A Conversation with Celia author of Spanish Roots

As secrets past start to unravel, Mireya wonders whom she can trust — Spanish Roots by @Storytellingnan

Who are you?

 – I am a retired college lecturer that lives in Spain and England. I have two wonderful daughters and five grandchildren.

Which book are we talking about today? 

– My latest romance ‘Spanish Roots.’ A romantic whodunnit.

What inspired the idea for your book? 

– Living in Spain. I wanted to write about how lovely it is to be able to reside here, the culture and the friendly people. All parceled up with a whodunnit.  I love reading and watching whodunnits, so thought I would try to wrap one into a romance.

Can you tell us about the book cover and how it relates to the story?

– The book cover is a picture of the main character’s (Mireya) Mother. The picture is hanging on the wall in the hacienda Mireya inherits and she sees it soon after arriving in Spain. It looks spookily like her and it drives the story.

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?  

– I felt I was friends with Mireya and Gemma and would, ride horses, swim, love dancing and music and live the Spanish way.  Family first with lots of meet ups with food and wine and only work to live.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

– No, I get tons of ideas and I write for children too, so I go with the flow. I find my characters take over the story, most times, once I start.

What was the defining moment that made you say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”?

  – It sort of evolved. Since my school days I wanted to write a book and I did when I was twelve. I sent it to a publisher who said they would consider it if it was typed up.  My Mother was the only person who typed and she would not do it. I wanted to be a journalist but I had to leave school at fifteen as my parents did not agree with ‘educating’ women. I wrote on and off for years, never finishing any story, had my family and went to college and then started teaching. I got very ill in my 50’s and was in hospital for months and my sister brought in a magazine with a competition for a story. That story did not get anywhere, but I refined it and a publisher published it. Under the pen name Lia Ginno.  Unfortunately, the publishers amalgamated and altered my contract so I bought back the rights and self-published it.  It was nominated for Brit Award and was my first children’s story. I have sold over seven thousand copies.  I wrote for children only, for about ten years until I decided to try an adult romance. Set my Soul on Fire. I won the Autumn Romance award for the story.

What are you working on now or in the near future?

 – A new children’s book about a Spanish horse. In English and Spanish

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

– Keep going and believe in your story. All stories have some worth.

What is your all time favorite book or author? Do you think this has influenced your writing?

  – I liked Enid Blyton Secret Seven when I was a child and later Victoria Holts historical whodunnits. Probably influenced my writing but I read and write what I like, so it crosses over.

Who is your audience?

– Anyone who loves reading romance, with a tinge of sex.

How do you interact with your readers? 

– At book signings and book festivals/events.

What do you look for in a story as a reader?

 – That is hard as I like so many different genres. I do like happy endings, but you don’t know that until you finish the book but sometimes you can pick what you think will have a satisfying ending. For romance I look for an interesting relatable main character with a gorgeous setting, maybe a bit of a fairytale romance.  For whodunnit/murders, the setting, For historic stories, the time period and I relish reading autobiographies on how they made it in life or rags to riches. I have just finished reading Michelle Obama’s story, which I loved as she came from ‘ordinary,’ and look what she achieved.

What has been your favorite reader feedback?

 – Loved this and read it in one sitting Evocative and wonderful imagery used. Loved the characters and the story – I got so immersed in the world the author has created
Well worth a read 4 stars Amazon.

What difference do you see between a writer and an author? 

– Hmmm, A writer is someone who does blogs and maybe ‘writes’ a column or something in a magazine or newspaper.  An author writes poems, stories and books that are published.

What is the first book that you remember reading?

– Enid Blyton Secret Seven.

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?

– Swimming, painting, dinning with friends, music and concerts.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

– Don’t let life take over your dreams.

.Describe yourself in as few words as possible.

– Nutty, kind and thoughtful. (my husband’s description.)

What would your dream library look like? 

– Three walls of books, with one wall of windows overlooking the sea and a comfortable chair. 

If you had your own talk show, what would the topic be and who would be your first guest(s)? 

– Stephan Fry.  Writing comedy. (I think writing that makes people laugh is a real talented gift.)

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose?

– Narnia. LOL.

If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

 – Write a bestseller that sold 20 million in 20 different languages.

...she went suddenly still. And then I saw why. The most beautiful man I had ever seen was casually leaning against a pillar in the Liwan. He was like another Michelangelo’s David; he was that beautiful and I imagined myself doing a sculpture of him.

I dropped my hands. “And who might you be? “

“I was just going to ask you both that,” he answered. “You have no right to be here, so out, out or I will call the police.”

The bloody arrogance!

Well, with such a challenge… “We intend to squat here like ghosts for the summer.” It was sort of true, the squatting bit and Gemma smothered a chuckle. “And you have not told me who you are?” I said, as I stepped out towards the fountain into the light. 

The young man straightened up from the pillar and went pale. Pale as any ghost and looked like he believed me. He half choked and I thought for one moment he might faint. Maybe my hacienda was haunted, that is why everything seemed uncanny. Gemma and I moved closer to him ready to catch him. He had the most enormous liquid brown eyes like the earth after it had rained ringed with long black lashes, his lips were full and I could easily have kissed them…. well, if he had not looked like he was about to die. Maybe more the kiss of life! …

“Have you been into the library yet? Seen the painting?”

He whispered as if his voice was not functioning properly. I shook my head. He stood for a couple of seconds gazing into my face and I think my legs went wobbly. Then he gently turned me towards what must be the library door with his hand on my back, the touch of his hand had my legs and feet stuck as if in concrete. He pushed me forward and when we got into the ‘library’, no books that I could see, he went across to the fireplace and pulled a cloth off of a picture hanging above it. If I felt wobbly before I definitely was now. Nothing to do with him, it was the picture. A painting of me.

Is there a dark secret that Mireya’s family had been hiding from her? 
Is her father alive or dead and can she unlock the mystery of her troubled past and find out the truth? 

When Mireya’s adopted parents die in a car crash, she inherits a hacienda in Spain and finds some letters that suggest her real birth parents could be alive and her father, who had been in prison, was possibly a murderer. Grieving with unsettling dreams and unable to motivate herself her best friend Gemma comes to stay and pushes Mireya to set out to Spain on holiday to claim her inheritance and find some answers to why she was adopted.

Thinking that her parents would be at the hacienda they find the property empty. That’s when the attractive Sandro walks into her life and she immediately feels tingling going along her spine like she has been plugged into an electric socket. Mireya loves the sunshine, eats tapas, drinks wine and with Gemma, she begins to laugh again. However, she becomes plagued with strange feelings about the past that escalates when she meets with her feuding Spanish relatives. 

As Mireya’s memories start to increase, she experiences a ghostly vision of her father each day and realizes that her dreams can mislead as well as bring back hidden emotions and thinks he has probably died. As secrets past, start to unravel she wonders whom she can trust. Can she trust Sandro? Is it love or hot sex? Will her passion and romance with him override her common sense. Will there be a conflict between them as she is determined to find the true reason of the mystery that led her to be adopted? Within her mind, she is at war and silently screaming…..

Purchase Link:
US https://amzn.to/3cwIEXJ
UK https://amzn.to/3gs8ugG

I am a retired college lecturer and have been writing for years, every time I have a moment, up to now for children; ( pen name Lia Ginno) but I have a mountain of unfinished stories for adults fading away in note pads and in files on my laptop. Like most authors, people I meet trigger my stories. My award-winning debut novel Set my Soul on Fire was inspired by a friend whose marriage fell apart and her for a while but she got herself together remembering her pre-marriage dream.

I belong to several woman groups and we sometimes sit around discussing our men and relationships. I have always had many woman friends; I enjoy their deep caring emotions, their love for their family that rules their lives, which often stops their dreams, and sometimes even who they are! However, most women have inner strength, that shines through love. Real people are so much more fascinating than made-up characters. I have so many stories that my friends have inspired, half lined up in my head and I do wonder if now I am retired, living the winter in Spain if they will ever get written.


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