Jennifer sets the scene: “Amy comes to Rome to sell the apartment bequeathed to her mother by Marco Giordano. But a sense of connection causes her to change her plans and stay on. This decision will define her life as she falls in love with the ancient city and the enigmatic Davide. She enters a world of cats and eccentric cat ladies and long hidden family secrets as the tale of her mother’s youthful romance unfolds.
“I am not a planner. My work starts with my characters and they begin to speak to me and tell me what happens. Editing is something else and comes later when I have the first draft written. My influences have been the stories of E M Forster and Henry James where their heroines go in search of their destinies as Amy and her mother Caroline both in their different ways do.
“Having lived in Italy, I have studied the sometime clash of cultures and this often informs my writing. I’m sure many readers would enjoy joining me on this voyage of self-discovery and romance against the background of Italy’s sunlit places and its cuisine. The idea presented itself during lockdown while walking in Buckingham Park. I longed to be in Rome, my favourite city, and, via my main protagonist, Amy, I immersed myself in its locations during the writing of my book.
“If You Loved Me has been a joy to write with its humour, joy and sadness. I am also a great cat lover and have volunteered at the sanctuary Largo Argentina in Rome.
“So the story starts with an enigmatic grey cat that will launch Amy on her adventures. This is an escape from the often bleakness of our lives at the moment. I am working on the sequel.”
Jennifer’s other books include: Feasting and Fasting and The Caring Trap (HarperCollins) The Great Sicilian Cat Rescue (John Blake) The Cat –Paperscapes (Andre Deutsch) and Monet’s Angels and the sequel Monet’s Shadow.
“I’ve written since I was six years old. I’ve been so lucky that this love has provided me with a wonderful life as a successful freelance journalist. It has allowed me to travel particularly to my beloved Italy. Since 2000 I have also been writing plays, some of which have won awards and publishing fiction.”