I’m delighted to have good friend and fellow author, Robbi Perna, back for another visit. For those of you who don’t know, she writes these wonderful books filled with just the right mix of Romance and adventure, not to mention a sexy Italian!!
Multi-published, awarding winning professional author, Robbi Perna, born and raised in Denver, Colorado, is the oldest of four children in an Italian-American family. As the only girl, she gained a unique insight on the Italian male psyche over the years. Her stories often reflect her Italian heritage and the traits many Italian men and women exhibit. At a recent reunion, a classmate approached Robbi and remarked, “I remember two things about you. You always wanted horses and you were always writing stories.” Robbi happily confirmed she had owned Arabian horses for a number of years before moving away from Denver and she still wrote stories. She now makes her home in Northern Virginia where she spends her time embellishing her townhome to resemble an Italian palazzo and crafting her stories.
Robbi brings a diverse perspective to her writing. Her degrees in Art History and a professional background in business, strategic planning and communications, and more than twenty years as a Senior Military Analyst provide a wealth of inspiration. She is the author of thirty-one published credits that include novels, short stories, articles, essays, and editorials.
Robbi’s genre fiction encompasses romance, the paranormal, history, adventure, and women’s literature. Her goal is to live up to one reviewer’s comments: “When you find a writer who can tell a wonderful story that captures your heart and can tell it superbly, well you simply have a great find. Robbi Perna’s stories fit the bill to a T!”
Robbi graciously agreed to provide us some interesting and fun things you usually don’t find out in a blog interview.
* An interesting fact you might not know:
The unification of Italy in 1871 made a country, but it did not make Italians. The general standard of living demonstrated little or no improvement with unification. Liberalism became associated with the rich while the common people remained outside the mainstream of Italian life. A successful completion of the unification process required their integration into the system—a lesson that remained unlearned for most of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth.It was not until Mussolini’s fascist regime that the inhabitants of the peninsula began to think of themselves as a unified people.
* One of Robbi’s favorite characters, who she patterned him after, and why
The hero, a soldier of fortune known only as Navarre is my favorite character. He is the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble and a Basque woman. I patterned him after the strong, silent prototypical heroes of Hollywood’s golden era—mysterious, competent in whatever he does, kind, but at the same time—someone who could be very dangerous in a given situation.
Why—seriously? What red-blooded woman wouldn’t find him attractive and want him to protect her?
(Ummm, yeah. Navarre is my kind of man!”)
* Robbi’s least favorite character and what makes him less appealing.
Carolina’s father, Aurelio the Conte DeSimone, is my least favorite character. While historians of the period would describe him as a man of his times, he is cruel, self-serving, controlling, and believes women are chattel. Since I do not believe there is any excuse for cruelty or controlling personalities, for me, he is the least appealing sort of man in any age. However, from the standpoint of the storyline, I wanted the contrast between the hero, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble, who is the true gentleman and Aurelio, born a gentleman, who is a bastard.
(You are so right. The weakness of one character does help us see the strength of another.)
* One of Robbi’s characters in a completely unacceptable situation. She describes what his reaction would be.
Navarre is an intelligence officer, a soldier of fortune, the illegitimate son of a Spanish noble—not a palace courtier. He has neither the polished manners nor the birth rank. When Prince Umberto tells him he wishes to have him serve as the fencing instructor to Princess Margherita and her lady-in-waiting, the Contessina Carolina DeSimone, Navarre is horrified. He respectfully objects, but the Prince is adamant…and Navarre, mysterious, competent, and dangerous becomes a fencing master serving at the command and pleasure of the princess royal and the lady he once watched from the distance of a cypress grove in Tivoli.
(An unacceptable situation, yet our hero rises to the occasion….sigh!!!)
Now that Robbi has us all drooling over tall, dark and handsome Navarre, let’s sit back and enjoy an excerpt from her book.
“Cara mia, be sensible. You know we have no choice.” Carlo’s agonized voice broke the stillness of the cemetery. His tall, strong build, black hair, and dark eyes typified the Roman aristocrat. The red regimental dress uniform of the Pope’s Guardia Nobile intensified his good looks.
“Why does life have to be so hard? If my mother were still alive, she would never have allowed this to happen. She always liked you and we would have had her support. I would have had the hope of a better life, a life of my own choosing.” Her voice trembled with emotion and she clung to Carlo’s hand.
He looked down at her, his face full of the love she’d found there for all the years she’d known him. “Hope, what a laugh. There hasn’t been any hope for us since the day your father sided with the House of Savoy. No, Carolina, we have no hope and this is the last time I will risk meeting you. Go now, it is dangerous for us both, and you need to return home before the day gets much later.” He gave her hand a brief squeeze before he removed it from his arm and turned to escort her over to where the coach waited. Her companion, Maria, and Giuseppe, the coachman who had served her mother stood waiting by the door.
“Come, Ma’donna. We must return to Rome before the Count sends someone to look for you.” Giuseppe let down the steps and helped the two women into the coach. Carolina watched him give Carlo a long look before he climbed up to the box.
Carlo leaned his head into the carriage window. “Farewell amore mio. I’ll pray to our Heavenly Father for your safety. I leave tomorrow for my next assignment with the Guardia Nobile. I also have no choice. My family remains faithful to the Holy Father. Only those few misguided fools like your father fail to realize Victor Emmanuelle is an opportunist who
offers nothing except empty promises. The rest of us still believe the future security of Italy lies with Pio Nono. You’ll see—he will triumph in the end.” Carlo stepped back and spun away in the opposite direction to mount his horse.
“Ma’donna Carolina, don’t cry so. You will make yourself ill. Come, let Maria hold you.” The woman, a distant cousin of her late mother’s, had been her companion since childhood. She enfolded Carolina in her arms and held her against her amble, dark clothed bosom.
“Maria, I’ll never see him again. We’ve been planning to marry since we were children. How will I live without him?” She sat up straight and attempted to dry her tears. “What will I do so far away in Turin? Why must I serve a cause I don’t understand?”
“You must be patient. Perhaps your father will come to his senses.” The older woman stroked a hand down her back to comfort her, but Carolina saw Maria stare out the carriage window with a bleak, distant expression.
Across the expanse of uneven ground, the man known only as Navarre standing in the shelter of the cypress trees lowered his binoculars. He tilted them so the sun would not reflect off the lenses and disclosure his presence. He retraced his steps to the horse he’d tethered in the shelter of the stone ruins at the edge of the cemetery.
“Come Compeador. The young lovers, whoever they are, will no doubt find their way through whatever troubles them, but their presence has delayed our journey long enough. I must deliver the King’s message to my contact in the Vatican before midnight.”
The Arabian stallion snorted and sidled when the man slid a black booted foot into the stirrup and mounted. Once settled deep in the saddle, he reined the horse’s head in the direction of the road toward Rome and set off at a canter taking care not to overtake the coach traveling along the Via Salaria. Once cleared of the town, the pair cut across the countryside and covered the distance at a pace designed to eat up the remaining kilometers. The need to break his journey to avoid detection had put him behind schedule.
Check out My Heart Still Surrenders as well as Robbi’s other books. You’ll be glad you did!
* Website: http://www.RobbiPerna.net
* Email: Robbis_stories@robbiperna.net
* Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Still-Surrenders-Robbi-Perna/dp/1773622579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501439934&sr=8-1&keywords=My+Heart+Still+SurrendersAmazon https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Still-Surrenders-Robbi-Perna-ebook/dp/B073PBKSY6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501439934&sr=8-1 Amazon Buy Link E-Book: My Heart Still Surrenders Amazon Buy Link Print Edition: My Heart Still Surrenders