Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Camille Di Maio is no stranger to us...plus a book giveaway

We're glad to have Camille Di Maio back at CLC today to celebrate the publication of her latest novel, The Beautiful Strangers. Melissa A is no stranger to Camille's writing and has enjoyed all her novels, including this one. (See her review.) Thanks to Get Red PR, we have one copy to give away!

Camille Di Maio recently left an award-winning real estate career in San Antonio to become a full-time writer. Along with her husband of twenty-one years, she enjoys raising their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too.

Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She overdoses on goodies at farmers markets (justifying them by her support for local bakeries) and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. (Bio courtesy of Camille's website.)

Visit Camille online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.

1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.

For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that the Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.

As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with the Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.
(Courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Beautiful Strangers is your fourth novel. How did you feel while writing it in comparison to how you felt with writing The Memory of Us?
There were so many differences in writing the two books. I was a brand-new writer with The Memory of Us and there was so much to learn about craft and about trusting my instincts. It is also a tear-jerker book. I love it so much and it has a huge piece of my heart. And thankfully, readers really embraced it! But writing The Beautiful Strangers was just pure fun. I have a lot more confidence as a writer and a better-tuned sense of what works and doesn't. So it didn't take seventeen drafts to write it like it did for my first book! Readers will not need tissues for this one - it has ghosts, movie stars, love, family drama and a beach setting at one of America's most iconic hotels.

How much research did you have to do for The Beautiful Strangers, especially with Marilyn Monroe's part in the story?
Researching the ghost was a challenge - I read the inquest about the woman who died on the steps of the hotel in the 1800's and who is supposedly the ghost. But there were many differing thoughts as to who she was, why she died, and where she came from. I had to choose the path that made the most sense or had the most research. The Marilyn Monroe research, on the other hand, was abundant. Tony Curtis wrote a great memoir about working on Some Like It Hot and there are other great resources about the filming of that movie and of her life in general. Because the piece of her life that I needed only took place over a few weeks, I was able to focus on that time period. And a little extra just to get a true sense of her character - on and off the set.

If The Beautiful Strangers was to become a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Oh, this is always a fun question and one that I'm less adept at answering than some of my readers! But off the top of my head, I would cast Rachel Weisz as the ghost, Emma Stone as Kate Morgan (the 1958 young woman), and Eddie Redmayne as Sean. The ages might not be quite right, but they do fit the pictures of what I have in my head. And as to who would play Marilyn? I can't even imagine!

If you could take us on a tour of the town where you live, what would be some must-see places to visit?
I live just a couple of miles from Colonial Williamsburg, so there is SO much to see. Especially for history lovers. Colonial Williamburg has some amazing speakers and re-enactors and authentic food. It's become a normal part of my life to see horse-drawn carriages, hear the noonday cannon, or to see a Jefferson-like person stopping in for coffee at my favorite cafe. Nearby, history lovers would enjoy Jamestown and Yorktown. I love going to the beach at Yorktown as well. And Busch Gardens is quite close, too. It's also less than an hour to drive to Richmond which is full of its own wonders.

Tell us about your longest friendship.
My longest and dearest friendship is with my ex-neighbor, Elmie. She is a nurse and an amazing mom and just solid gold inside and out. Moving to Virginia from Texas was wonderful, but I very much miss having her three doors down from me. She is the perfect sounding board for all things in life - gentle but honest, and we can definitely pick up after time apart and feel like no time has passed. She's like another sister to me.

What is the last movie you saw that you would recommend?
I absolutely loved A Star is Born. The music...the acting...the heartbreak. It was perfection on every level.

Thanks to Camille for visiting with us and to Get Red PR for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends March 10th at midnight EST.


Janine said...

Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are favorites of mine.

Suburban prep said...

I think Lucille Ball.

traveler said...

I would like to read about Hedy Lamarr.

jean602 said...

Marilyn Monroe would be a good Choice .

Rita Wray said...

I would like to read about Lana Turner.

Mary C said...

Maureen O'Hara

Mary Preston said...

Cary Grant is a favorite.

diannekc said...

Kathryn Hepburn

bn100 said...

Elizabeth Taylor

Jane said...

Elizabeth Taylor

Anonymous said...

Diana Lynn, my mom's favorite. I know nothing about her.

Bonnie K. said...

I've recently read a few books about Audrey Hepburn. I learned a lot about her. I'd love to read about Gregory Peck.

Anonymous said...

BrendaS said Clara Bow

dstoutholcomb said...

Audrey Hepburn

Holly said...

Greta Garbo.

StoreyBookLover said...

Lucille Ball would be at the top of my list! <3

Kelly Rodriguez said...

Audrey Hepburn

Kelley B said...

I would like to read about Audrey Hepburn.

Margie Shaw said...

I just bought A Star Is Born and loved it. But I think anything with Bradley Cooper is great!

Storm992472 said...

I think Lucille Ball.