ABOUT THE BOOKWhen her eyes were finally opened to the truth, she couldn't recognize her own life... Italian-born Lella York is trying to figure out who she is. Her husband has died. Her son is grown and, for the most part, gone. And now, her best friend is missing. Upon returning to Southern California after a visit to her beloved Italy, Lella is shocked to learn the mysterious circumstances of Ruby's disappearance as well as the death of Ruby's husband. And Lella's son is the prime suspect. Her cat is not so happy about it all either! Now, someone's stalking Lella. Caught in the middle of it all, Lella stumbles across the perfect topper—namely, a sexy police detective who keeps secrets from her while he's setting her pants on fire. Nothing like a little romance to distract a girl while she's trying to locate a missing person, solve a possible homicide, get her son out of jail and stay two steps ahead of the firing line.
. . . A perfect murder mystery ~Dana Point Times
In a “suspenseful . . . smooth, compulsive” read, national bestselling and award winning author Maria Grazia Swan, delivers a “can't-put-it-down kind of read, almost like a dream/nightmare that won't stop.” ~Italophile Book Reviews
Gemini Moon was awarded the prestigious HOLT Award of Merit from the Virginia Romance Writers Association. It also received a certificate of excellence from The Heart of the West Romance Writers of America .
INTERVIEW WITH MARIA GRAZIA SWAN
Maria, tell us about your series.
At the moment I have 2 series: Mina’s adventures with 6 books. It started out as a classic mystery, but somehow, as the writing progressed, romance got in the mix. By book two bad boy Diego had entered the pages and he’s still here, stealing my readers’ hearts. Mina, the main character is in her mid-twenty and like all my female main characters is Italian born, living in the United States.
The other series is somewhat different. Lella York’s is fifty plus, a widow with a grown son who is a movie actor. We witness her menopausal years with hot flashes and mid life crisis. Her insecurities come shining through when she meets a sexy retired detective who gets her heart racing in more ways than one. This series is more psychologically suspenseful than Mina’s adventures where there is more spontaneous action.
Again, both series have an Italian-born female character and a cat. What can I say? I’m Italian-born, living in the United States, and I’m a cat person.
In what setting do your books take place?
I wrote my first book, Love Thy Sister-Mina’s adventures #1 while living in Orange County, California. It was only natural to use that locale. I mean, you have sandy beaches, busy freeways, golden boys, and starlets galore. A brief ride form Los Angeles or San Diego, Orange County is simply perfect. Except for book #3, Italian Summer, that I wrote when I went back home, the houses, the streets, and the cemetery are all real, along with the tears and the joys of reliving my youth while telling the story, book 4-5-6 are all set in California. I may have another book there before Mina feels the urge to revisit her beloved Italy.
As for Lella’s books, since she’s not working, she travels more. Book #1, Gemini Moon, starts out in Italy, magnificent Florence, then moves to Orange County, California where she lives and volunteers at the San Juan Capistrano Mission as a docent. Yes, I did that. The second book, Venetian Moon, needs little explanation, takes place around Venice, places I call home. The last one, Desert Moon see our Lella in Phoenix, Arizona, the place I now call home . . . not sure about book #4, but I may have a few surprises for Lella, all associated with the Mission where as I said, I was a docent for a while.
Then again, I have a trip to Italy coming up soon . . .
Are any of your books based on real events?
Indeed all my stories have elements of truth or real events if you prefer. And most of my characters are based on real people.
Take Lella York’s book #1. The encounter with the astrologer on Ponte Vecchio? It happened to me, I changed some details and stretched the drama, but yeah . . . I did give the astrologer a false birth date . . . long story . . . not nearly as interesting as Lella’s.
And the book was inspired by the death of my good friend Yvonne. In real life she died of a gunshot to the back of the head. The shooter? Her husband. After spending years running the scenario of her death in my mind I ended up reversing the roles. I paid homage to my friend by describing Ruby just the way I remember Yvonne. Charming, pretty, petite with dark eyes and dark hair (she was part Italian), and full of life. She was the editor of a magazine. And some of the joyful scenes between Lella and Ruby are also true to life. R.I.P Yvonne.
What are you working on now?
For readers of my Lella York’s books, I have a new title in a wonderful mystery collection that will be published in October. If you like Halloween and mysteries by some of your favorite authors, you're in for a treat. That’s all I know for now.
I’m also working on a new series and some of you are probably tired of reading ‘working on’ it will definitely be out by November. All I can tell you is that I have recipes and the male character name is Tristan. My dear readers, you were the ones who voted for the name . . . remember?
And with that, I’ll say, ciao e mille grazie to Amy for kindly allowing me to share her pages for today.
Thanks for being here, Maria!
Readers, grab Gemini Moon now while it's just $0.99! And enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for—ooh-la-la—haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home. Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco—but then, who doesn't?
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