Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome Friday Friend Cara Marsi

January 7, 2011

I met Cara in Washington D.C. during the RWA National convention and immediately knew I found a new friend. She is such a treasure, and I'm so very happy to have her visiting me today. Please welcome her.


Write what you know, they say. Does that mean you should only write about the town where you live? Of course not. Talented writers can make historical eras from several hundred, or several thousand, years ago seem real. With good research, writers can tell a believable tale about places they’ve never been. However, when you write about a place you’ve visited, your knowledge lends a certain authenticity to your story. Not to mention the fun of revisiting memories of a treasured vacation. Or going to a cool place to do research for your story.

Murder, Mi Amore, my just-released romantic suspense novella from The Wild Rose Press, is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy, a place I visited in 2006. We all know Italy is beautiful, filled with art, history, great food, and beautiful men and women. But every city has an underbelly. I used my imagination to interject this dark side onto the touristy Italy I visited.

All four of my grandparents came from Italy, from the province of Abruzzo. So I have more than a passing interest in the country. I visited Italy with my family for the first time when I was twenty years old, more than a few years ago.

My trip to Italy in 2006 was the inspiration for Murder, Mi Amore. My husband and I traveled to Rome alone. We spent a few days touring the city, then took a train to Abruzzo to meet up with a tour led by my Australian cousin Luciana. Luciana’s company specializes in trips to Abruzzo.

When we were on our own in Rome, my husband and I got lost a lot. We tend to do that. Thanks to the kindness of Italians who spoke English, we always found our way. But it made for a few adventures. None of our adventures were as exciting and dangerous as the ones I put my heroine Lexie through though.

Rome was bustling as always in June, especially with World Cup fever all around. We stayed at a hotel on one of the most popular and crowded streets, Via Corsi. Trevi Fountain was a short walk away. The Pantheon was around the corner. And so was an amazing gelato shop where we bought too many luscious gelatos, the Italian ice cream. Yum. Kiwi Melon was my favorite. There was also a little shop that sold whimsical clocks. We bought two clocks there. I mention the gelato shop and the clocks in my story. Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon also figure prominently.

In Murder, Mi Amore, the hotel on the Via Corsi where Lexie stays is the one where we stayed. I don’t use the actual name, of course. I remember well how I felt as I shouldered my way through the throngs of tourists and natives on Via Corsi. I use these feelings to describe Lexie as she makes her way on this same street after she buys the handbag that starts her adventure with jewel thieves, terrorists, murder, and a mysterious hunky Italian named Dominic.

As I wrote about Lexie and Dominic meeting for the first time at Trevi Fountain, I could hear the chattering of the crowds and the snap of cameras and feel the sun’s heat. I could almost taste the wine Lexie orders. When you see pictures of this iconic fountain, it looks as if it’s in the middle of a very wide street. Nope. It’s set at the end of a very narrow cobblestoned street.

Every scene and location in Murder, Mi Amore is authentic. When Lexie is dragged through dark and narrow streets by her would-be kidnapper, I pictured the little alleyways dotting Rome.

There’s one chapter set in the small town of Ripa Teatina, in Abruzzo. This is the town my paternal grandparents came from. My husband and I traveled that same mountainous road between Rome and Abruzzo that Dominic and Lexie traversed. We weren’t chased by someone trying to kill us, as my characters were, but as I wrote the scene I pictured the mountains in the distance and the lush vegetation.

The food we had all through Italy was exquisite. I tried to convey some of that in my story. Outdoor cafes are as ubiquitous as the motor scooters in Rome. I got a charge out of the young women, dressed in flowing skirts and wearing stilettos and helmets, and flying through the streets on their scooters. I include a couple of near misses with scooters in my story.

My novella ends in Las Vegas, where Lexie lives. My son lives there also. I tied in the real Trevi in Rome to the fake one at Caesar’s in Vegas, and put Lexie in more danger. Just because she left Rome didn’t mean she was out of danger.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little travelogue, and I hope you’ll read my book and that it will take you away to exotic places. I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted through my website:

Here’s the buy link for Murder, Mi Amore:

Here’s the link to the video, which is very sexy:

Also, look for my werewolf paranormal romance, Cursed Mates, released December 13, 2010, from Noble Romance Publishing. That story is set in Maine, a place I’ve visited and loved. I used my visit to Maine to describe some settings in the story. But I didn’t meet any werewolves or demons while there.

Buy link for Cursed Mates:

Video link for Cursed Mates:

My cousin Luciana’s travel site:


  1. Autumn,

    Thank you for having me today. Meeting you at National in DC was one of the highlights of the conference. Not only did I make a new friend, but I found a great new author in you. I hope your readers enjoy their little visit to Italy today.

  2. Cara, I would love to go to Italy and the other countries that my relatives came from and sill live in. It sure helps to be able to picture exactly where your story is taking place. It makes it much more authentic.
    I wish you the best of luck with sales!!!
    Hi Autumn!

  3. Mary, thank you for posting. Yes, it was exciting to see where my grandparents were raised. And I loved writing about Italy.

  4. What a great basis for a story and I'm envious about the "research." How wonderful.

  5. Thank you, Patsy. Yes, the research was fun. I'd do it again.