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On your website, you mention how growing up during the turbulent 60s gave you grist for your writing. When and why did you begin writing, and did you always write historical fiction? My first stories were written as soon as I learned how to write; my mother still has them, the paper yellowing, the creases growing weak with age.
I wrote a great deal of poetry during those turbulent days of the 60s while I was living the turbulence of my own puberty.
Then the influence of the King took over Stephen, that is and I did find my first fiction published in the form of short horror. How did you decide which era s to focus on for your historical novels?
Did you have a previous fascination with that time? The second book came from a two minute news story on the glassmakers of Murano, about their continuing efforts to keep their process secret, The Secret of the Glass. The third actually came from the glut of Tudor books on the market and the question I asked myself…how awful I felt for all the royals who ruled simultaneously with Henry VIII; they were so very ignored for the most part.
It was a world filled with intrigue with much more powerful women. Where better to put a young female spy who must make a decision…To Serve a King. Battista della Palla truly was the Indiana Jones of his age; I knew he deserved his own book. That book led to a fascination with the Renaissance, a period I am now fully ensconced in, completely obsessed with, and am writing a trilogy set within the height of the time and in its birthplace, Florence.
Having full Italian heritage and in the process of getting my Italian citizenship, I think it has all led me to where I belong, my home…Renaissance Italy! How do you go about researching the history for your novels?
Do you travel to the places you write about? My research is a combination of the academic to the practical. For most books, I spend eight to ten months in the research phase.
That includes reading as many primary source materials letters, diaries, journals, manifests as I can get my hands on as well as the books that specialize either in the era or the people who inhabited it.
But I also include some form of practical research. For my first book, I learned how to fence. I attempted to blow glass for my second book. For my third I learned how to shoot a bow and arrow archery has now become a full blown hobby for me and I own my own compound bow.
For my latest release, I learned how to dagger fight. Right now I am immersed in the techniques of painting that were used in the Renaissance period with many visits to many museums and many sketches and antique paint mixing techniques attempted.
Spending hours there truly helped me infuse realism into the work. But thanks to the ever evolving internet, there are so many virtual tours available, it is much like traveling there. As I do feel strongly that my work going forward will be anchored in Italy, I do hope to live there a few months out of each year.
How would you describe your novels to potential readers? What makes your novels different from others about similar eras? They are a vibrant and fast-paced merging of the factual and the fictional to take the reader on an adventure impossible in modern day, where I reveal not only what happened in the past, but how it truly felt.
Renaissance Italy was the birth of new thought and innovation, new ways of life—both grand and lascivious. I endeavor to bring the rare gems of history to light. Maybe in my next life… What drew you to acting? Do you see any similarities between acting and writing fiction?
Acting came to me actually. Modeling and acting became a wonderful resource for income, especially while paying my way through college. I do think the ability to completely immerse myself into a character, whether it is as an actor or writer, is invaluable.Donna Russo Morin's biography, bibliography, list of books, with the current titles, summaries, covers, excerpts, author notes, and availability.
was a finalist in Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award as well. The King’s Agent, Donna’s latest release, received a coveted starred review in Publishers Weekly. In addition to writing.
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Donna Russo Morin is an award-winning author of historical novels, including The King’s Agent, To Serve a King, and The Secret of the Glass (Kensington Books). Meredith Allard: On your website, you mention how growing up during the turbulent 60s gave you grist for your writing.
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