Nancy- Today I’m interviewing Giulia Torre. Her book, Wolfe Island is a historical romance and it was released in e-book on 12/24/2014 and in paperback just last month, and is giving away 5 paperback copies! Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Giulia- Wolfe Island is a historical romance set in the Thousand Island Region of Upstate New York and Canada in 1893. It fictionalizes the launch of the then-visionary St. Lawrence River international Seaway Commission. The romance tells the story of two people living on neighboring islands, but from different worlds. Meredith Wells, a native girl, daughter of a botanist and herself a botanical illustrator, calls the Islands home. Tristan Wolfe, son of a Russian shipping tycoon, lives in New York City and travels the world when he’s not spending summer months in the Islands. The story opens at Wolfe’s return to the Islands after a five-year absence. He’d abandoned the River and Meredith without a word of explanation. Now he’s back, and it’s his vision to introduce large freighters to the seaway, to open it up as the nation’s fourth coast. Meredith has her own ambitions, including progressing the women’s movement with an expansion of her artistic repertoire to include male anatomy. If only she can get Wolfe to assist in her rendering of his anatomic detail. Meredith is a distraction Wolfe finds difficult to ignore. But it’s fun to watch him try.
Nancy- Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
Giulia- This is a historical romance set in Upstate New York in 1893. It’s outside popular conventions for historical romance in that it’s set in the U.S., but not “out West”. I’ve filed it in “Victorian” on Amazon, because it’s the closest era offered by Amazon for its browse categories, but it’s outside that well-known era as well. Instead it’s set in the Gilded Age, smack in between Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Nancy- Why have you become a published author?
Giulia- I’ve always loved romance novels, and I tried to write my first one when I was 17. I fantasized about getting published, getting discovered. Now, I want readers. It’s not about “getting published” anymore. “Getting published” is no longer as important to me as it once was. The most important thing for me now is to write a compelling story, one that I would want to read. Wolfe Island is the first novel I’ve finished, and I can’t imagine finishing it and not getting it out there, somehow.
Nancy- What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
Giulia- At this point, it’s all word of mouth. I’m working on my second book (with paranormal elements), Swan Bay, and realize that writing another book, and another, will be my most important promo for Wolfe Island. I’m thinking long-game. Building a brand with my academic background and the message that romance novels have cultural significance. As I wrote in a recent post titled Regulating Romance:
Rather than to pass it off as worthless, artless, wasteful, or pointless, wouldn’t it instead be valuable to understand the power of romance?
Nancy asked Giulia to share three fun facts about her that most people don’t know.
1) I’m Italian. 100%. I have two grandparents from Sicily; one from Tuscany; and another whose family emigrated to Venezuela from Northern Italy before coming to the US
2) I’m training to swim a mini-triathalon. It will be a mile and I’ll probably drown.
3) My favorite place to be on a boat is the bow.
Nancy- What’s next for you?
Giulia- I’m working on the next book in the series, Simon Low’s story, called Swan Bay. Simon Low is a rake. But whereas Wolfe is a full-on Alpha Male, Simon is a Beta Male. Sexy, but sweet as tropical fruit.
Excerpt from Wolfe Island
As the applause from the introduction died away, Wolfe stood. He looked neither relaxed nor uncomfortable. He simply appeared as he always did, unflappable, formidable, elegant. He leaned into the table’s edge, his fingertips extended, touching the table’s white cloth. He straightened the silverware beside his plate before his eyes lifted to the faces before him. His eyes met many of the men and women there, moving from table to table as he began speaking.
“I’ve spent the last several years visiting waterways around the world, ports where my father’s ships have been anchored. I have lived in each port long enough to watch our ships leave and return. I came to know each one. I have seen other seaways, lived in other ports, and I’ve found them wanting. Of all the rivers in the world, this one is the most welcoming, the most difficult to leave. When you swim in its waters, and see the diamonds that sparkle across it in the late afternoon, as the faces of your friends become shadow, you learn that the power of its magic is unfathomable.” He paused, and the tension in the air crackled.
“It is also the most fortuitously placed.” His hands lifted from the table, drawing a map in the air. “Quite simply, it is this river that connects the Great Lakes to the sea. We have witnessed the engineering feats that have built the Sault locks.” He pronounced them as a native would, Soo. His fingertips returned to the table. “These locks are being replicated, creating ports in Duluth and Superior, Erie and Chicago. With our river, New York will see the same ports rise in Buffalo, Rochester, Oswego and Ogdensburg. We are the key that will unlock the door from the Midwest to the ocean. We are the country’s fourth coast.” This last word held a note of wonder, as though he could barely believe his own promise.
He was an exceptional speaker. He could have been a statesman. His presentation was superb. Meredith scanned the room. All eyes were fixed on him. Every face in the room was mesmerized. It was impossible to look away.
His eyes moved slowly from table to table, resting on one person, then another. The room held its collective breath. He continued, “They have designed an iron freighter nearly five hundred feet in length. It has been made to traverse the breadth of the Great Lakes. It is a ship larger than I’ve ever seen, half the distance of Mosquito Island, end to end.”
At the sound of her own home, Meredith must have visibly started. A lapse in Wolfe’s words coincided with his eyes finding hers amidst the crowd. She knew in that moment that Simon had been correct. Wolfe had not known she was there.
He stopped speaking. His eyes did not make their practiced move to the next table, the next listener. They stayed with her. He looked neither glad nor pained. His thoughts were perfectly opaque. The pause grew longer.
When he started speaking again, it was only to her. His words were hypnotic, so close they blocked out all other sound. His voice filled the room, yet he was telling her a secret.
“Someday large ships will pass before us. They will be mammoth, larger than our imaginings. Each will be silent, except for a long low horn, vibrating through the air like the song of a whale. They will be different colors, bright reds and greens. Shapes moving across the landscape. We will come to recognize them and welcome their arrival from each direction. They will connect us, like magic.”
She was transfixed by the vision, as if she could look out across the water at the picture he described. She knew in that moment that it would happen. He would see it done. The reality made goose bumps on her skin.
Meredith looked at her plate, no longer able to hold his gaze. He straightened. His shoulders pushed back, and then relaxed. He raised his chin, and a curtain was drawn on the passion that imbued his words.
Then there came uproarious applause, the kind usually reserved for the opera house in Denton at the end of a superior musical theater performance. Wolfe sat down, as though the rest of the room were not standing. He straightened the silverware again, piece-by-piece, eyes at his plate while the room roared.
Meredith glanced at the woman beside him. The smug pride she saw on Holly’s face made her wary. The raw cherrystone clams she had eaten with such relish before dinner sat heavily in her stomach.
“I see you’ve taken note of Miss Van Ogden.” Sitting to her left, Danny Waterstone leaned in to make himself heard over the sound of applause, and Meredith dropped her eyes from the woman’s hair.
“You know her?” She had been noticing the ribbons laced through it, and had counted eight little feathers also in residence, each dyed perfectly to match her gown. There might have been more, but the feathers flapped delicately with the motion of her head, and Meredith twice had lost count.
“Yes, she is striking, isn’t she? I’m familiar with her set in the city. Her father is rich as Croesus. She’s a great catch for Wolfe.”
Meredith’s eyes traveled to Danny’s face. It was a nice face for a young man. Warm brown eyes. Brown hair full and charming as it fell over his forehead. Meredith would remember the slight lift at the corner of his mouth for the rest of her life. “A great catch?”
“I can’t say he was actually fishing for her.” The young man laughed again, low and without malice. “I think she just fell in his lap. Her father and Wolfe, you know, are quite in bed together.”
“In bed together?”
His face took on the appearance of chagrin. “My apologies. They are in business together. These plans to ship goods from the Great Lakes to the ocean? Wolfe has collected millions from Van Ogden to seed the project. I believe Miss Van Ogden will be the glue that will fix them inseparably. Beyond the usual business contracts. You know, they can be overthrown quite easily nowadays. Big ships need solid financing. And Miss Van Ogden comes with quite a bankroll.”
The elderly matron to Simon’s right gave another fierce tap on his shoulder with her fan, her voice loud and piercing even amidst the din of several large tables of conversation. The sound drew Wolfe’s attention, and his eyes met Meredith’s over Simon’s shoulder. She looked away.
Could it be true? Could he be intending to marry? “Are they engaged then?”
She touched his sleeve to capture his attention. “Miss Van Ogden and Mr. Wolfe. Are they betrothed?”
“I haven’t heard anything announced, no. But announcements like that are usually made at grand affairs. I expect it will be made official at Wolfe’s ball.”
The ball. Meredith returned her gaze to Holly. She grasped at the roman punch that had replaced her soup, a sweet creamy concoction that had as much rum as champagne. She downed it in a single gulp.
“I think that was for after dinner.” She heard Danny’s soft chuckle as she replaced the glass, the cloth muffling the noise of the heavy crystal.
Meredith understood the half-truths and outright lies that gossip carried in its wake. But was there truth in this? She remembered Simon’s words to her before dinner, warning her vaguely of Wolfe’s plans. It made sense to her now. It seemed that he had chosen a wife. Holly Van Ogden was not a Russian princess. But marrying this woman would give him something infinitely more compelling than control of a well-managed port on the Baltic Sea.
She looked for what she told herself would be the last time and saw Holly lean toward him. She said something so close to Wolfe’s ear that her lips must have brushed his hair. She must have been able to breathe him in. Meredith remembered the thrilling scent of him. She remembered with a winded feeling how close they had been today, how only yesterday his fingers had felt beneath her hair and touched the nape of her neck.
Ebook and Paperback on
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Giulia Torre reads, writes, and thinks about books. She lives in a small town with a thriving Main Street in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where she plays with her neighbors in lakes, yards, and barns. Wishing she could kiss them all, just once.
Giulia has her Ph.D. in Reading/Writing/Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania, where she focused her research on reader-response and the social life of literature. Before earning her Ph.D, she completed doctoral coursework in eighteenth-century literature at the University of Washington in St. Louis, where she studied literary community and the quixotic principle.
All that to say, she likes to read romance novels, and she can tell you why.
You can find more information
about Giulia Torre here:
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