Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
My book, Down a Tuscan Alley, which was published last year, can be bought on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in paperback and e-books where it is collecting 5 star reviews. My other books are cat’s adventure stories for children, Tale of Two Tuscan Cats and Tuscan Cats Get Into Mischief. In paperback and e-books, they can also be found on Amazon.
Is there anything that prompted your latest book? Something that inspired you?
I was prompted to write Down a Tuscan Alley because it happened – I found myself at a loose end in life with no clear idea of what to do or where to go. But I owned a minute apartment down a back alley in Tuscany bought and paid for. So I was prepared to take the risk and change my life.
Great! So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?
I knew I wanted to write when I was about 17. But I won a scholarship into drama school and from then on worked as an actress in the theatre in London, understudying Helen Mirren and playing major roles in other productions both in theatre and television. But I always wrote, secretly, stuff hidden in a box, never dreamt it would any good. Then one day I dared to show it to a trusted friend. Because of her reaction I wrote with a passion every day, hoping that sometime in the future I might be published.
Do you have any favorite authors?
Iris Murdoch, Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, Ian McEwan, Tolstoy, George Orwell, James Joyce, PD James, to name but a few.
Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
I like writing in a bar down the road from my house every morning. It’s called the Divine Comedy (says everything really) There are people about, a counter crowded with cakes, But it is less distracting than being at home.
Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers. Any advice?
The only advice I feel capable of offering is to never give up. Write for yourself. Pour your heart and passionate ideas out onto the page. Give the very best of yourself. For that’s what any creative work is about – giving!
Here is the blurb for Down a Tuscan Alley.
A long relationship ends. At 48, house taken by the bank, Lorri has little money. What can she do? And where can she go? Gathering her meager savings and her two beloved cats, she escapes England for a new life in a remote Italian village, never imagining the intrigue, passion and romance she will find . . .
Here is an excerpt from Down a Tuscan Alley.
I’d lain on the bed, half covered with a sheet, and he had stepped across the room still wet from the shower and stretched himself on top of me. I’d gasped at the hardness of his body.
After, I’d sat at the window, looking out at the stars. The insistent thrumming of the crickets, the distant humming of the generator in the vineyards, the vibration sounds had closed us off, created our own separate reality. “Don’t think too much,” he’d said, turning over in bed.
I closed the shutters. When it rose, the sun would toast his body. It was not so much thinking as adjusting, I’d liked to have said, but couldn’t find the words in Italian. It would have to wait until I’d studied the dictionary.
Here is a small review for Down a Tuscan Alley.
Neil Osborn, Arts Theatre review:
Lorri, a quintessentially English woman in her late forties decides to change her life and go to Tuscany. There’s only one problem: she has no money. But she does have two cats and a back alley apartment with a view of the street steps and the greengrocer’s moldy fruit – and I nearly forgot – an ex on the prowl, a shady character following her and a Quasimodo type lurking in the alleyway. Wonderful stuff! It gets even better when a passionate love affair blossoms with a younger man and friends arrive from England causing havoc. To sum up, Down a Tuscan Alley is a well written and entertaining read.
Laura Graham was an actress for many years performing in Shakespearean productions at the National Theatre in London. She has also played leading roles in Chekhov and Strindberg in major theatres in England. One of the major influences in her life was coming to Italy to live, with virtually no money, only two beloved cats for company, and coping with the mishaps, the passion and the intrigue. Which is what her first book, Down a Tuscan Alley, is about. Her second book, this time for children, Tale of Two Tuscan Cats, is about the adventures of her own two cats, one found in the forest, the other on the street. There is now a sequel, Tuscan Cats Get Into Mischief, which is also for sale on Amazon.co.uk.