Tag Archives: the Levante sisters

Donna, my violin-playing heroine

Research for Donna, which is book 3 in my Levante sister series, took me to some very interesting places around London, namely parliament square, Westminster Cathedral, Buckingham Palace gardens, St. James Park and of course, the Southbank Centre where I watched – mesmerised – while the brilliant London Philharmonic played.

 

The violinist I chose to watch, was the magnificent Ray Chen who performed Brahms’s Violin Concerto. At one point he burnt out all the strings on his violin, and had to borrow the first violinists bow for the encore. It was a frenzied, mesmerising performance and it highlighted the phenomenal talent that musicians possess, as well as their onstage charisma and complete unflappability under pressure.

My heroine, Donna Brunner, is an Austrian violinist who manages to secure an audition to play with the LPO. What a prestigious orchestra that is! I realised that my heroine would have to be very talented indeed to secure a position there. But with Dame Serena Levante, the famous opera diva and national treasure, as her mother, why wouldn’t she be that talented?

So the story begins…

Donna arrives in London for her mother’s funeral, where she meets her three half-sisters as well as the handsome family solicitor, Greg. Greg is kind to her when she needs a friend, and helps her recover from the bitter betrayal of her last relationship which left her self-esteem in tatters.

As with any good romance, you can guess what happens next. Friendship leads to love and before long Donna runs out of reasons for not being with Greg. The only problem is a man almost ruined her career once before, can she take the chance it will happen again?

Set in London and Surrey, this romance glitters with glamorous details of Chelsea and Mayfair, Surrey country villages and local flavour. It also highlights events on the classical music scene and gives a sneak peek into the lives of the musically gifted and the shenanigans that go on in the professional music industry.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing Donna, even though her personality is more subdued and introverted than the rest of the Levante sisters. At first, it was a challenge to make her as interesting, but then her personality exerted itself and before long she was burning up the pages with her own exciting story and road to fame. The fact that she was coming from a position of insecurity and anxiety (something many of us can relate to) only made her journey more interesting.

Donna will be released on August 1st but is available for preorder now.

DONNA (BOOK 3 – THE LEVANTE SISTERS SERIES)

Donna’s problem is she’s too naive. She knows that. Her ex-fiancé strung her along for years, when all the time he was married with no intention of leaving his rich wife. Then, when her birth mother dies, leaving her a legacy and a life-line, she packs up and moves to England. Here, she meets her three sisters and is welcomed into a life more glamorous than she ever imagined.

A talented violinist, Donna plays at her late mother’s funeral, wowing the congregation with her skill and mesmerising beauty. She also grabs the attention of her late mother’s solicitor, Greg, who being tall, charming and successful, is used to getting any woman he desires – and he’s out to get Donna.
Fresh from her breakup and determined to focus on her musical career, Donna is not interested in being anything more than friends, but as their friendship develops, she realises she’s more than a little infatuated with Greg. The only problem is Donna is not prepared to put her heart on the line again. Not for anyone.

The Inspiration Behind My Latest Book

Floria (Book 1: The Levanté Sisters Series)

There were several factors that came together to inspire Floria, and indeed the Levante sisters series. I live in beautiful Surrey (in the U.K.) and wanted to set a novel amongst the rolling hills, sprawling properties with their golden facades and quaint little villages with picturesque churches and twinkling streams. With Floria (and the subsequent books, I was given the chance.)

View of the Thames from Richmond Hill

One hazy afternoon last summer, I was sitting on a bench in the terraced gardens in Richmond, and thought of a story about a famous opera singer. Someone who put their career before anything else, even her own children. Someone who was so driven to succeed that music became her only love. Her name became Serena Levanté.

This woman had two facades, a public one and a private one. Publicly, she was a brilliant singer, world renown, a ‘National Treasure’, but privately she held dark secrets…

Pregnant at seventeen she gave her twins up for adoption, not knowing or caring where they went. Then again, a few years later, she abandoned her third daughter to her Spanish lover, compensating him financially to raise their child. It was only Floria, several years later, who grew up in the family home in Surrey, but who suffered cruelly due to her mother’s neglect.

Floria – based on a plus-size model

Floria was raised by au pairs and the kindly Italian housekeeper, Violeta, then sent off to boarding school at a young age. Despite all this, Floria has a happy, breezy manner, a bubbly personality and is socially very well-liked. She is something of a wild child though, a flamboyant party-girl, with a desperate need for attention. It’s no wonder, really, given her upbringing. Too much money, too little love.

I also made her voluptuous, not your normal skinny IT girl. This was so she could learn to shine, as herself, and succeed in her own right. Her journey is one of self-discovery and self-love, as well as a romantic one.

When Serena Levante dies under mysterious circumstances, her past is revealed in a blaze of publicity. Who murdered her? Was it for a missing painting? Who are these illegitimate children she left her fortune to? The press have a field day and Floria is caught in the middle of it. On top of all this, she’s still reeling from her boyfriend dumping her for being a ‘bimbo’, and a liability to his politicking career.

At her mother’s funeral, Floria meets her half-sisters, Mimi, Donna and the feisty Carmen, all very talented musically (of course). Mimi is a pop singer, Donna a violinist and Carmen opera (like the mother she hates). Floria is the only one who does not posses their mother’s phenomenal talent.

So the first book in the series, Floria, starts with the heroine in a state of devastation. Dumped, dumbstruck by her mother’s death and the subsequent revelation of her three half-sisters… And of course, then there is the hunky finance whizz, Josh, who has the potential to make everything better… or much much worse, and send Floria flying into a downward spiral – which is why it would be much better for all concerned, if she could just stay away from him. But we all know that’s never going to happen… 🙂

Floria is out 7th March!!

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