We talk Venice, ‘European Style Detachment’ and Carrot Cake…
Welcome, Kristin Anderson! Please tell us a little about your latest
book, “The Things We Said in Venice.”
The Things We Said in Venice is a fast-paced travel romance of a contemporary nature. It has quite a bit of humor and has been described as both steamy and saucy, but also explores more mature themes. It gets into issues of divorce, loss, healing, recovering from betrayal and setting boundaries. It is steeped in architecture and culture without getting too high brow, and of course, it gives you a chance to go on a whirlwind travel adventure and fall in love. As you can imagine, The Things We Said in Venice takes place mostly in Venice, but like your upcoming novel Oh! What a Pavlova, visits multiple cities and countries. In the case of my novel, in addition to Venice, readers get to visit Belluno, Sappada, Vicenza and Cortina, Italy, Reims, France, Barcelona, Spain, Amsterdam and The Hague, The Netherlands and more.
What inspired you to write it?
I started writing a happy little romance as a vacation from a more serious writing topic. But the more I got to know my lead characters Sarah and Fokke, the more the story and the settings swept me up. Before I knew it, I was on my way to writing a novel.
Another inspiration was my circle of friends. Although most of my friends are married, I have several female friends who have pretty much given up on men due to getting burned. They are such awesome, talented and independent women, that they aren’t sure a man or a relationship is worth their time. Yet they long for the sort of intimacy that can only come from taking a leap of faith and opening up their hearts again to the chance of love. So in a way, I wrote it for them. They don’t know this of course.
In Chapter 1 of the novel (something you can currently view for free on Kristin’s website https://authorkristinanderson.com/tag/venice-romance/), you mention a phenomenon that the protagonist of your novel “invents”: European Style Detachment. It sounds fascinating… please enlighten us!
In The Things We Said in Venice, the lead character Sarah Turner is traveling abroad for the first time. She is also traveling alone. Without the distraction of a travel partner, she is truly observing and absorbing the culture around her, while contrasting it with the only culture she knows; the United States.
Like Sarah, I am also from the U.S. In general, Americans are friendly, curious people, who aren’t afraid to jump right in and talk to strangers or observe others. They like to be helpful and can be prone to problem solving, or in other words, getting involved in other people’s business.
In the six years I’ve lived in The Netherlands and traveled through Europe, I’ve observed that Europeans don’t share these ‘American’ qualities. They are less likely to jump into a conversation with a stranger and they also give people more room to just be who they are. This could come across as indifference or aloofness, but I think it has to do with a general acceptance of differences in culture, due to the proximity of so many countries and cultures within a short distance. There’s probably a name for this, but I dubbed it European Style Detachment.
Here is a small excerpt from Sarah’s perspective just after she has boarded a train in Belluno, Italy and is overhearing a conversation that is out of her line of sight:
‘Back home, she would need to know why the [train] doors had to open once more and what these men are discussing. But in the past four weeks of free-wheeling through western Europe on her own, she has adjusted her way of responding to things beyond her control. She has learned to let go. It is so different from how she acts at home that she has given her newfound skill a name: European Style Detachment.’
Excerpt, The Things We Said in Venice, chapter 1.
Venice features briefly in my own novel and besides the sights and the sounds, one of the biggest surprises for me in Venice was the food. Out of all of the Italian cities, it’s not often that we go to Venice for her gastronomy. What’s the most memorable meal you have ever eaten in the city?
I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I had a plate of gnocchi, which is a potato-based pasta. It was so delicious I ordered a second helping, much to the dismay of the waiter. Gnocchi is very filling. Usually a tea drinker, I developed an addiction for espresso both times I was in Venice. Somehow it tasted better there! I realize this could most likely be a trick of ambiance and the joy of being on vacation, but I’m sticking to my story—the espresso is better in Venice.
Can you give us any clues as to what you are working on next?
I’m currently working on a sequel to The Things We Said in Venice. I enjoyed the characters so much, that I want to hang out with them a little longer. Readers have shared a similar desire, so it’s good to know that Sarah and Fokke have a following who wants to see them again soon. Sarah’s sister, April, who is briefly mentioned in the first novel, will play a major role in the second novel. New characters will also weave their way into the story, which is currently set in The Hague. Though I imagine, like your novel, the characters will probably travel to other locations.
Favourite cake? And on that note, I am particularly excited to learn that you hail from Solvang, California (a little piece of Denmark in America). I once visited for the day and loved the cake there in particular!
Ha! You’ve done your homework! Yes, I’m from Solvang and I’m so impressed that you not only know where that is, but that you have visited Solvang! It’s a small town, with a friendly atmosphere. The Book Loft is carrying my novel in the ‘local writers’ section, which is quite an honor, considering I no longer live there.
I worked in one of those Danish bakeries for a year when I was in high school, so I know a lot about pastries and cake. But my favorite cake is carrot cake with buttercream frosting. I’ve experimented with some vegan versions of this as well.
Favourite place you have ever visited anywhere in the world – other
than Venice, California, or your current home, Holland?
I’m going to get greedy and go with two places. Bali, Indonesia and Ronchamp, France. Bali for its friendly people, warmth and ocean lifestyle, Ronchamp and environs for the beautiful chapel designed by Le Corbusier that is called Notre Dame du Haut and the surrounding countryside which just says “relax.”
Your one piece of advice for anybody writing in your genre?
Don’t underestimate the power of a proofreader. I can’t tell you how many romance novels I’ve read that have spelling and grammar errors right when things get intense or steamy. It’s as if the author is so excited by the fact that the two lead characters are finally getting intimate or having a conflict, that they drop words or write the write the same words twice. That can pull the reader out of a very important moment in your plot development.
In my first novel, I had changed the lead male character’s name from Adam to Jake. However, the find and replace function somehow didn’t make the replacement at a crucial point. My lead female character almost uttered the wrong name. Thank God for proofreaders!
You can buy Kristin’s fabulous book, “The Things We Said in Venice” via the link below:
US edition – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XKDNFTM
UK edition – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XKDNFTM
And you can follow Kristin on her Facebook Author page here: