Interview with Patricia Wilson, author of Villa of Secrets

Happy Publication Day to Patricia Wilson! Her new book, Villa of Secrets, is out today! And to celebrate I am delighted to welcome Patricia to the blog for a very interesting Q&A:

 Hi to Alba in Bookland. Thanks for inviting me to talk about Villa of Secrets. 

The ebook comes out today, 22nd of February, and the paperback, will be in the shops, supermarkets, airports, Amazon and WH Smiths on the 2nd of May

Q: Villa of Secrets is about two sisters who unlock their heroic Grandmother’s secrets of Nazi occupied Rhodes. Can you tell us a bit more about it? 
A: Actually, I came across some information, quite by accident, that I found hard to believe. When I started to ask people about what happened here, there was a certain reluctance to talk. Then someone said I was putting myself in danger. If I printed this story, Villa of Secrets, I might be shot! Wow! There was no way I was going to ignore the information I’d discovered after that. There’s still a bit of a rebel in me!

Q: You live in Rhodes yourself, where the story is set. How did this place inspire the book? 
A: Rhodes is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean island, and it has a very tumultuous history. The city is a UNESCO world heritage site, full of amazing architecture and archaeology. But besides all that, I came across this dilapidated villa… Wow! I stared at it for ages, imagining the story it had to tell. 

I lived on the island of Crete for over twenty years, love the Cretans! Big hearted people with a simple and robust love of life. I thought the Rhodians would be the same, but they’re not. The people of Rhodes are far more cosmopolitan. The island is quite different too, much more modern. So when I saw this villa, semi derelict… and completely silent… I was quite mesmerised by it.

Q: How did you research Villa of Secrets? Did you have the opportunity to talk to locals?
A: I think the trick to getting to the bottom of a story, is not to ask too many questions, but to listen to what people have to say. Elderly people sitting in a kafenion are a wealth of information about the past.

It’s quite incredible the things local people have told me. Invaluable, personal stuff that I’m not going to find in Wikipedia. 

When I discovered what happened here, well to be honest, I was astounded! Rhodes was Italian at the time of my novel, and the Greeks had a hard time here too.

Q: Why did you decide to start writing Historical Fiction in the first place?
A: As I said, Greece has an amazing past, over the centuries it has been very multicultural. Most people don’t realise how small Greece is. I mean, regarding actual square miles, Greece and England, not including Wales and Scotland, are almost the same size. Like most people, I’ve always imagined Greece to be many times larger than England. 

Gathered in this small country is such a wealth of history. Ancient Greece is fascinating enough, but modern history is also rich and interesting. Having said all that, it wasn’t a conscious decision to write historical fiction. 

When I lived in Crete, I dug a machine gun up in my garden and was fascinated by the story behind it… and so my first book, Island of Secrets, was born. 

To be honest, you barely have to scratch the surface of a Greek island to find something worthy of a story. Only last week, here in Rhodes, I was doing some gardening when I dug up several bullets.

Q: Are you already working on your next novel?
A: Absolutely! This next one involves a female archaeologist, Lizzie McGuire, Santorini, and Crete. Love, sacrifice, smuggling, and murder, all take place in the Mediterranean sunshine. This story came about when I dug up a piece of pot in my garden Near Agios Nikolaos in Crete. I showed it to an archaeologist, and then my imagination came into play. I mean, it’s so mysterious… it’s got markings… thrilling. I wonder what’s behind it? I wonder what it means? When I find out, so will my readers.

Once again, thanks for inviting me, Alba. I do hope your followers let me know what they think of Villa of Secrets, three words on amazon are worth their weight in gold. Best wishes, Patricia.

Thanks Patricia for stopping by, I am now very intrigued by these beautiful Greek islands and their secrets! 

About the Book:

Title: Villa of Secrets
Author: Patricia Wilson
Published: February 22nd 2018 (ebook) and May 2nd 2018 (paperback) by Zaffre

Blurb: If you love The Island and Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop, you will love this perfect summer read from the author of Island of Secrets.

Rebecca Neumanner's marriage is on the brink of collapse, as her desire to be a mother becomes an obsession. Then she receives news from her estranged family in Rhodes. 

Called back to the beautiful Greek island of her birth, she realises how little she knows of the grandmother she has eluded for over a decade. Bubba has never spoken of the Nazi occupation during her youth, but there have always been whispers. What desperate measures did she take that terrible day in 1944 when her family was ripped apart? Can the rumour she had blood on her own hands really be true? But Bubba intends to take her secrets to the grave. 

However, as Rebecca arrives on Rhodes, bringing the promise of new life, this broken family must come together. The time has come to tell the truth about the darkest of days... 

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