I had always dreamed of visiting Italy. Who hasn’t? The art, the architecture, the romance of the Italian language, the food, the wine, the shopping, and all the beautiful people. La bella vita. Two years ago, I finally got the chance. It was a very last-minute decision, one that hinged on the arrival of a check. When it was confirmed that I could afford to go, I only had a week to book the ticket. Right after booking the ticket, I realized my passport would expire while I was in Italy. I had to find a quick way to renew it, which luckily in NYC – anything is possible. I found a guy who would do it for a price. They routinely book appointments with the passport agency in advance for such purposes. It was a pretty penny, but I was able to renew the passport in time. Then, when I arrived in Italy, the customs guy was on the phone and didn’t even stamp me in! It was so strange. I remember thinking—I could live here for awhile—they would have no way of knowing when I entered the country. Unfortunately, that wasn’t logistically possible, but just the thought of living in Italy was exciting to me. In just seven days I toured Rome, Tuscany, Venice, and Florence. I loved them all, but there was something quite magical about Florence. If I had to pick a base from which to live for a year, it would be Florence. The entire outdoors was like a living museum. I was quite content just to walk around the piazzas and the outside of gorgeous cathedrals. Interior tours would have to wait for another visit, but I was quite content with the way I spent my time. I love just wandering streets and pretending I live there. Popping into the nearest espresso bar, or café. Seeing what Italian laundry looks like hanging out apartment windows. I did a lot of shopping. I had beautiful meals. I wandered cobblestone streets. I daydreamed. I flirted with Italian men. I ate gelato. I drank wine. And espresso. I wished I lived there. When I returned, I tentatively asked my editor if I could set the next novel in Florence. He enthusiastically said yes. I was thrilled. Then terrified. I thought about moving to Florence for a year in order to write the book. I decided to start The Manhattan Writers Den instead where I taught writing workshops for the past year. So I had to “visit” Florence again through research and my imagination. But I’ve no doubt that I will be back. Maybe before I go I will learn Italian. It’s such a beautiful language. I also loved the idea of a wife going to such a beautiful place during one of the most painful periods of her life. When she discovers her husband is having an affair and keeping his mistress in a flat in Florence. I loved the idea of my main character kicking the mistress out of her flat and stepping into her beautiful, Italian life. If I could, I would celebrate the release of the book in Firenze. Instead, I will have a glass of wine and dream. If you too cannot afford a trip at the moment, I hope you will step into Three Months in Florence and feel as if you are there.
Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. Three Months in Florence is her seventh novel. Her other works include: The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written three novellas: A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home.
Mary is working on two more novellas for winter and summer of 2014, as well as her eighth novel.
Visit her website at www.MaryCarterBooks.com.
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