Thursday, 12 April 2012


A little bit like Maraban (the country I created for my very first Sheikh book: SURRENDER TO THE SHEIKH) - Vietnam is a land of complete contrasts.

Here we have the chaos of the traffic system (you are told that when you wish to cross the road - to turn your head towards the traffic and walk slowly but steadily across the line of moving vehicles, which will then slow and swerve to avoid you! Oddly enough, it seems to work.)

And here we have the unconscious synchronicity of two workers sweeping the leaves in perfect harmony. It really was poetry in motion - and hard to believe that we were only yards away from the noisy roads.

And lastly, one of those amazing temples - full of colour and gleaming gold, where offerings are left and incense burns and the pervading sense of spirituality is hard to escape....gorgeous.

But it's back to "normal" for me after the Easter break. I've removed the last of the chocolate from the house and launched myself into my latest book, which features a Sicilian called Santino Cavallaro who is not behaving as I thought he would behave. He looks different to how I imagined, as well. His eyes are sapphire (blue and green eye-colour are often found on this fascinating island) and he's much swarthier than my usual heroes.

To get myself in a Sicilian frame of mind, I'm reading THE LEOPARD, by Tomasi di Lampedusa. It's brilliant.
What are you reading, and why?


  1. Beautiful snapshots – Asia has a mysticism you can’t find anywhere.
    The last shot is very evocative. I remember two movies I adore (but they’re set one China and the other in Japan): Zhang Yimou’s “Raise the Red Lantern” with Gong Li and “Memoirs of a Geisha” with Zhang Ziyi.
    It’s impossible not to love Asian traditions and history.
    When I had to attend University I wanted to choose between studying Russian or Chinese.
    I made my choice but I don’t regret it.
    What I am reading now? Well – I’m reading three books contemporaneously.
    In case you’re wondering…it doesn’t sound strange to me, I’ve never had JUST one book on my desk.
    They are:
    An amazing reading – faithfully described as “the shocking account of the love triangle between Bobby Kennedy, Jackie O, and Aristotle Onassis – and the tragedies that occurred when the rivalry spiraled out of control”.
    I was firstly captured by the Greek word of the title “NEMESIS” (I was searching for something to read in English since I don’t really like exercising with grammar) – then I read the plot (I didn’t even know about a love affair between Jackie and Bobby!)
    The rest is obvious. Who doesn’t want to know always more about the Kennedy clan?
    This book isn’t much about JFK (I’ve already read many things about him) but after his death, when Jackie and Bobby slowly fell in love, united by the sorrow of their beloved brother/husband’s death.
    There’s everything. Conspiracy. Scandal. Revenge. Extensive interviews of friends and relatives (who knew everything about the triangle) of “Ari” Onassis – the magnate, “the Power” in person.
    Both men competed with ferocity for Jackie’s love until Bobby’s assassination. Highly recommended.
    Michail Bulgakov’s HEART OF A DOG (in Russian): a biting satire of the New Soviet man. It's generally interpreted as an allegory of the Communist revolution and "the revolution's misguided attempt to radically transform mankind”. The plot is too long to explain but it’s an excellent reading.
    And re-reading Sun Tzu’s THE ART OF WAR (this one in Italian!) – the most famous military strategy treatise. It contains numerous military tactics and thinking. But through metaphors - it also gives lessons of life.

  2. Michela - this is such a brilliant post! When are you going to write a book yourself?

  3. Sharon, I really hope to do it soon - when my job makes me breathe a bit more.
    My grandfather passed away two days ago after a difficult operation.
    If I were already a writer now - I would have written a book about him.