Meet Vanessa Carnevale, Pitch wars mentor, women’s fiction author, and freelance article writer. Her debut novel, THE FLORENTINE BRIDGE sold in a two-book deal to Harlequin Australia and is available now! You can read more about that here or purchase the book here. She is co-host of the Podcast, Your Creative Life, and blogs for for The Huffington Post. Last September, she hosted her first sold-out writing retreat in Tuscany called Your Beautiful Writing Life.
In THE FLORENTINE BRIDGE Mia finds she can’t bring herself to paint anymore after battling cancer Has anything in your life ever made you feel like you couldn’t write or partake in some other hobby?
I haven’t personally experienced anything like this, but as a creative person I know that it can feel harder to write when life is out of balance. I imagined that for Mia, going through what she did, would have had some challenges in terms of getting her life back on track. It felt entirely probable that her art and her relationship with her art would be affected after having gone through such a life-changing illness like cancer.
While Mia travels to Italy in the book, you often travel to Italy yourself. What is it about Italy that draws you to it?
I love to travel and Italy is one place I continue to go back to. There are always new towns and cities to explore and I never tire of that. I love the laid-back lifestyle, the history, the culture, the food, the people—I love all of it!
You include some real locations in the book. What are some of your favorites?
Having lived in Florence for several years, it’s a city close to my heart. The Fattoria di Maiano (an agricultural estate in Fiesole) is special to me because I lived there for a little while. I always make sure I visit Piazzale Michelangelo to take in that gorgeous panoramic view of the city.
The cover for your book is gorgeous. Did you get to put any input into your cover?
I adore the cover and the feedback on it has been great! Yes, I was asked to contribute ideas and my vision for it. I mentioned that I thought it might be nice to have a female on it, have it represent in some way that Mia is an artist, and possibly also include the bridge. The designer came up with something way more impressive than I ever could have imagined!
As a kid you had a library teacher who helped inspire your love of writing. If not for her do you think you would have still taken up writing?
I think I still would have, but having a teacher who really helped instill in me a love of reading certainly helped!
You recently tried your hand at flower arranging. Do you think working on flower arranging would be a good way to relieve writing stress?
Yes! I actually became interested in flowers and flower growing while researching my next book (to be published in early 2018). It’s set on a flower farm, and as a result I now have a beautiful garden, and have taken up floral designing as a lovely hobby on the side! Gardening and spending time with flowers can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. It’s very meditative and relaxing. Plus, you get to brighten up the house with them. Highly recommend!
You hosted a writing retreat in September of 2016. What made you decide to host one and are you planning to host another one?
At the moment I’m busy working on the first draft of my third novel and have just finished the structural edit for my second, so this year is turning out to be quite busy. I’m hoping to run another retreat in 2018 as I’m still receiving lots of lovely emails from hopeful attendees who missed out on the last one.
It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to host a writing retreat. I see this as a lovely way to support writers, and share a love of writing with them. There’s something magical that happens on retreat when you allow yourself to disengage from your usual routine, to make way for new ideas and inspiration. So much of what we do as writers requires trust, so being able to connect with ourselves in beautiful surroundings, with no expectations of ourselves, can really make a difference to our work.
What made you decide you wanted to be a Pitch Wars mentor this year?
I love being able to give back to the writing community and saw this as a fabulous way to be able to do that. I know how hard (and lonely) it can be for writers trying to get their work ready for publishing professionals to see so it’s truly an honour to be a part of this. Can’t wait!
What are you most looking forward to about mentoring in Pitch Wars?
Everything! I can’t wait to read the submissions and hopefully find something I truly connect with. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and doing the best I possibly can to help a writer out there take their work to the next level. 🙂
Want to learn more about Vanessa? Visit her author website.
Young Australian artist Mia Moretti has been cancer free for nine months. But her battle with the illness has taken its toll, leaving her depressed and tormented by overwhelming fears. What’s more, she can’t seem to paint anymore. Mia needs a fresh start so when a surprise opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it. With any luck, this trip will help her find whatever it is she needs to open her heart and start painting again.
What she doesn’t count on is meeting Luca, a handsome Italian mechanic. With his smile, his warmth and his inspirational outlook on all the good things life has to offer, he sweeps her off her feet. As Mia slowly lets down her walls and allows Luca in, her passion for life is reignited and her new perspective begins to inspire her art. But just when she’s ready to let go of her past, will a tragedy threaten her new life with Luca?