Barbara Josselsohn is a contemporary women’s fiction novelist who has recently branched out into historical fiction. The first book in what I hope will be a long string of them is titled Secrets of an Italian Island, and takes place just before and into World War Two. Unlike other WW2 novels I’ve read, this dual-timeline story concerns an island with only a castle on it – one where artists, musicians, writers, and other creative people come to live and pursue their arts. But the castle holds a secret, and as the Nazis get closer, the main character must make choices to save her father and her own life. It’s a suspenseful read! As you know, I like to visualize where authors write their books, so I asked Barbara about it.
I write in a small, enclosed sunroom in my house in Westchester, N.Y. Before I claimed it, it was a playroom for my kids, who are now well beyond the playroom stage. When I look hard, I can still see the pink plastic trunk where we kept their dress-up clothes and props. I love that I write where my kids once imagined they were movie stars, rock legends, and storybook characters!
The room has windows on three sides, and when I look out from my desk, I can see the red maple tree we planted more than twenty years ago. The trunk was spindly and the branches barely had any leaves back then, and we laughed at the thought that the tree would ever provide shade. And yet, now it stands large, its canopy so thick that it shades more than a third of our very wide deck. It’s a reminder that the best things in life take time and nurturing!
I keep a few things close by. The first is a bookcase filled with books written by friends of mine. I am so inspired by my writer-friends! I have an electronic coffee cup that can keep my coffee nice and hot all day if I want it to! And I have a bulletin board where I post images of settings, furniture, clothing, and so on. I’m a very visual writer, so these photos keep my imagination in gear when I’m writing a book.
My newest book is Secrets of the Italian Island, a dual-timeline story set partially in Italy during World War II. It tells the story of three sisters torn apart by a long-ago mistake and a granddaughter determined to defend her grandmother’s legacy.