Q&A Diana Giovinazzo

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Q&A with Diana Giovinazzo 

My next Q&A is with author Diana Giovinazzo. Diana is the author of two historical fiction novels. One is titled “The Woman in Red,” and the other is “Antoinette’s Sister,” which I recently finished reading. In the novel Antoinette’s sister we read Maria Carolina Charlotte’s story. We read about her life, her close relationship with her famous sister Marie Antoinette, her time as The Queen of The Two Sicily’s and the alleged affair with John Action etc. 


Q: It’s always nice when an author writes about a royal that we don’t know much about, or that we know about but there’s barely any books about them. Which scenes did you have the most fun writing? Which scenes were the most difficult? 


A: I love using historical fiction as a launch pad to learn about new history, and women that I know little about. I had so much fun writing scenes where Maria Carolina lost her temper. She was such a passionate woman, and it was so much fun having her put people in their place. And she uses books as projectile weapons! How can you not love that?


The scenes when she is dealing with her sister’s death were hard for me. I put a lot of work into the letter’s scene, editing it down until I had just right with the help of my editor. I feel that in books and movies we have a tendency to look at grief in a monotone way, when realities there are five emotions that we can experience either all at once or at different points. I really wanted to examine the aspect of anger through Maria Carolina eyes and how it fueled her to make the choices that she did in the second half of the book.


Q: What advice do you have for anyone aspiring to be a writer, especially in your genre of historical fiction? 


A: Read everything from the back of shampoo bottles to the classics! Books are our best teachers when it comes to structure, plotting and style. I’m thankful for my podcast Wine, Women and Words because we have a wide range of books that we read for the show. It’s easy to get into a genre rut, and the podcast keeps that from happening.


Q: Are you working on writing a new book now? If you are, can you spoil about what it’s about? 


A: I have done extensive research about Naples and likely my next novel will be set there. It is too soon to know.


Q: What were your favorite novels you read this year so far? 


A: So far this year my favorite books are Gallant by V.E. Schwab, Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis and By Her Own Design by Piper Huguley. I just started The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean and have yet to put it down.


Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels? I would like to see a t.v. series about Maria Carolina. I think it’s awesome that shows and movies about lesser known royals are being made. 


A: Not as of right now, but I agree, Maria Carolina would make such a wonderful tv series. Caserta Palace is already a popular location for filming. Star Wars, Angels and Demons and Hulu’s The Great have all filmed there. So, I mean, why not do a Maria Carolina tv series there?


Q: I know you mentioned that the letters between Maria Antoinette and Maria Carolina have been lost to history. Did you know last year some new x-rays through redacted lines confirmed that Marie Antoinette and Count Ferson were lovers? It also apparently had state secrets and escape plans too. From one history geek to another I thought it was interesting, especially since BBC is doing a Marie Antionette mini-series. 


A: When the news broke about the x-rayed letters the history nerd in me jumped with glee! We had just finished the pass pages for the book when my agent sent the article to me and my editor. We were all so excited about the finding. 

One of the books I used as a resource was “I Love You Madly” by Evelyn Farr which was published in November 2016. My research for their relationship came from that book. 

I hope one day they will make a discovery like that with Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette and their letters. There were so many people who wanted to get their hands on the letters that I could understand why the letters disappeared (or more likely burned). When it comes to history, never say never. Something can always turn up!

I was so surprised by opportunities and escape plans in my research. Even Maria Carolina was trying to use all her power to get her sister and children safely to Naples. But Marie Antoinette insisted that it was all of her family or no one which, in my opinion, stands as a testament to her character.