www.wowsar.co.uk

Spotlight & Giveaway: A Family Made in Rome by Annie O’Neil | Harlequin Junkie | Blogging about Books Leave a comment


Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Annie O’Neil to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Annie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A Family Made in Rome!

 
It is my absolute pleasure to be here!
 

To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:

This book came about when the Harlequin editorial team asked if I’d be interested in writing a book with my fellow duet author, the inimitable Scarlett Wilson. I have long been a fan of Scarlet’s books and writing with her was a dream come true. We got the ‘mission’ during the summer months of lockdown when, sadly, we still couldn’t take any holidays, so we set ourselves the mission of putting the book somewhere we both loved: Italy!
 

Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:

I know this one is “slightly” (read – super duper) cliched, but…:

““Of all the medical conferences, in all the world…he’d had to walk into hers.”

I’m also a fan of this one which happens pretty early in the book:

“They were being drawn to one another like a moth to a flame.
But who was who in this scenario?
She definitely didn’t want to be the moth. No way was she going to let a night with Leon consume the self-respect she’d built for herself after her move to Sydney. She’d beaten herself up for years for letting herself fall in love with him back then, despite a silent vow to keep things simple. No more moth behaviour for her.
No. Tonight she wanted to be the flame. Wanted this to be the night she finally understood that the energy they shared was purely physical. ”

Excerpt From: Annie O’Neil. “A Family Made in Rome”. Apple Books.

 

What inspired this book?

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Rome several times and in all seasons.This book is set in the Spring which is one of my favourites to write about because everything about Spring sings of possibility – which is pretty much exactly like falling in love. We also were writing about a shared medical case. Specifically, a case of conjoined twins. As you no doubt guessed, it’s an incredibly complex medical scenario to think about let alone write about, but having Scarlett as my “co-captain’ made dealing with the medical issues in the book more approachable.

 

How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?

I just loved Lizzie and Leon. They are classic second chance romancers – one of my favourite tropes – and what better place for them to fall in love than Rome in the Springtime?

They each did surprise me. I like to throw a lot of trouble in the way of my characters and when they fight back and say, no! I want to fall in love, it adds that writing ‘magic sauce’ that every romance needs. Two characters who very, VERY much want to be in love, but…for reasons you’ll soon explore…can’t right now.

 

What was your favorite scene to write?

I would say any scene involving food pretty much had me hooked! I remember every trip I’ve had to Italy via the foods I ate. However – in all honesty – the scenes I thought I found most difficult – the surgical scenes – were actually my favourite – because, like a good Grey’s Anatomy scene, having a conversation over someone who is fighting for their life about the things that are critically important to you are always nail biters. I love them. Here’s a little peek into the first set of rounds they took around the hospital:

“Amniotic Band Syndrome?’
‘Si.’
Lizzy instinctively swept her hands to the slight curve of her belly. So slight it might easily be mistaken for a large breakfast. She glanced into the room, only able to catch sight of the woman’s swollen belly and her hands rubbing it over and over, as if for good luck. ABS was rare, but in this day and age, if it was caught early enough and treated by an excellent team of surgeons, it was something that didn’t have to cause the profound trauma to an unborn child it once had.
‘How bad?’ She was, as Leon would know, asking after the fibrous, string-like pieces of tissue which had become detached from the amniotic sack and entangled the baby. This tissue, if attached to the growing child, would restrict blood flow and in some extreme cases cause stunted bone growth and even in utero amputation.
‘Some of the bands are attached to the cheek.’
Lizzy’s lips thinned to a wince. ‘Risk of cleft palate?’
‘High. I don’t think it was caught early enough. We’ve informed our plastics team. They’ll ensure any malformation is minimal. But at this stage it’s always hard to say[…]”

Excerpt From: Annie O’Neil. “A Family Made in Rome ”

 

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Oooo, gosh. I would say the dark moments are ALWAYS the hardest for me to write. As much as I love throwing trouble in my hero and heroine’s paths, I hate it when they have that moment when they think all is lost. I’ve had a few dark moments of the soul of my own and for me, it’s like physically revisiting those moments again – the times when your editors encourages you to really dig deep and you think, No! I don’t wanna! It hurts! But…to steal a phrase from REM…everybody hurts, sometimes…and these moments in a book are critical in order to make a character really focus in on exactly what it is they want from life: to hang onto their fears? Or to confront them and move on with the person that they love by their side. Scary but there are some awfully fine benefits on the other side of the fight with the dragon. NB: I was invited to put a snibbet of the scene in here, but it would be a total spoiler so I’m going to keep you in suspense! (I’m so mean. LOL).

 

Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?

Oh,I would say this is fairly classic Annie O’Neil. There is food, humour, love and a deep desire to believe in HEAs. I always have a tendency to lean into comedy when things get too dark, but there are definitely some moments where my characters have to take some pretty deep swan dives into their psyches to see whether or not they can wrestle and triumph over their darkest demons.

 

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

That they should definitely visit Rome! (LOL…I know. I’m lucky because I’m pretty close, but I would say it’d be wise to put pizza or pasta on the menu while you’re reading). More seriously, I would like readers to see that even when life throws you some epic curveballs, sometimes they’re exactly what you need in order to break some patterns that may not be in your best interests. A lot of bad habits come out of fear and using fear as battle gear never leads anywhere useful. Bring on the open hearts and open minds society!

 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?

I am just about to start writing a duet set in Nashville with the wonderful Tina Beckett and I cannot wait. I was late to watching the series and have been utterly hooked.Expect love of music, a sexy cowboy doc and some rollercoaster emotions. I also have a book set in Hawaii coming out (can you see the trend? I’m setting things in all the places I yearn to have fantasy vacations in!). That one was GREAT fun writing. I hope you enjoy them all.

 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: I have two copies of this gorgeous first half of a duet to give away!

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you could have a romance anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

Excerpt from A Family Made in Rome:

“HERE WE ARE.’
Leon’s lips brushed against Lizzy’s neck, his familiar touch and lightly accented voice sweeping through her nervous system like the New Year’s Eve fireworks display they’d just slipped away from. Dangerous. Dazzling. Powerful enough to unearth a thousand memories she’d barely managed to stuff into a box over the years since they’d seen each other last.
She tried to sweep them away again, desperate to believe that the past didn’t matter. That this chance meeting wasn’t fate forcing her hand, demanding that Lizzy confess to Leon he was the only man she’d ever loved. An admission that would definitely send him running back to the seven hills of Rome.
It had been five years since their paths had last crossed. Hardly a surprise, considering she worked in Sydney and he worked in Rome, and their lives—professional and personal—had never intertwined as they had once before here in New York during their surgical internships.
Not one email. Not one phone call. No texts. Nothing.
But she still knew him well enough to know that telling him she loved him would put an immediate halt to whatever was about to happen behind this hotel room door “And, God help her, she wanted to go into that room. She wanted him.
He ran his fingertips along her bare collarbone. It was all she could do to contain a low groan.
Of all the medical conferences, in all the world…he’d had to walk into hers.
He stroked her arm and a skittering of goosebumps added wattage to the flames already burning bright for him. When she realised the touch had been accidental—that his hand had been on the way to his pocket to check for his key—her body’s automatic heated response offered a new perspective.
Perhaps the sentiment she’d been clinging to these last five years hadn’t been love at all. Their shared passion for antenatal surgery, their mutual desire to be the best, the head-to-head competi“tion their mentors had encouraged, pitting them one against the other to be the very best, and their obvious physical attraction… Perhaps all those things added up to nothing more than good old-fashioned lust.
It wasn’t as if she wanted to sit and talk to him about feelings all night long. Or their pasts. Those types of moments had never defined what she—perhaps wrongly—had called their relationship.
What she’d felt for him then was remarkably similar to her response to him now. It was primal. Instinctive. An animal attraction. A shared hunger for the same goals in life colliding at the perfect time and place. The only difference being that last time they’d had two years together, while this time they had one solitary night…
Her body was responding to him as strongly as it had the first time they’d met. Crackling and sparking as if the seven years since that moment had never existed.
But they had. And ever since they’d both left New York there had been a part of Lizzy that believed their relationship might have been something more if only they’d given it the oxygen to breathe.
In fairness, she’d been as “marriage-shy as he had. Not that she’d ever told him why. Who wanted to unload a mountain of childhood misery into a relationship that was fuelled by a shared belief that the world of antenatal surgery was theirs to conquer?
But now their individually built, hard-earned professional futures had led them here, to the most elite medical conference in their field. Where, once again, they were being drawn to one another like a moth to a flame.
But who was who in this scenario?
She definitely didn’t want to be the moth. No way was she going to let a night with Leon consume the self-respect she’d built for herself after her move to Sydney. She’d beaten herself up for years for letting herself fall in love with him back then, despite a silent vow to keep things simple. No more moth behaviour for her.
No. Tonight she wanted to be the flame. Wanted this to be the night she finally understood that the energy they shared was purely physical. ”
“Was being with Leon tonight the best way to make those years of self-doubt disappear? Who knew? But she was tired of living on an emotional rollercoaster—being yanked this way and that, wondering if she had lost her one chance at happiness.
Maybe they were more similar than she thought. Two moths. Two flames. Neither of them willing to admit to feelings that were too frightening. Too raw. Or maybe they just fancied the pants off one another. And—wouldn’t you know it?—there was a fancy hotel room waiting to help them out…
Her eyes drifted to the hotel room door, willing it to give her a nudge in the right direction.

Honeymoon Suite

Leon caught her taking in the gold script on the door. Their eyes met and meshed with an intensity that blazed through her like wildfire. It had been a long time since she’d felt like this. Out of control. So she did the only thing she could think of to regain that control.
She snorted.
There were many things she believed were going to happen behind that closed door tonight, but consummating a marriage neither of them wanted wasn’t one of them.”

Excerpt From: Annie O’Neil. “A Family Made in Rome”. Apple Books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

Can one last night in New York

Lead to a new beginning in Rome?

When Leon Cassanetti is called on to perform pioneering surgery on conjoined twins, he knows who he wants by his side – his ex, Lizzy Beckley. Their history is complicated… but Lizzy is honored to join Leon in Rome to save these babies. Only first she must deliver a baby bombshell of her own to this career-driven bachelor!

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google |
 
 

Meet the Author:

Annie spent most of her childhood with a leg draped over the family rocking chair and a book in her hand. Novels, baking and writing too much teenage angst poetry ate up most of her youth. Now, Annie splits her time between corralling her husband into helping her with their cows or scratching the backs of their rare breed pigs and spending some very happy hours at her computer writing.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads |

 

 

 





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *