AusRom Today Author of the Month: Vanessa Carnevale
In three words, describe to us your novel:
Hopeful, transportive, and emotional (in a good way!)
In your novel, The Memories That Make Us, we met Gracie Ashcroft who has developed post accident amnesia. The difficulty being that Gracie is supposed to be getting married to her fiance, a man she now doesn’t know. Forced to examine the person she has become, Gracie confronts the question: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice? As an author, what led to this particular story arc?
The story idea came to me while I was folding socks on a Saturday afternoon! I was thinking about my life and my family and all the crossroads and big moments of my life that had led me to where I am today. From there, I started thinking about how our past and our memories shape us, and I asked myself the question Gracie tries to answer in the novel. If I had my time over, would I live the same life twice? Would I follow the same career path? And would I fall in love with the same person? I kept throwing ideas around and then Gracie’s character started to form in my mind. I thought that the best way for me to answer this question was to completely wipe the slate clean for Gracie, and that’s how this became a story that follows her journey of self-discovery.
What makes Australian romance fiction unique?
We have such wonderful and talented romance authors in this country! I think our special Australian setting plays a major role in making our stories unique.
What led you on the path of storytelling?
I consider myself first a reader, then a writer. My love of fictional stories and storytelling started way back when I was devouring books by the likes of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. As I got older, I devoured the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series of books. As a child, I always had my head in a book (I used to carry books around with me everywhere) and I knew from a young age I wanted to be a writer, only it took me a while to turn my own hand to writing fiction. I wrote my first novel after intensely feeling the pull to write for years. One day I just couldn’t resist the urge any longer and I haven’t looked back since!
Is there an author who you particularly admire and what aspect of their work/life/personality has inspired that admiration?
There are so many authors I admire for many different reasons. When I first met Australian author, Josephine Moon, she shared with me a story about her path to publication. She held onto her dream of being published, continuing to write many manuscripts over many years until her first novel was aquired. She never gave up. I couldn’t help but admire her resilience and tenacity and when I talk to aspiring writers, I always remind them of this story. I’m also a big fan of American novelist and memoirist, Dani Shapiro. Her approach to writing really resonates with me. I highly recommend her book on writing and the creative life, Still Writing.
The Memories That Make Us
Gracie Ashcroft is supposed to marry Blake Beaumont in three months’ time. The trouble is, she doesn’t know who he is…
After an accident leaves Gracie with severe amnesia, she’s forced to decide: live a life that is made up of other people’s memories of who she was, or start a new life on her own. Leaving her fiancé Blake behind, she moves to the country where she takes on the task of reviving her family’s abandoned flower farm.
While attempting to restart a business with an uncertain future, she tries to come to terms with the grief of losing a mother she can’t remember and a fiancé she so badly wants to fall in love with again. What she doesn’t count on is developing a deep connection with Flynn, a local vet. Worst of all is having to confront the fact that she might lose either chance at love.
Forced to examine the person she has become, Gracie confronts the question: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice?