Tuesday, 2 July 2013

INTERVIEW: Fiona Paul author of Secrets of the Eternal Rose series - AUSTRALIAN BLOG TOUR

I am extremely excited today to have Fiona Paul on the blog for an interview and you can check out my review for Belladonna HERE. PLUS a fantastic giveaway at the bottom.

Title: Belladonna
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release Date: 1st July 2013
Genre: Young Adult Historical
Format: Paperback
Source: HarperCollins Australia for an honest review during the tour. Thank you so much!

Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancĂ©, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he′s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass′s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose -- the only evidence that will prove he is innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of corruption, secret soirees, and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who′s working for the Order′s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?

Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.


How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on real people’s characteristics? Honestly, they’re mostly based on me. That sounds super-arrogant, doesn’t it? J What I mean is, like everyone else, I have my haughty moments, my shy moments, my angry moments, etc., and I just sort of draw those out in different combinations for different characters. If someone I see IRL does or says something unusual, I will often file it away and use it for a character, but for obvious reasons that applies more with my contemporary characters. As far as physicality goes, my characters tend to present themselves to me as I write, but if not I’ll look at famous people or photo streams to nail down certain attributes.

Who designed your book cover and why did you choose that particular design?
I don’t actually know who designed the amazing Australian covers (thank you cover god or goddess), but I can tell you I had very minimal input into any of my cover designs. This may seem unfair to readers, but the reality is that publishers need to make money in order to keep publishing books and some authors are notoriously bad when it comes to business decisions. (This is one reason why we have agents). And just because an author really wants to use her seven-year-old niece’s cool instagram photo for a cover, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for the book.

In one sentence, can you tell the readers why they should read your book?
You should read BELLADONNA because it is dark, romantic, evocative, and shocking and can be enjoyed as a standalone title even if you haven’t read VENOM.

Do you have a favourite non-spoilery scene or quote from Belladonna?
Here’s one I like. Cass is in Florence at a party hosted by the mysterious Belladonna when she gets a headache, but Madalena doesn’t want to leave yet so Cass seeks refuge in the library:

Her head began to hurt worse, blood pounding an uneven tempo in her ears. The guests were loud. Too loud. The airy violin music had sharpened into scalpel blades, each stanza cutting a bloody path across her skull.

Cass found the library and collapsed into a chair. The room was quiet and dim, the only light coming from a scattering of dying orange embers still flickering in the dark fireplace. She turned her back to the wall, refusing to look at the painting of Belladonna draped just as she had once been. What she needed to do was take advantage of this moment and search for the Book of the Eternal Rose. She would, just as soon as her headache faded. Burying her head in her hands, she pressed her fingertips hard against her temples to slow the throbbing.

“Signorina? Are you all right?”

Cass looked up. The silhouette of a man stood in the doorway. Undoubtedly, the handsome house physician. He didn’t sound young, though. Maybe the gossiping hags from tea had been exaggerating.

As the man came closer, his features began to sharpen. Cass dug her fingernails into the armrest of her chair. Her stomach plummeted, and for a second she thought she might faint.

I picked this scene because I like the image of music being able to physically draw blood when you have a headache. Also, Cass is normally too nice to refer to random ladies as gossiping hags, even in her brain, but she has another reason to be stressed here. Finally, I like the build-up to the reveal. Who has stumbled upon Cass when she is vulnerable? Is it Belladonna’s physician...or someone else?

What’s next after the Starling (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #3) and when is it due to be released?
The US will release STARLING on March 1st, 2014, so perhaps you’ll get it a bit earlier. Next I have two contemporary YA novels—a romantic comedy and a murder mystery coming out under my real name starting in 2014. Check out THE ART OF LAINEY:

If you could go back in time, what time would it be, where and why?
I would go back to the 90s because I am a huge music-lover and to me the best music came about in that decade. Also, I wasn’t able to attend all the concerts I wanted to, so I never got to see Nirvana play live.

What’s one piece of technology you cannot live without?
Only one? *trembles*I went on holiday in May and my carryon was so jam-packed with electronics that I got flagged for extra security checks all across the globe. I would have to say my netbook. It’s about four years old and I do all of my writing on it because it has a smaller keyboard and I have little hands. I didn’t realize they quit making them until recently and I freak out when I imagine it dying on me and having to switch to a giant widescreen laptop or a smaller tablet with a sketchy external keyboard. Long live the ten-inch Toshiba J

When you are writing, do you have a set routine that gets you started or just go with the flow?
I am basically writing or thinking about writing all the time. When I’m exercising, out with friends, working, on vacation, etc., my brain is always sewing up plot holes or coming up with new ideas. I put notes in my phone. I write them on my hand or on napkins. I have no idea why people put up with this behaviour. As far as actual computer time, I write six days a week with no set routine. I strongly prefer drafting new stuff to revising. I always work on multiple projects—right now I am drafting one, revising one, and proofing 1st pass pages on a third—so that if I am not feeling Project A I can move to Project B and still be productive.

Tea, coffee or hot chocolate? Coffee
Sweet or savoury? Both
Cats or dogs? Cats. I wanted to say both, but my cats threatened to poop under the covers again if I did.
Day or night? Night
eBooks or paperbacks? Paperbacks.
Favourite all time book? So hard! I will go with a classic—Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.

About the Author

Fiona Paul is a writer and registered nurse from St. Louis, MO.

(I prefer the short and sweet bio since there's a lot of other stuff to read in these posts that's more relevant than my love of coffee or desire to shark dive).


I would like to thank so very much Amanda from Harper Collins Australia for allowing me to giveaway two (2) Australian edition copies of Belladonna and it is open internationally. How cool is that??

Ends midnight 7th July 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other participants of this fantastic tour are:


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