The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 24 March 2011

My second guest from Astraea Press - Therese Gilardi!

Welcome, Therese! So great to have you here. The first thing I have to say is how much I LOVE your cover! It is so eye-catching and beautiful, I wish you loads of sales. Who was the artist? I love giving kudos to these lovely ladies and men who work hard to capture our stories in just the right cover. Okay, let's start the interview, shall we?

1) I became a published author in 2002. I suppose the cheeky answer would be that it was inevitable as I had spent all of my life up to that point making up dialogue and back stories about everything and everyone I encountered. Seriously, I have my mover to thank. I’d been a closet writer for years – not even my husband knew of the sheaf of lined yellow pages of poems, short stories and confessions and impressions about my life that I kept stored in the bottom cupboard of my grandmother’s old maple hutch. I’d forgotten to remove the papers from their space ahead of the arrival of the moving company. As the mover was packing the pages, he began to read. He became so engrossed that he spent the next hour pouring over my pages … even though it meant he’d finish his shift sixty minutes late. When I saw his reaction to my work, I thought that maybe it was time to finally call myself a writer and begin the submission process.

2) The best thing I learned from an editor has been the advice I’ve received from Stephanie Taylor at Astraea Press. She taught me the romance writer’s secret handshake, a.k.a. the deep third person point of view. I didn’t know that this is the gold standard for romance writing circa 2011. The worst thing I’ve ever learned from an editor or agent? I’m not sure I have a worst thing tidbit – throughout the years I have been fortunate to work with people who really know their stuff.

3) My favorite authors are Frank McCourt, for his brutal honesty and the lovely way he turns a phrase, Marian Keyes for her ability to fuse comedy and tragedy, Woody Allen for his laugh out loud prose, Maeve Binchy for her sense of place, and Charles Bukowski for his gritty, brilliant poetry.

4) My typical day. Well, I’m in the mountains above L.A. so the rest of the world is already humming along at quite a clip by the time I rise. Which means my inbox is always overflowing. I begin the day reading British newspapers online (I spent quite a while living in Europe and I am hopelessly addicted to their tabloids) while I eat, then I make the school run, answer all those e-mails, which by now have mounded into quite an impressive pile, choose one of my canines to be “dog of the day”, walk that dog and then settle down to write. I always make myself a fabulous lunch if I’m at home – maybe it comes from being Italian, or perhaps it’s having written restaurant reviews during my years in France, but I do not understand these people who don’t do a proper lunch. To me that’s one of the perks of being a writer – access to the stove all day. After I make another school run, I do a bit more writing and try to double back to e-mails once more.

5) Blurb for « Matching Wits With Venus » For centuries Cupid has longed to be more than Venus’s arrow boy. When he’s sent to eliminate “Happily Ever After by Amelia”, the matchmaking business threatening Venus’s status as the goddess of love, Cupid decides to steal Amelia’s methods and make his own matches. While spying on Amelia, Cupid accidentally shoots himself with his magical arrow and falls in love with her. But bereaved Amelia doesn’t believe in the existence of Roman gods, and she’s certainly not looking for romance. She’s too busy perfecting the patented personality profile that’s made her Hollywood’s favorite matchmaker.

Disguising himself as a mortal financial advisor, Cupid manages to break through Amelia’s guarded exterior. As their passion deepens so does Cupid’s guilt about deceiving Amelia. Cupid’s interference with Amelia’s life causes her business to falter, leads to a sterile spring that threatens the animal kingdom, and shatters the longstanding peace between the Roman and Greek gods. With the fate of the natural and under worlds at stake, Cupid must decide whether to reveal his true identity and risk losing the chance to live happily ever after with Amelia.
6) Wow, a casting question – I love it ! I would have to say that Amy Adams would make the perfect Amelia, and Jude Law is Cupid. Seriously.

7) I have to say that I both planned the book and wrote it as it came. The story came to me late one evening as I was at the Griffith Observatory, overlooking the Hollywood Hills. It occurred to me that people always think of the movies when someone says there’s magic in the hills. But those hilltops and canyons are mystical in their own right. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a family of Roman gods had set up shop at one of the villas clinging to the edge of the earth.

8) The biggest surprise about being a published author is that I never feel like my ticket is punched so to speak – there is always another challenge, a new goal or dream on the horizon. I think I’m a lot more critical of my work than I used to be, which I assume is a sign I’m getting better – at least I hope that’s what it means!

9) I do have a designated writing space. For most of my career I’ve written at the same desk, which I purchased at a street market in France. The desk sat in the corner of my combination living/dining room in my tiny apartment, used by the kids, the husband, and I swear even the pets. At least that’s what it always felt like, since it was always so crowded. However, when we moved to California a few years ago, I got an office of my very own, for the first time in my life. Naturally everyone still seems to use the desk.

10) What’s next: I am working on a contemporary romance, as well as a chapbook of poetry inspired by the paintings of Mary Cassatt. I’m also writing a memoir of my years as a wife, mother, writer, and ratatouille fan in Paris.

Please stop by. I love to meet new people! My website is My blog can be found at I am also on Facebook.

Wow, you sound like a very happy lady, Therese! You're love of reading (I am a huge Marian Keyes fan too!) and your love of good food sounds idyllic to me. Can you tell us a little bit more about Astraea Press? How did you find them? What sort of stories are they looking for?



  1. Congrats, Therese. I, too, have notebooks lined with writings that my husband had no clue about until I said "guess what, I sold a book!" His answer, "When did you write a book?" Hehe

  2. Thank you for the shout out, but you did most of the legwork yourself, Therese! I'm just here to polish it up with a little love. ;o)

    BTW, all of Astraea Press's covers are done by the wonderful Elaina Lee at For the Muse Designs.

  3. I love the premise of this story. And when my daughter (a huge fan of mythology) read the blurb, she begged me to buy it for her! You get 5 stars in my book!

  4. Sounds great, Therese, and I too love the cover! Also love mythology and that was interesting about the poems and Mary Cassatt. I've had a beautiful book of her paintings for years.