Liz Harris visits the blog today to show what hard work research can be when planning a novel.
Evie Undercover, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Umbria and London, is the first romantic comedy I’ve written. My previous full-length novels, The Road Back, A Bargain Struck, and Golden Tiger, which comes out in autumn 2015, are historical romantic fiction, so Evie Undercover was quite a departure.
Apart from the difference in tone, the greatest difference lay in the nature of my research. For my historical novels, I read up on the period, and in the case of A Bargain Struck, went to Wyoming to learn more than books alone could tell about the life-style of second generation homesteaders.
But for Evie Undercover, I had no need of historical tomes, visits to museums or hours spent in libraries--there was only one place I needed to go, and that was Umbria. Needs must, I nobly thought, and I packed my bags and headed for the airport, clutching an online ticket for Perugia.
I had my hero: handsome lawyer, Tom Hadleigh; I had my heroine, enterprising Evie Shaw, on her first assignment from Pure Dirt, the only magazine that would take her on after months of searching, so all I needed was the setting.
Forcing myself into restaurant after restaurant in order to decide where to send Tom and Evie; sitting in the piazza in the medieval town of Todi, sipping prosecco while watching the stone walls of the 14th century cathedral change colour during sunset; walking the streets of the ancient city of Perugia. Yes, there was nothing I wouldn’t undertake in the name of authenticity!
So I had my hero, my heroine and my setting—all I needed was a page-turning story. Evie and Tom gave me that. It started the first night they were in Italy. Anyone who could play the trick that Evie played on Tom… . But Evie had one week only in which to achieve her goal, and failure wasn’t in a word in her book!
When libel lawyer Tom Hadleigh acquires a perfect holiday home, a 14th century house that needs restoring, there’s a slight problem. The house is located in the beautiful Umbrian countryside and Tom can’t speak a word of Italian.
Enter Evie Shaw, masquerading as an agency temp, but in reality the newest reporter for gossip magazine Pure Dirt. Unbeknown to Tom, Italian speaking Evie has been sent by her manipulative editor to write an exposé on him. And the stakes are high – Evie’s job rests on her success.
Pour a glass of prosecco, sit back and enjoy. An ideal summer read!
Liz was born in London. After graduating with a Law degree, she moved to California where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company. When real life intervened, she returned to the UK, completed a degree in English and taught for a number of years.
Liz is published by Choc Lit. The Road Back, A Bargain Struck and Evie Undercover are published in paperback, and The Art of Deception and A Western Heart, a novella, are published as ebooks. She has a short story in each of the Choc Lit anthologies
Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Oxford Writers’ Group, and is the convenor of the Oxford Chapter of the RNA.
Facebook: Liz Harris.
Liz, we thoroughly enjoyed your blog post. If the RNA blog falls silent it is because the team are on a world cruise planning our next novels…!
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