Guest Post: Inspiration By Adriana Licio

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by Adriana Licio

I’m often asked where I get ideas for my stories. Well, inspiration comes from the things I like the most: travelling, reading, hiking, pets, perfume, good food, small villages, and homeswapping.

In my first series An Italian Village Mystery, set in Maratea (a gorgeous seaside town, you can google it to see what it is like), Agnese, the sister of my main character, Giò Brando, owns a perfumery, and she loves to advise her customers on the best fragrance to wear to see them through a particular moment of their lives (I’m intrigued by the world of essences and perfumes).

Giò herself is a travel writer (no wonder, as I’m a travel freak!) who returns home after 15 years in the UK following her wedding being called-off. And, of course, there’s Granny. Her passion is to cook, but she can also outsmart her two granddaughters when it comes to sleuthing. (I love good food, and old gossips too!)

For my second series The Homeswappers Mysteries – which is launching, well… now! – my inspiration again came from the things I love.

For the past 15 years, my hubby and I have been swapping houses with people all around the world for our holidays.

Since 2010, when Frodo, our golden retriever, joined the family, we have abandoned flights and been driving to destinations within Europe. Frodo has visited London and the UK, the Pyrenees, Brittany, Switzerland, Austria, Amsterdam, France, Stockholm and its archipelago, Gdansk and other parts of Poland, Prague, the quaint island of Ærø in Denmark and many more.

Because of the pandemic, this year has been the first time we haven’t been travelling together, so I was inspired to write a new series to share all our adventures… and travel from my armchair.

The Homeswappers Mysteries feature Etta and Dora, two newly retired teachers who become friends during the course of a murder investigation and decide to combine their paltry pensions to realise a common dream to travel. It will take some effort on Dora’s part to convince Etta that homeswapping is not only a cheap way of travelling, but also a way to explore places from a different point of view.

Homeswappers don’t stay in a tourist area full of hotels; they live as locals, get to know their neighbours and become part of a community, even if only for a few weeks. Now, how cool is that for a murder mystery writer?

I’m grateful to both Etta and Dora for sharing their adventures with me. They are two very different women: Etta is strong willed and opinionated, while Dora is sweet and appears to be a people pleaser. But things twist and turn in strange ways when push comes to shove, and you’ll see as the series progresses, it’s not always the woman who seems to be the stronger who has the final word.

The duo have given me an opportunity to explore the theme of friendship while showing that women can be on the ball at 60+, even though their children (or, at least, some of them!) seem to think they’re ready for the old folks’ home.

I need also to thank Leon, the Basset Hound, because through him, I could introduce the particular bond that can only exist between a human and their furry friend. And as you’ll see if you join Etta and Dora on their adventures, you don’t have to be a pet lover to fall under the spell!

The series will move mainly through small European towns, starting with the prequel Castelmezzano, The Witch is Dead. Castelmezzano is a village of 800 souls in southern Italy, situated very close to where I live. It’s also where Etta and Dora stumble upon the corpse of Sibilla, the local witch. But it was not a paranormal hand that killed the beautiful Sibilla…

The first book in the series, The Watchman of Rothenburg Dies, is set in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the quaintest Medieval village you could ever imagine. But during a night tour of the town, the guide is found dead with a halberd buried in his chest.

We will then move onto Mecklenburg-Pomerania, the spectacular region of 1,000 lakes in Northern Germany, just in time for a local wedding (a wedding invitation is just one of the many wonderful things that might happen on a homeswap!). The book is called A Wedding and a Funeral in Mecklenburg.

But that’s not the end of it for 2020, as in December we will head to the fairy-tale Island of Ærø in Denmark for… well, what else? An Aero Island Christmas Mystery, for the most marvellous Christmas, with mulled wine and a side dish of murder.



I have one e-copy of The Watchman of Rothenburg Dies to give away.

Simply answer the following question for your chance to be the lucky winner of the
first book in the brand new
The Homeswappers Mysteries series:

What are the things that inspire you and stimulate your creativity?
(leave a comment below)


A holiday is a time to relax, unwind and see the sights. But for two adventurous sexagenarians, the sights have a tendency to include dead bodies. 

About The Book:

Etta and Dora, both newly retired teachers, travel from their home in Southern Italy to a fairy-tale German town for their first home swap holiday, delighted by their neighbours’ warm welcome. But the welcome turns sour when the Night Watchman of Rothenburg is brutally murdered while his tour group takes photographs nearby, a halberd buried in his chest and a peculiar iron mask by his side.

When the murderer claims a second victim and the son of their hospitable neighbours becomes the number-one suspect, Etta’s analytical mind goes to work. Why was a shame mask left at the scene of each murder? Is there a clandestine trade going on behind the scenes of apparently upstanding local businesses? And why does every lead take her back to the sinister Devil’s Ale pub and the terrifying gang who lurk within?

Meanwhile, Dora has a puzzle of her own – how can she persuade Etta that a loveably disobedient Basset Hound called Napoleon is now a permanent part of their lives?

◆◆◆ Pack your bags, jump into the backseat of Etta and Dora’s old Fiat 500, and join them on their travels around Europe. There’ll be mystery, murder and mayhem aplenty wherever they go. ◆◆◆

Book Links:  Amazon  FREE on Kindle Unlimited


About The Author:

She loves loads of things: traveling, reading, walking, good food, small villages, and home swapping. She runs her family perfumery, and between a dark patchouli and a musky rose, she reads and writes cozy mysteries.

She resisted writing as long as she could. But one day she found an alluring blank page and the words flowed in that weird English she’d learned in Glasgow…

Get a taste of Adriana’s world reading And Then There Were Bones the prequel to her An Italian Village Mystery series, exclusive to the subscribers on her mailing list –

Author Links 

Free Prequel:







September 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

September 14 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

September 14 – Mystery Thriller and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT


September 16 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

September 17 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

September 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

September 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 18 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

September 19 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

September 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 20 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 21 – My Reading  Journeys – REVIEW

September 21 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW 

September 22 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

September 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 23 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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