…and find out why she chose Tuscany as the Setting for her latest Novel, The Silence…
Hello Isabella, and thank you for inviting me onto your blog.
You’re very welcome, Katharine. Tell us all about your latest novel!
I’m feeling excited but nervous at the moment as my Tuscany-based novel, The Silence is about to be published on June 8th.
Here’s the blurb:
Can you ever truly escape the past? Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle – and a secret that could destroy everything. When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992. A summer that ended in tragedy. The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity. In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open
Abby is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle in Tuscany while her father and stepmother are on honeymoon. Still traumatised by the death of her mother the previous year, she’s a shy, anxious child whose life is transformed by her rebellious, free spirited cousin Philippa who has a theory about everything and a plan for the perfect crime. Abby is intrigued as to why Philippa’s family left England so suddenly without telling anyone – but it soon becomes clear that everyone at the villa has something to hide.
So why Tuscany?
Firstly because it’s a beautiful region that many readers will identify with. I’ve semi-lived there for fifteen years and I love the multi-layered history of the place. A house like Villa Leonida would have so many stories to tell.
I wanted the backstory to take place somewhere hot so that the temperature could rise in line with the tensions within the villa and the heat would make everything a bit more claustrophobic. Also in Abby’s memory it would seem quite dream-like which would make it easier to convince herself afterwards that the events of her last night at the villa hadn’t really happened. I love the way that the land reclaims itself very quickly – in a short time buildings are hidden away and forgotten, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle so a crime could take years to be uncovered.
The chestnut drying tower which the girls use as a den plays an important part in the story. Chestnuts have traditionally provided a valuable food source in Tuscany with chestnut flour used for making pasta and crepes called necci.
Some of the mountain villages are very remote. Because Villa Leonida is thought to have a curse on it, the villagers refuse to go near it which adds to the girls’ sense of isolation and lawlessness.
The Silence is published on June 8th.
Buy before 8th June at the special pre-order price of 99p/99c Amazon – The Silence
Show me proof of order (pm or email email@example.com) and you’ll be entered into a goody bag prize draw which includes Prosecco and chocolates, Amazon gift card and a signed paperback copy of my first novel Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings.
Come to the party!
I’m having an online launch party on Facebook on 8th-9th June 2017 and would love you to come along. Discover more about the book, meet some visiting authors and win prizes. More details here: The Silence launch Party
Thanks for having me Isabella. I hope you will visit Katy’s Writing Coffee Shop soon for a chat over some pavlova!
That’s a given! Good luck with the launch, Katharine. Tuscany is one of my favourite areas of Italy, too…
About the author: Katharine Johnson is a journalist with a passion for crime novels, old houses and all things Italian (except tiramisu). She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children and madcap spaniel. She plays netball badly and is a National Trust room guide.
Publisher’s website: Crooked Cat