It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for my weekly spotlight features, “What’s on your desk, Wednesday?”, where we take a visit to see what’s on somebody’s desk and have a good old nose around. (No kidding!) So without further ado, let’s meet today’s desk, I mean guest…
Welcome to where stories are created, from the desk of author Katherine Mezzacappa
(also writes as Katie Hutton and Kate Zarrelli)
Sassy Brit : Tell us about your writing routine:
Kate Zarrelli : My writing routine is whenever I can manage it, but that does mean every single day. I’ve got four tasks on the go at the moment. One is making publisher’s revisions to my historical novel Ellen’s Gypsy (title tbc – writing as Katie Hutton), scheduled for publication with Bonnier Zaffre in April 2020. A second is writing the first draft of the sequel to that book, for publication in 2021, and a third is revising my Renaissance #MeToo novel (based on historical facts) which I want to publish under my own name, and lastly, promoting my recently-published romance Tuscan Enchantment (eXtasy books, as Kate Zarrelli). I love having a lot going on at once.
I also have a part-time job, so my writing time is the afternoon (I am not a morning person so this works!), mainly at this table in my apartment in Carrara (Italy) but also wherever I find myself. Libraries are good (it’s something to do with other people being there with their heads in books), and so are trains and airports, but aeroplanes less so. My family (husband and two teenage boys) are very supportive but occasionally I’ll disappear to a friend’s house in the country or away on a writer’s retreat when there’s something I really need dedicated time for. I can write into the small hours when I’m on a roll, and not notice the time. As you can see in the photo, I often have the company of Big Magnus and Seán who are really restful company and who never say the wrong thing.
As I write mainly historical fiction, I am always surrounded by books I need to refer to, either for fact-checking, or to find quotes as chapter headings. I’ll also have maps, old guidebooks, or collections of old photographs. Even on days I’m not referring to them, I like to have them by me. When I’m travelling, two or three will come with me. It’s also important to read fiction or correspondence from the time I am writing about, to get authenticity of historical ‘voice’ in the book.
SB: What’s the weirdest thing on your desk?
KM : –I’ve supplied a separate picture of this as it’s so small, and deserves one of its own. It’s a piece of Connemara marble in the shape of my native Ireland, and it was a present from a school friend when I was little. I keep it by me because it inspired the first fiction I ever published (a short story in Ireland’s Own magazine, in Wexford).
SB: The most useful item?
KM : – The most useful item currently is a guidebook to Nottingham from the 1950s published by the civic authorities. The novel I am currently drafting is partly set in that city at that time and it has everything: lists of the best eating places and hotels, articles on the city’s industries, maps, bus companies – you name it. Even the advertisements are inspirational.
SB : Three words to describe your desk?
SB: Where can we find out more about you?
To Tuscan Enchantment:
Katherine Mezzacappa is Irish but now lives in Carrara, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She writes mainly historical fiction on the themes of love and culture clash. Her début novel (under the name Katie Hutton), Ellen’s Gypsy, which deals with the impact of a group of Romani Gypsies on a close-knit Primitive Methodist community in 1920s Oxfordshire, will be published in 2020 by Bonnier Zaffre. She is currently writing its sequel, whilst revising a further book, Giulia of the Albizzi, set in late-sixteenth century Florence and Venice.
Katherine’s short fiction (ranging from commercial to historical to paranormal themes) has been published by Ireland’s Own, Erotic Review, The Copperfield Review, Henshaw Press and Severance, and she also writes short romance under the pseudonym Kate Zarrelli (eXtasy Books). She took third place in the 2018 Bedford International Short Story Competition, was short-listed in 2018 for The Writer’s Desk Newcomer’s Prize (last of 9) and in the same year was long-listed for the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award. She has also published academically in the field of 19th century ephemeral illustrated fiction, and in management theory.
Katherine has worked as a management consultant, museum curator, library assistant, lecturer in History of Art, sewing machinist and geriatric care assistant. In her spare time she volunteers with a second-hand book charity of which she is a founder member.
Katherine is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Romantic Novelists Association, and reviews for Historical Novel Review. She has a first degree in History of Art from UEA, an M.Litt. in English Literature from Durham and a Masters in Creative Writing from Canterbury Christ Church.
Katherine is represented by Annette Green Authors’ Agency.
This was no cold marble—this was a man! Antonia goes to Tuscany to rebuild her life. The last thing she wants to do is fall in love, least of all with rich, arrogant, aristocratic Lorenzo.
Librarian Antonia Gray has fled England for northern Tuscany after an unhappy love affair to work on the archive of a 17th century Italian explorer, a member of a centuries-old aristocratic family. There she meets his descendant, Lorenzo Quattromani, rich, arrogant, handsome—and engaged to the beautiful and ruthless Giselle. The last thing Antonia wants is to fall in love, least of all with someone so dangerous. His engagement, though, is not what it seems, and Lorenzo breaks down Antonia’s resistance. But Giselle has other ideas.
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