Interview by Nicole Melanson ~
Vanessa Carnevale is an author and freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband and two children. In her early twenties, Vanessa spent several years living in Florence, Italy, where she met her husband and discovered a love of travel and la dolce vita. She is also the creator and host of Your Beautiful Writing Life, a writing retreat held in Tuscany, Italy, a place she considers her second home. The Florentine Bridge is her first novel.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Throughout school, I was always a voracious reader so I think my love of writing really began as a love of reading. As an adult, I’d enjoyed writing freelance articles but delving into fiction came later. Before writing The Florentine Bridge, I’d spent years itching to write a book. It was as if I knew I had one in me, but wasn’t sure what to actually write.
WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BOOK OR CURRENT PROJECT?
The Florentine Bridge, my debut novel, has just hit shelves. Set amongst the lush backdrop of Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast in Italy, it follows the journey of a young Australian artist by the name of Mia, who is trying to find the motivation to paint again after overcoming an illness. It’s also a love story, filled with heart and hope. You can read the full blurb on my website.
Buy the eBook from Amazon http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01J2YK6QC
I’m glad to say I’ve finished writing my second novel and am awaiting edits for that. Without giving too much away, it looks at the role memories play in our lives by asking the question: if we had our time over would we live the same life twice? For me, there are seasons to writing and right now I’m enjoying spending a lot of time daydreaming and being open to new ideas for my third book which I hope to start writing soon.
WHAT IS YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT LIKE?
My workspace has to be clutter free and I almost always have fresh flowers on my desk. I have a routine where I’ll either light a candle or turn on the essential oil diffuser before putting the kettle on for a cup of tea or coffee. Once that’s done I settle down and write. I often listen to instrumental music as I write – sometimes the same tracks over and over which I end up associating with the book, so when I turn the music on it’s quite easy to get into the flow.
WHEN DO YOU WORK? WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I find it hard to fall asleep at night after writing because I keep imagining scenes while I’m trying to fall asleep. This is highly inconvenient, so I try to write in the mornings. I’m lucky enough to have set days dedicated to writing and anything on top of that is a bonus. I do try to fit some writing in every day, although it doesn’t always happen in front of the computer, which is why I always carry around a notebook with me.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
What I learnt after writing The Florentine Bridge and then starting my second book, is that I don’t have a set process. What has remained consistent is how I start with an idea that includes the hook, conflict, main character and setting. From there, I start to build the story. I’m not a plotter, but I have an outline or general idea of the story and where it needs to go. I don’t know the ending of my stories until I pass the mid-point.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
Because I love it! When I don’t write, I start to feel a little antsy. Writing brings me so much joy and I’m completely fascinated by the creative process. I love playing with language and taking an idea that eventually becomes a story.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Ideas and inspiration comes from everywhere. A magazine article, a walk in nature, a ‘what-if’ question. I love to travel, and find detaching from the mundane really helps my creativity, but it’s all about being receptive to what’s around us, I think! Reading provides a great source of inspiration for me, especially when I read books filled with gorgeous prose. I also love spending time with like-minded writers, and find that especially re-energising.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
One of the biggest challenges for me is finding uninterrupted writing time. I’m always yearning for just a little more time to write! Aside from that, learning to trust has been one of my biggest challenges – trusting the process, my voice, the characters, and of course, that the finished story will connect with readers in the way I hope it does.
WHAT IS YOUR ARTISTIC OR PROFESSIONAL VISION?
I’d be completely blessed to be able to continue writing more books that connect with readers.
WHICH FEMALE AUTHORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE INTERVIEWED ON WORDMOTHERS NEXT?
I’d love to see Tess Woods and Tania McCartney featured.
Thank you, Vanessa Carnevale!
— Nicole Melanson
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