Eighteen months have passed since Canna Medici’s second near-death experience. Her new life has taken shape in the Corsican seaside town of Bonifacio, married to her soul-mate, Spanish baritone Claudio Ramos Ibáñez. With a successful boatyard to run, Canna doesn’t realise that her meddlesome friend, Abigail Troublé, is keen to move on from the death of her husband with a certain opera star…
One piece of the couple’s perfect life is missing. Claudio’s young son, Casamiro, still lives in London with his mother, Veena. As Canna and Claudio’s belated wedding ceremony looms, Claudio learns that life may give him a way to keep Casamiro on a more permanent basis, but custody will come at a great cost…
When Canna and Claudio are forced to spend more time in London, Claudio’s colleagues from Virtuosi, the now-broken famous opera quartet, want him to return and take his place as a superstar. With life in the spotlight and a custody battle, Claudio is too distracted to realise the danger of Canna’s mysterious Italian visitor…
It’s time for Canna to lay the ghosts of her murderous and drug-addicted past to rest, once and for all, but life crumbles when a surprise arrival shakes her happiness to the core…
Hello and welcome to the first part of the Q+A about my new book. I have split it into five parts so it isn’t one long bore of a post (I hate posts that drag on and on, regardless of the content). Part 5 will be the first chapter of the book, which will be released on Kindle and in paperback on August 29.
Thanks for the questions I received here, on Twitter and Facebook. It’s not too late to add a question. I have added questions together and mashed similar questions into one to answer as many as I can. Part 1 will focus mainly on the upcoming book, with separate blogs on me, my other works and writing. I realise many people are still on book one and two, so I am going to make this as spoiler-free as possible, which could be a challenge. Let’s start with something easy –
1) What is Luminous Colours of Dusk (LCOD) all about? What can we expect from Canna for the third time?
LCOD is the third visit to Canna-land, to see if Canna Medici can make good on all the promises she made at the end of Violent Daylight – to gain control of her bipolar, kick her addictions and her dealings with her Italian crime family, and attempt to become less Contessa di Caraceni and more Mrs Catherine Ramos. From the very beginning of Night Wants to Forget, Canna was suffering the trauma of a hit-and-run accident and her subsequent drug addiction, and her ever-looming bipolar disorder, which she refused to acknowledge. Canna has suffered many up and downs, got herself in situations that were dangerous, deadly to some, she committed a shitload of crimes, and at the end of the second book, failed in her attempts to keep her impulsive behaviour under control, and almost died again. LCOD starts eighteen months after the final scenes in Sydney in Violent Daylight, and shows Canna making changes. Her life is now based in Bonifacio, southern Corsica, and things have been travelling along a very different path, but it’s easy to see the cut-throat mannerisms so many readers love are all still inside Canna. Now juggling what Canna finds most irritating – normal life – but when a serious illness and a request from the Italian Caraceni crime family come along, Canna realises maybe she is capable of more than she ever thought. The effect it will have on her new husband, Claudio Ramos, will be the most profound change of all.
2) Will Canna ever make good on her threat to kill Dane Porter? Will Claudio and Dane reconcile? Will opera quartet Virtuosi get back together?
There is an even 50/50 split with tenor Dane Porter – half love him and half hate him. Claudio refers to Dane as the idiot man-child now. Canna has a stable life – home, husband, career, therapy, friends – and anyone who messes with her carefully balanced sobriety will be on the receiving end of a vicious rage. As for Claudio, he has bigger things to worry about than Dane. You get so see much more of Virtuosi than in Violent Daylight when Canna was busy in Milan. Each relationship within the Virtuosi Eight will suffer a huge shift, and not all members will still be there at the end.
3) Have you ever wanted to soften Canna? Do you feel as if Canna is not good enough for Claudio? Do you ever wish Canna and Claudio remained platonic? What if Claudio’s wife Veena had never gotten pregnant? Is Claudio too forgiving?
Soften Canna? Never. There are enough soft characters in the world, Canna Medici could never be one of them. Canna isn’t going to change – and why should she? She’s brash, no question, and she is stronger than many people like their female characters. Here is fiction about women with more bite and honesty. As for being platonic, it was great while Canna and Claudio were sidekicks, but they were like two sharks circling one another most of the time. Neither of them ever wanted a platonic relationship. Claudio is very forgiving of Canna’s behaviour, which can both aid her poor choices and sometimes help her too. If he was tougher on Canna, chances are they both would be dead by now. Claudio’s wife, Veena Valadez, getting pregnant was planned from the beginning, and the dynamic shaped the future. I couldn’t imagine them without the interruption of Casamiro being born. Had Veena not become pregnant, I’m not sure the third book could even exist.
4 ) What is the hardest part of writing about Canna? Do you regret anything Canna has done?
Canna hates children, and it’s weird to write. I have four sons and they are my life. Canna is child-free and barren. It has helped define her as a woman, and she sees no future in parenting. Canna decided that motherhood wouldn’t fit into her career when she was young, then married early into the Caraceni crime family and decided never to be bound to them by blood. Her mindset became so permanent that motherhood seems too foreign now. She talks about Claudio’s son as an irritation, why do people breed? Is that thing clean and changed? The noise machine stole my seat. Canna sees baby Casamiro as the barrier to true happiness. Canna is who she is because of her life and her actions. She is whimsical and violent, cunning and confused. She makes mistakes, people die, reality bites – she is like everyone else. Canna doesn’t have regrets and neither do I.
5 ) Will Canna really ever change? Have you ever wanted to kill Canna? Does anyone believe Canna can stop her addictions?
Kill Canna? Hell yes! In the first draft of Night Wants to Forget, Canna was shot by Giuseppe Savelli’s daughter, and Claudio drowned himself at Erik’s wedding when he found out Canna was dead. Obviously, had I followed that path, there wouldn’t be three books. I have thought of hitting Canna with another car, a drug overdose, suicide, good old-fashioned mob hit… she tends to wiggle out of anything I throw at her. As for changing, it depends on what you see as a change. If you want her to stop swearing or getting in fist fights, then no, she won’t change. If you want her to stop hurting herself, you are with me, because I want her to stop that too. Addictions never go away, and you can see that in Canna, but honesty is the first stage in stepping back from the cliff of disaster. She is a constant work in progress. Canna’s severe depression cannot be cured, only managed.
6 ) What locations do we get to visit in LCOD?
Canna and Claudio live in Bonifacio in a home that have rebuilt, but spend a lot time back on Pembridge Crescent in London, where it all began for them. They spend quite a bit of time in Dubrovnik, and visit Prague, Milan, Zurich, Cartagena (yes!) and Madrid. Once again, London holds the pain, Madrid holds the big surprises, Milan the drama.
7 ) Who inspired the characters? Are there any real-life people written into the stories? Is Canna based on yourself?
I am not Canna Medici. Though, between her money and lifestyle, I wouldn’t be adverse to being her sometimes. There is no one person who inspires me to write Canna, she is totally in my imagination. She can fire up an idea at any time, though I can’t get through an episode of The Sopranos or The Borgias without having a Canna idea. Who the characters all started out as have totally changed now. As time passed, they got deeper, and their choices and characteristics became clear to me. The main female characters – Lea Jacobs, Holly Stafford and Rebecca Myer are all fictional, and I don’t really worry about them too much. They exist to counteract Canna, three different women at different life stages who all accept Canna. Each woman is influenced by Canna, not the other way around. As for Claudio, he is a mixture of men put together. I don’t like everything he says and does, and I’m not always a fan of the strong silent type. But I enjoy writing a less than perfect person. Dane is always been a big kid, and now that he is forty, it’s wearing thin. Henri is a genuinely nice guy, although a little too soft in my opinion, and Erik is that guy in your social circle who you like and hate in equal measure. It’s the totally different voice in them that is important. They started as stereotypes that molded into real people.
8) Who would play Canna and the others in a movie?
French actress Eva Green would be Canna! Clearly there would need to be work for the tattoos and scars, but I think Eva is perfect (and can pull off Canna’s blonde crime family days too)
Photos via Pinterest with links back to original sources
For Claudio I would like Javier Bardem because he is just plain fabulous. As for the rest, I am open to suggestions. If they needed singers to perform the on-stage parts of the books, please get Vittorio Grigolo to play Claudio’s voice! (I know he isn’t a baritone, but let’s not be too picky)
9 ) Are all the main cast back for LCOD? Are there new faces?
LCOD is a mix of old and new. As I said, all of Virtuosi are back, but not all will stay. (Spoiler alert) Henri and Lea have had a baby. Veena Valadez gets to feature far more in the third book, giving readers a chance to see that character developed far better. There is a new addition of a man named Micheletto Alighieri, an Italian who works for Canna, and Rian Crawley, a New Zealander that wants to go into business with her. LCOD also has the introduction of Gabriele Savelli, the young son of murdered Giorgio Savelli, who has family scores to settle with Canna. The character of Abigail Troublé, who managed to squeeze her huge presence into Violent Daylight makes more appearances, and I would love to hear feedback about her.
10 ) Will there be a fourth Canna book? Do you need to read Night Wants to Forget and Violent Daylight before LCOD?
I don’t have any plans at the moment for a fourth book. Finish LCOD and tell me if there needs to be a fourth book. Is the story finished? Could there be more? I can think of new ideas, but I won’t be working on them straight away. I would only write a fourth book if I thought it was solid enough to stand up with the first three. I don’t want to ruin Canna Medici.
You don’t need to read the other books first, but you may be missing out a lot of background detail. The storyline stands alone and there is enough detail to get you through, but without knowing Canna’s struggle in Night Wants to Forget and the murders and secrets of Violent Daylight, some behaviour may not made perfect sense. Still, you could read this book first. When LCOD is released there will be a free promo on the first two books, so you have no need to miss out on anything.
Up next… odd questions asked about me in Part 2.