A very warm welcome to Victoria Springfield who has come to talk to us about her novel, The Italian Holiday. Victoria, are delighted that you could join us. Could you tell us a little more about it?
The Italian Holiday is an uplifting contemporary seaside romance with a dash of humour. Bluebell reluctantly takes her grandmother’s place on a coach trip around the Amalfi Coast organised by Loving and Knitting magazine and soon makes friends with kind widow, Miriam. A luggage mix-up leaves Bluebell with a suitcase full of flattering, colourful clothes and she and Miriam find themselves on the trail of the owner – a mysterious girl in a poppy-print dress.
Meanwhile, Michela has returned to Italy after a year working in London. Her plans to work in Positano are scuppered by a family crisis and she ends up helping out at her parents’ tiny café-bar in the quaint town of Minori. Michela’s world is rocked when Stefano, her first love reappears just when she’s vowed to forget him. It’s a happy book that explores finding love (no matter how old you are); friendships; family ties – and how a change of clothes can change your life.
What is your writing day like?
I untangle the story that’s been crashing around in my head overnight by going for a walk in the park or for a swim. I then handwrite, maybe in the garden if it’s sunny. After a coffee and a pastry, I’ll type up what I’ve written and if I get on a roll I will type more of the story. I then like to print that off and read it aloud. Next, I scribble amendments and another few paragraphs before typing again. I usually like to complete 1,000 to 1,200 words with a break for lunch at any time. That could take me to mid-afternoon but sometimes I’ll work on into the evening.
What kind of research did you do before beginning the book?
I began my novel a few months after visiting the Amalfi Coast. The atmosphere was fresh in my mind so I could start writing straight away. We first visited Minori, where the fictional Hotel Sea Breeze is located, back in 2015 and liked it so much that we ‘eloped’ there to get married two years later. Minori is so small that we kept seeing the same local people out and about, which made it easy to find inspiration for the book’s Italian characters: Michela and her family; Stefano; old Nonna Carmela and not forgetting Tommaso, the restaurant owner who catches Miriam’s eye.
Where did your research for the book take you?
I was finding it difficult to write about Capri and Sorrento because I had not been there for a while. Luckily, whilst working on the first draft, we went to Ischia (an island off Naples) so I was able to persuade my husband that we should take a day trip to Capri. There I found some beautiful places such as the church of San Michele in Anacapri with its incredible mosaic floor which ended up in the book. I had no intention of making a return trip to Sorrento but when we got back to Naples to catch our flight home, I realised I could jump on a ferry and grab an hour and a half in Sorrento. My husband wisely chilled out in Naples and left me to it! I literally ran around following my characters’ planned route, snapping pictures on my phone and just managed to catch the ferry back.
Which fictional character(s) would you like to invite to dinner? What would you like to talk about?
I’d cook pasta for Lila Cerullo from Elena Ferrante’s four Neapolitan novels. As soon as I finished My Brilliant Friend I knew I had to read the rest of the series. The books explore the intense up-and-down relationship between neighbours and school friends Lila and Elena. We learn so much about Lila’s life, but the books are written from Elena’s point of view. At dinner Lila would finally have her say – and it would be fascinating to hear her first-hand account of living in Naples over the decades.
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
My editor, Rhea Kurien at Orion Dash, will shortly be sending me the structural edits for my second book, also set in Italy. This time the action revolves around a fictional horse riding centre in Tuscany. There’s romance – of course – intrigue, friendship, delicious food, beautiful countryside and lots of sunshine!
Thank you so much for coming to talk to us about your book and your writing.
About the Author
Victoria Springfield writes contemporary women’s fiction immersed in the sights, sounds and flavours of Italy. Her feel-good stories follow unforgettable characters of all ages as they find adventure, friendship and romance. After many years in London, she now lives in Kent with her husband in a house by the river. Victoria joined the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme in 2019. In 2020 she signed a two-book deal with Orion Dash and has now graduated to full membership of the RNA.Amazon.
Where to purchase The Italian Holiday
Where to keep up with Victoria
Victoria was talking to Ruby Moone
Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.