In conversation with... Vanessa Carnevale

Hi Vanessa! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of My Life for Yours! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: My Life for Yours is the story of a married couple—Paige and Nick, who can’t wait to become parents, only life throws them some major curve balls and they’re ultimately faced with an impossible decision to make at the potential cost of Paige’s life or their marriage.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I had the main plot points figured out before I started writing, mostly because I needed to talk to medical professionals who answered lots of questions, brainstormed with me and read early drafts to make sure the story was plausible. I did leave some room for the story to evolve on the page—for instance, I wasn’t sure of the ending until I got to the end, and as the characters grew on the page, so did their reactions to what was happening around them.

Was My Life for Yours your working title or did it change along the way?

A: It changed along the way!

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the roles of Paige and Nick?

A: Gosh, I’ve got no idea, but it would be lovely to see it on screen some day!

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: Many parts of the story were difficult to write, and in the first draft I tried to skim over some of the key emotional scenes, to realise that the book simply couldn’t work without them. I think my favourite scene might be the one where Paige and Nick are choosing baby names. 

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Plenty! At one point I deleted about 20,000 words to rewrite part of the story and then I later reinstated some of those 20,000 words to then remove them again. One scene I loved that ultimately didn’t stay was a chapter showing how Paige and Nick first met at Windsor Lakes and how ‘jelly beans’ became a special thing for them!

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: I certainly am! I’m half way through a first draft, and this book is about two childhood friends who reunite after years of being apart, only for their friendship to be tested once more. It’s a story about family, forgiveness, the sacrifices we make for love, and the depth of friendship. 

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I’m reading Natasha Lester’s The Paris Secret which is an absolutely gorgeous read, like all of her books.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: I don’t consider my presence on social media demanding, and that’s probably because I enjoy it. I post when I can, and love the interaction with readers and writers in my community. I think procrastination by way of social media is something everyone deals with—not just writers. I’m fairly disciplined though so manage to meet my deadlines all the same!

What’s one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: It’s hard to boil it down to one thing but I do believe perseverance and commitment is key. Just keep showing up!

Thank you for your time!


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