I suppose it's my own view of Italy as a source of style and glamour that might account for the Italian characters who continue to creep into my fiction.
In my first book, THE BIG CHILI, I introduced Lilah Drake's ex-boyfriend, Angelo Cardelini, who is both beautiful and thoughtless. Lilah's brother fared better with his Italian love, Serafina Bellini, and their relationship is solidified in the new book, CHEDDAR OFF DEAD.
But while Cam and Fina are enjoying their young love, Lilah accidentally happens across Enrico Donato, reputed to be a former mobster and a suspect in a murder that Lilah has the misfortune of witnessing. Donato has a whole complicated clan, and Lilah becomes embroiled with several of them as she tries to negotiate the crime, her jobs, and the holidays.
Because Lilah is talented in the kitchen, and because it is Christmastime, the book can't end before we learn an Italian recipe or two, or before we get to feel envious of Serafina's expensive red leather handbag from Rome, or over her extensive wardrobe of elegant dresses.
Serafina is loosely based on some Italian women I've known who were both lovely and effortlessly elegant. It's a gift I do not possess, but I can re-create it in my fictional world.
CHEDDAR OFF DEAD is now on sale on Amazon! Click the book cover at right.