Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Top 5 Shamelessly Fun Ways I Researched for The Italian Party by Christina Lynch + Giveaway (US/Can)

The Italian Party
Christina Lynch
from St. Martin's Press (MacMillan)

Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany's famous beauty. But the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of ltaly, America and each other.

When Scottie’s Italian teacher—a teenager with secrets of his own—disappears, her search for him leads her to discover other, darker truths about herself, her husband and her country. Michael’s dedication to saving the world from communism crumbles as he begins to see that he is a pawn in a much different game. Driven apart by lies, Michael and Scottie must find their way through a maze of history, memory, hate and love to a new kind of complicated truth.

Half glamorous fun, half an examination of America's role in the world, and filled with sun-dappled pasta lunches, Prosecco, charming spies and horse racing, The Italian Party is a smart pleasure.


Ways That Researching The Italian Party Was Shameless Fun


I offer you, Young Aspiring Writer, two pieces of wisdom: a) novels take an absurdly long time to write, longer than it takes to gestate an elephant (and the results are much less charming), and b) you have to really want to write a novel or it tends to end partway down page one. Those who have the stomach for spending ten years writing about daily life in a Siberian prison camp well deserve the prizes they win. Me, I chose to write about Tuscany in the 1950s. I found a little darkness there, too, but I included just enough plates of pappardelle to keep me from putting down the pen for good.
  1. Setting my novel in Siena meant that (even though I had lived in Tuscany for four years) I had to go back for three weeks one summer and do research. I had to eat amazing meals night after night, because that’s what my characters do. I had to tour all around the stunning countryside and visit the hill towns because it’s part of the book. I really had no choice!
  2. I had to get into the mood of the book, even when it was February in California, which meant I had to drink Campari and sodas all year round. I did not deduct that from my taxes, even though it was essential research, out of fear that the IRS would engage in its own form of research...
  3. I had to spend hours idly flipping through the pages of Life and Look magazines from the summer of 1956—research. The same goes for Italian newspapers from that summer. I had to track what people were wearing, eating, the movies they were seeing, the books they were reading, and the refrigerators they were buying. Check the book: it’s all in there! I was not, as many people who saw me thought, wasting time.
  4. I had to lie on the sofa all day on many Sundays and read all about the glamorous life of Clare Boothe Luce, America’s first female ambassador, and her bejeweled, fur-clad years in Rome. Ditto for the mysterious stories of CIA chiefs, CIA wives and the never-dull Dulles brothers. If the lawn did not get mowed, you can blame research.
  5. I had to cook Italian meals for my friends, washed down with Italian wines, because otherwise I would not have been able to write with any kind of verisimilitude. I deserve a glass of Prosecco for spelling that word correctly, and you deserve one for reading it. Viva la research!

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Italian Party—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Christina's question in the comments below:
What kind of research would you like to do, and what kind of book would you write after doing it?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Christina and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends April 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!