Thursday, April 28, 2016

Q&A with Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes, photo by Sheri Geoffreys
Anita Hughes is the author of the new novel Island in the Sea. Her other novels include Rome in Love and French Coast. Born in Sydney, Australia, she lives in Dana Point, California.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your characters Juliet and Lionel in Island in the Sea, and why did you decide to have the characters work in the music business?

A: Actually, first I came up with the idea of setting the book in the music industry, then I came up with the characters. I wondered what it would be like to be a famous songwriter who writes love songs but has been betrayed in love. Could you still write about love?

Then, I thought, what if a beautiful young woman appeared who held your career in your hands and you began to fall in love with her. I also threw in Lionel's boss as the person who betrayed Lionel and the man who Juliet answers to.

Q: The novel takes place on the island of Majorca. How important is setting to you in your writing, and could this novel have taken place in another location?

A: Setting is very important to me when I write - it is actually the first thing I think about. It has to be somewhere I want to spend the next three months (the amount of time it takes me to write the novel) and ideally it has to have history as well as natural beauty.

I have always been in love with Majorca (and Spain in general) so I thought it would be the perfect setting.

Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing, or did you make many changes along the way?

A: I generally know how my novels will end but often there are surprises. As I write, I understand my characters’ motivations better and they can make different choices than I originally intended. There were definitely twists towards the end that changed things a bit.

Q: Your chapters alternate between Juliet's and Lionel's perspectives. Why did you decide to write it that way, rather than just from Juliet's viewpoint?

A: I love writing from a man's point of view! Especially Lionel's. He is jaded and often depressed but I think he offers great wisdom.

I also think you can tell a richer story by writing from alternate points of view. Juliet is fresh and young and has her whole life before her. Lionel is trying to do damage control and pick himself up and start again.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A: My next book, Santorini Sunsets, comes out on August 2. It is about a young New York philanthropist who travels to the Greek island of Santorini for her wedding to a Hollywood heartthrob. Everything is great until she discovers her ex-husband hiding in the rose bushes!

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I have a third book coming out this year, Christmas in Paris. It will be released on October 4. It is about Paris and Christmas - two of my favorite things!

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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