Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Author of All of Me, LC Wilkenson stops by today!

Please welcome Author LC Wilkenson

Location, location, location

OK, so I’m not selling a house, I’m promoting a book, but as I’ve said before when building a character and creating a story you cannot underestimate the importance of setting. It influences mood, manners and language, and it can affect pace too. Compare Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street (set in Edinburgh, Scotland) to the more intense, quiet (though no less saucy) feel of Portia da Costa’s In Too Deep, where the bulk of the action takes place in a public library. Arguably, its effect on character is as crucial as familial relationships, what the character does for a living, who their friends are. Someone who grew up in, say, rural Alaska will have a very different psyche and outlook on life to someone born and bred in Calcutta.

In my novel, All of Me, my central character, Flick Burrows, is a Londoner, through and through. Born in the East End, she has never lived outside the capital; it is part of her, pressed into her bones. And despite her glamour and sophistication, she’s not terribly well-travelled. A leading lady in a popular TV show – a soap opera set in London – aside from the usual fortnight in beach resorts and long weekends to NYC and European cities, Flick has been far too busy building a career in the toughest and most competitive of professions to explore other cultures. She shares a flat in trendy Stoke Newington with best friend Johnnie and spends most of her time on set in a TV studio in west London.

But as the novel opens, Flick’s world has been blown apart. Her character has been axed from the show; she’s out of work for the first time in years and she’s been dumped by her long-term lover and on-screen boyfriend (at the altar no less). She’s been jettisoned from a familiar, comfortable place and she’s about to be thrust into an entirely unfamiliar one – a theatrical tour of Italy. Initially reticent, Flick accepts the role of Gwendolen in Wilde’s classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest and in so doing launches herself into two very different, very new settings: the world of the play - nineteenth century rural England -  and modern day Italy.

The former is straightforward enough to deal with. Flick is a professional and she’s good. Whilst she might not have much experience of working on stage, it is where she learnt her craft, and she likes a challenge. And Italy… well, away from the glare of the UK media spotlight this new environment offers an opportunity for reinvention.

And what a country. Beautiful, stylish, sexy. Home to gods and goddesses of ancient mythology, Dolce and Gabbana, and, of course, passion. The place positively drips with it. Flick is seduced by the country, and its history and culture, but she is unprepared for romance.

Orlando Locatelli is Italian born of Italian parentage, and though he was educated in the UK – London to be precise – he returned to his homeland straight after to set up his restaurant business. His role as a part-time model means that he has travelled the globe for shows and photo shoots. He is worldly, exotic and every bit as passionate as one might expect. And he is linked to Flick by more than London; they both have childhood secrets they have shared with no one.

The different locations of the theatrical tour provide the structure of the novel and mark the progression of Flick and Orlando’s story. So, we begin in Milan, in the north, in springtime, but it is unusually cool for May. From fashion capital Milan which oozes style, youth and beauty, Flick is catapulted to Sicily, home to Italy’s dark, criminal past, where the past casts a shadow over Flick’s present. And on Sicily there’s Etna, a live volcano. The company visits Rome – city of love – and Florence and Naples, and, of course, Venice; the water city, home to masked balls where you can be anyone you want to be. Italy is where the action of many of Shakespeare’s plays unravels too, and the company visits ‘fair Verona’, the city of Romeo and Juliet.

At the tour’s end, back in the more temperate UK, Flick attempts to pick up her life where she left off (almost). But Italy has changed her forever. And in more ways than one. Just like the people we encounter on life’s journey, places alter us, shape the way we view the world. And it’s always been my personal belief that every story deserves at least one magnificent location. The beauty of setting All of Me in Italy was that I was spoilt for choice.

Actress Flick Burrow’s career is in the doldrums. Dumped by long-term boyfriend at the altar and nudging forty she escapes to Italy touring with a theatrical company.

Orlando Locatelli is a successful businessman. He’s rich, clever and drop-dead gorgeous.

When the two meet, the attraction is instant. But Orlando is 15 years Flick’s junior; he’s the controlling director’s son; his stepmother is possessive and destructive. He’s trouble and he’s determined to have her.

Sparks fly when a tour romance turns into something altogether more dangerous, threatening to reveal pasts, and desires, both lovers are keen to bury.
All of Me is published by Xcite in paperback and e-book formats.
You can buy the book here and here.

 Mr Hot led me through to a brightly lit room, the light scorching my eyes after near darkness. He pulled up a wooden stool and gestured for me to sit. I did as I was instructed. Row upon row of bottles of oil, condiments, herbs and spices lined shelves that covered an entire wall. It was a store cupboard, and the strip lighting was harsh; every fine line, blemish and open pore would be visible. Inwardly, I cursed my lack of foundation once more. I felt exposed, stripped right down, and vulnerable. I shielded my eyes, allowing my hand to drop low enough to conceal most of my face.

            ‘Better here, fewer people. Can I get you a drink? Cup of tea?’ he said.

            ‘Something stronger might be better.’ I attempted to cover my embarrassment with humour. He did not laugh, or even smile. ‘Water would be great. Wouldn’t do to be seen drunk. Imagine what they’d make of that,’ I added quickly.

            Through a gap in my fingers I watched him push open swing doors with considerable force and sashay out, revealing the bustle of a hectic lunchtime kitchen; he barked out an instruction in a language I couldn’t quite place. Italian probably, possibly Spanish. This was no ordinary waiter in more ways than one. He returned moments later.

            Despite his blistering good looks, or maybe because of them, I wanted to get the hell out of there; I gulped down the water. ‘Thank you. Can you show me the other way out now please?’

            ‘It’s not too soon?’

            ‘I have to be somewhere.’

            At the exit, he paused and looked into my eyes, the hazel fading to black as his pupils dilated. He ran his tongue over those sensual lips. I couldn’t breathe and for a moment I thought I might pass out. The attraction I’d felt was mutual; he was devouring me with his gaze; his desire was palpable. Had it been a movie, or an episode of the cheap drama I’d been in, we’d have thrown ourselves at each other, kissed passionately, before being interrupted by an angry chef brandishing a meat knife. I coughed; it broke the spell.

            He leant forward to grab the door handle, the bouquet of his aftershave mingling with a distinct, very masculine aroma. I was soooo tempted, but this was real life, and my personal life was enough of a mess. He opened the door, leant forward to look up and down the street before turning back to me and nodding that it was clear. Neither of us knew what to say. I had no idea if he knew, understood, or even cared why the press were hounding me, and I wasn’t inclined to explain.

            I held out my hand. ‘Thank you. You saved my life.’

            He took my hand, but rather than shaking it, as I had intended, he lifted it to his mouth and kissed the back. A charge raced up my arm, exploding in my mouth and groin. ‘It was nothing. Anyone would have done the same.’

            ‘Thanks anyway,’ I gasped. I had to get out of there, and quick. My internal red light was flashing: danger, danger, danger.

            I stepped into the street and, unsure which direction to take, turned right and walked; the skin on my hand still thrumming from the touch of his lips. I wanted to look back, and tried desperately to resist the urge. After a few metres, I gave up and turned my head. There was no sign of him.

All of Me is published by Xcite in paperback and e-book formats.
You can buy the book here and here.

About L.C.:
 I grew up in north Wales and now I live by the sea in Brighton with three fellas (my ginger sons and my husband) and a cat called Sheila. After many years working as a journalist, copywriter and editor of, I write fiction and work part-time as an editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. All of Me is my first romance for Xcite. I hope that it is the first of many.

To find out more about L. C. visit her site – – for news and freebies. Or follow her on Twitter: @ScorpioScribble

Thank you L.C. for stopping by today!!! I was enthralled with the locations in All of Me. Thinking about it now, the book wouldn't have been the same if the tour was throughout the UK. Flick would have never been able to "let go"!
I really enjoyed this book. I am not really one for reading stories about older women/younger men, but this book just had me by the heart and wouldn't let me go. This book goes so much deeper than just an erotic love story. Two people trying to over-come many obstacles to find themselves and to let go and have an honest relationship. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me, Kerry and for the generous review. So glad you enjoyed the book.