*Author Guest Post*| Gail Mencini [To Tuscany with Love] speaks on Reflections on To Tuscany with Love

Posted Wednesday, 8 January, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

“Reflections on To Tuscany with Love”, from the author of the novel of the same title Gail Mencini! The first book in a new women’s fiction series set in the romantically atmospheric setting of Tuscany, Italy!

Gail Mencini
Photo Credit: Ashography Event Photography

Today, it is my honour to welcome Ms. Gail Mencini to Jorie Loves A Story, of whose novel “To Tuscany with Love” I had the courtesy of reading by way of JKS Communications! My review of her novel preceded her stopover today whereupon she responds to my enquiry of how the story was spun into existence and what the impetus of inspiration drew the story to become stitched together! Setting is always such a powerful tool for a writer, and I was quite intrigued to learn of her own experiences on behalf of “Tuscany”!

I now yield to Ms. Mencini, as she beings to share her passion for Tuscany!

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Reflections on To Tuscany with Love by author, Gail Mencini

Hi Jorie. Thank you for inviting me to submit a guest post on Jorie Loves a Story!

When people hear about the plot-line of my debut novel, To Tuscany with Love, they often ask: What inspired me to write this story and why this particular setting?

Gail Menicini Photograph
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Gail Mencini’s photo originally shared via her blog in a post entitled: “Tips to Start Your Journey to Italy”. gailmencini.com.

College years are a period of remarkable growth, discovery, and self-revelation. The novel reveals how the lives of eight college students who first meet on a semester abroad in Italy become interwoven over time. The inspiration for this story came from a family friend who casually mentioned he was headed to Florence for a reunion of his college semester abroad class. I know nothing of his reunion, or his classmates, yet the concept of such a reunion wouldn’t let go of me. In one sense, it was similar to the presence I felt of the ghost of Ernest Hemingway when I toured his Key West Florida home and knew I needed to write. The prospect of a reunion of close friends who had shared the life-altering experience of a college semester abroad wouldn’t let go of me. When my characters started haunting my waking and sleeping hours, I knew I had to tell their story.

Why central Tuscany? I’ve been fortunate to have toured this area several times—by foot, train, car, and Vespa—and I love the landscape, the history and architecture, the people, and yes, the food and wine. Florence is home to many universities and semester abroad classes, so it is a logical setting for the story. I wanted to have my characters discover both a larger city and small hill towns, as both hold unique charm and mystery.

Photo by Gail Mencini
Photo Credit: (Gelato) Gail Mencini’s photo originally shared via her blog in a post entitled: “Tips to Start Your Journey to Italy”. gailmencini.com.

What’s the rational behind a thirty-year reunion? The “middle years” are when a person has been shaped by, and burdened with, successes, failures, regrets, and secrets and the naïve, youthful view of life has long since drifted away. I picture a person walking through life with a suitcase crammed full of all these life experiences. Thirty years after college is sufficient time for life to have changed direction dramatically, often more than once, yet the characters are young enough to have the potential of many years of life ahead. It is the perfect time for a person to ask themselves “if not now, when?” and a fascinating time to bring people together again.

What is essential about the reunion to the arc of the characters’ journey? Do you have friends that you do not see often, or perhaps that you only exchange holiday cards with year after year, and one day you meet them again? With some people, you may wonder what you ever had in common with them. For others, it is as if the intervening years never happened, your conversation and the warmth you feel for them picks up where it was years ago. This latter type of friend can help you see and rediscover the “you” from long ago. So it is with the characters in To Tuscany with Love. Their naiveté has long faded, and the intervening years created situations that they believe now define them. The reunion, during which they are forced to take a hiatus from their life, opens a door. It is an opportunity to settle old scores, reveal long-held secrets, and perhaps even provide an opportunity to change direction.

Thank you, Jorie, for your interest in To Tuscany with Love, and the opportunity to share these insights with your followers! Readers can connect with me and learn more about the book at my website: http://www.GailMencini.com .

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Thank you, Ms. Mencini for alighting on my blog today whilst giving my readers and followers a bit of an inside knowledge of how your crafted the story of the novel based on second-hand knowledge of another University student who lived abroad! I find as writers, we have an unlimited well of inspiration waiting to spark a story our heart is willing to pen! We fuse our observations and our keen sense of story-telling into each of our projects, giving a new dimension to our audiences as we do so! I am always intrigued by how stories take shape initially as each spark of light for a novel emerges out of such a unique passageway in a writer’s internal world!

I know instinctively you had personally traveled through Tuscany, because the chapters and sections which drew our eye directly to experiencing Tuscany for ourselves was writ with a deep passion and appreciation! The setting was not merely a backdrop in those instances but a character whose voice rang strong and true! I appreciated the little nuisances you included to give the impression of a ‘real living experience’ being read as it played out rather than reading a story which took place outside the scope of the time setting it was read. Sometimes stories read as though we’re complete outsiders, but the way in which you painted Tuscany, the world set there became a breathing essence of the story itself!

I oft wonder how I am a bit set apart in that one regard, as I haven’t become jaded in my thirties. I am still lit quite happily alive with the warm glow of happenstance joy in seeking out the adventures and the experiences which give me the most growth as much as the most diversity of knowledge. I am still rapt in awe in most of my everyday wanderings, including but not limited to exploring the natural world just outside my door! I oft feel badly for others who are in my generation who have let go of their childhood innocence of pure joy which alights in our lives as readily as a rainbow graces the sky after a rainfall! Life can feel like its become muddled, but its how we choose to set our attitudes as we walk through our lifepath which will ultimately decide how we emerge out of the adversities which unexpectedly blindside us.

Thank you for your warm honesty and openness to share your internal writing life with my readers! I appreciated seeing your point of view as much as your process as a writer! Your always very giving of your time, and I have appreciated our impromptu interactions via Twitter!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Be sure to catch the first half of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie reviews “To Tuscany with Love“,
which includes a virtual road map of this tour!
Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.
Be sure to scope out my Bookish Upcoming Events to mark your calendars!!
As well as to see which events I will be hosting with:

To Tuscany With Love Blog Tour - JKS Communications Publicity Firm

{SOURCES:  Photograph of the author Gail Mencini and the tour badge for JKS Communications were provided by JKS Communications. Ms. Mencini provided the photographs of Tuscany (of The Campo and of gelato). All author and book related materials were used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie requested to feature a Guest Post on JLAS by Ms. Mencini whilst signing up for the blog book tour for “To Tuscany with Love”. She was honoured her offer was accepted and received the guest post by Ms. Mencini through Ms. Lien. This marks her second Author Submitted Guest Post on her blog!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 8 January, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Life Shift, Modern Day, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Time Slip, Tuscany, Women's Fiction

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