Friday, 26 April 2013

Guest Post - Hillary Corby

As promised a couple of posts back, here's a guest post from Hillary Corby, an English writer living in Florence (oh, now we are all so jealous! Hubby took me there for our 5000-days anniversary, and I loved it). Hillary writes historical fiction set in Rennaissance Italy - what a great setting that is!

Hillary has a signed copy of her book to give away. I'll put the names of everyone who comments on this post by 6pm Friday 3rd May in a hat and the first one picked wins the book.

Meet the Author: H.A. Corby - Writer of historical and contemporary Italian crime fiction.

When did I prefer Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot stories to hunky men and voluptuous risk-taking sirens in romance novels? A morbid fascination sent me hurrying to the library on a monthly basis voraciously consuming books on true crime, which I tempered with my other passion; all that stuff that happened hundreds of years ago.

I visited Rome for a milestone birthday and was barely off the plane when I trudged into the Coliseum. The brittle crumbling stones of this ancient theatre breathed life, offering a glimpse of another world. I heard the throngs cheering the mock sea battles, the dramas, or muscular gladiators in chest-baring and somewhat sexy gear. By the time I had seen the Trevi Fountain twice, I was hooked on the glory, history, and thrill of a majestic ancient land.

After two years in Sicily, I moved to Florence. I spent Sundays in the centre weaving in and out of the hordes of visitors trying not to appear like a whacko as I stroked the rough stones of the Medici homes and other palazzos with my eyes closed trying to absorb their memories through my fingertips. I didn’t walk with my head down because I felt shy; staring at the road permitted me to block modern life and imagine da Vinci or Michelangelo bustling from studio to patron on those very streets, Botticelli throwing tangible genius onto
the fire and the end of Savaranola’s madness by the hangman. The ancient rhythms of this magnificent city had embraced unconditionally. I could travel back to a city fulfilling its glory and relive the past anytime I wanted.

Relaxing under a full golden moon, ideas flooded my mind. I had the means to take others along on a journey to a time and place in history that chiselled the future forever, and I was excited. Writing became a spiritual, cathartic almost magical experience. I hardly went anywhere, and the social life diminished along with the regular exercise regimen as I hardly noticed the hours passing. I wrote and researched then wrote some more. I did not write for more than four months after I left Florence. Brain drain had set in, and some life
obstacles had dampened the inspiration and the wolf was at the door. It returned in La Serra, a small medieval village overlooking the sea in the mountains north of Tuscany. Walking the sandy cove, Golfo dei Poeti (Golf of the Poets), I passed the houses that D.H. Lawrence and Lord Byron had sought refuge in and I knew the time had come to finish. Staring out at the turquoise waters that Lawrence and Byron had seen, I resurrected the intimacy with my characters. Finally, in November 2012, When Angels Fall A Benedetti Renaissance Mystery was born!

“Race along the passageways of love, murder, betrayal, and treachery as a previously unknown evil wraps its feathery arms of death around the women of Florence.”

Cin Cin


Cara Cooper said...

Fascinating and evocative post Hillary. There is something so inspiring about Italy for a writer. The history oozes out of the pavements! I too loved the Colloseum and even though it was full of tourists it was still incredibly atmospheric. Looking forward to reading your books.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Now that sounds a fascinating book, Hillary - and what a lovely story of your time in Italy. One of my favourite countries.

Sue Blackburn said...

Your wonderful post brought back all the atmosphere and splendour of Rome. Wonderful. Your book sounds amazing too.

Sue Blackburn said...

PS Meant to say Rome and Florence! Both intriguing and splendid places.

TracyFells said...

Would love to win a copy of the new book, particularly if set in Renaissance Italy. My memories of visiting Florence are of the golden light at dusk, and dodging mopeds in the narrow streets along with the pervading squeal of ambulance sirens (hopefully not rushing to moped accidents). What an idyllic place to live and write - very jealous Hillary!

sallyjenkins said...

I love Florence too and it was the setting for a story of mine that appeared in People's Friend some years ago - so I can quite understand how inspirational the place is! By the way, I think your book cover is great!

womagwriter said...

Sorry about the spammy comment that was here earlier - now deleted.

Hillary said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for your lovely comments.