat in the Hat”. Dr. Seuss helped me learn English when I was six.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband for both and our dog, Fanny too. She’s a golden retriever-Beagle-shepherd mix and she’s got quite the temperament and character. She’s featured in the book as well.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Oprah. I am in awe of what she has achieved in her career and her life. I totally admire how she has dedicated her life to helping people discover and use their higher purpose. I wrote a scene in “Gentlemen, Gigolos & Gelato” in which the protagonist, Adriana, is interviewed by Oprah. I just had to include that. Those are the kinds of fun things you can do as a fiction writer.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I love to cook and bake. Both my husband and I do, and a lot of our life revolves around food and wine. A lot.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
“Scandal” is my guilty pleasure. I love anything that Shonda Rhimes puts out into the world. She’s a master storyteller and having just written a book I appreciate what goes into a good storyline and plot, interesting characters and keeping the readers/audience’s attention. We need more women like her in show business. As for films, I will watch any movie set in Italy but there aren’t enough of those!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: areally good French baguette with butter and Nutella. It’s my comfort food!
Colors: I’m am partial to blue and red, depending on my mood.
Music-wise it’s a little more difficult to pinpoint a favourite genre. I love rock’n’ roll oldies from the 60’s and 70’s, but I also love Sinatra, and recently I got hooked on country music as a result of watching the show “Nashville”.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d be running a B&B in Tuscany or the South of France.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“She had an interesting life”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Kathrin-Murphy/e/B077H9HJXD/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0