Tiffany Parks’s debut middle grade published in March. She stopped by for an interview.
Hi Tiffany! Can you tell us what made you become a writer?
Although I have been passionate about writing all my life, I never imagined it as a career for myself until I started working on my first book. My first true passion was music, and I trained to become an opera singer. My love of opera took me to Rome, and Rome became my muse. With the art, history, and magic of Rome all around me, I became inspired to write fiction for the first time in my life. If I hadn’t moved to Rome, I’m not sure that I would have become a writer.
Where did you find the book’s inspiration?
One of my favorite places in Rome is Piazza Mattei, where a small and exquisite fountain topped by four bronze turtles resides. When I heard a legend that the fountain was built in one night, it fired my imagination, and I knew one day I would write a story about it. A short time later, I met a 13-year-old American girl who lived in the same piazza, with a view of the fountain out her bedroom window, and MIDNIGHT IN THE PIAZZA slowly began to take form.
Can you describe your process?
When I began this book, I had no idea where it was going. I only knew I wanted to write a middle grade novel about an American girl living in Rome with a view of the Turtle Fountain outside her bedroom window. I had no clue as to where the plot would take me. As I wrote, the characters emerged from the story as if they had existed all along, and slowly a mystery developed. Unfortunately, writing in such a way (especially being an inexperienced writer) meant that the plot was full of holes. I spent significantly longer revising than I spent writing the first draft, and I have learned my lesson and now plot out my stories in advance.
What are you working on now?
My work in progress also takes place in Rome (of course), but this time it is set in 1599, instead of the present day. In the dark days of Counter Reformation Rome, Caravaggio’s bold new art—and the controversial techniques he uses to create it—are bringing him unwanted attention from the zealous priests of the Inquisition. Olimpia, the niece of Caravaggio’s patron and protector, and Nardo, the painter’s model and errand boy, discover there are even darker forces afoot, seeking to destroy Caravaggio and harness his gifts for their own nefarious purposes. Together, they vow to save the great painter, even if it means going up against the Vatican itself.
Thanks so much! And extra thanks for offering a giveaway.
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