Have I mentioned how much I enjoy being the senior writer for Biff Bam Pop? I get to interview the most talented people. Lately, I’ve been doing book reviews for the site, and while I’ve enjoyed reading all the books assigned to me, Royally Roma by Teri Wilson has been my favorite by far. Set in the eternal city of Rome, Teri Wilson takes her readers on a spectacular adventure of mistaken identity. Meet me after the jump for the review.
What I truly enjoyed about Royally Rom, was how perfectly she presented a classic film—Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck—in a new light. The protagonist in Royally Roma comes with lots of personal baggage, but Julia Costa is determined to rise above her father’s notoriety by working hard and finishing her education. One day, while working at her job as a private tour guide, Julia meets with a client for a daylong tour of the beautiful city of Rome. There is just one little problem. Julia has picked up the wrong client.
Niccolo La Torre, the Crown Prince of Lazaretto, is tired of being the dependable and hardworking prince while his brother, Cassian gets to enjoy all the benefits of royalty without the hard work. After his brother is involved in a rather scandalous affair, Niccolo decides to play hooky from his royal obligations and assumes the identity of Julia’s client, Mr. Romano. What begins as an innocent guided tour through the historical streets of Rome soon turns into a romantic disaster when the prince, who has fallen in love with Julia, is unable to pay his bill. Royally Roma is an enjoyable read, with precise details of the famous areas of the eternal city. The romantic scenes were steamy enough to have me savoring this little gem.
And now, my interview with the author, Teri Wilson!
Gilbert: Teri, let’s start out with you telling us a little bit about yourself, what you do, and the books you’ve written so far.
Teri Wilson: Hi! Thanks for having me here at Biff Bam Pop. I’m Teri, and I write contemporary romantic comedy. A lot of my books are modern retellings of classic books and movies. I also have a series set at a Tiffany-esque jewelry store in New York City called Drake Diamonds, complete with little blue boxes.
Gilbert: I loved reading Royally Roma and I loved your retelling of the classic film Roman Holiday. Is it harder to write a newer version of a much loved classic film or book?
Teri Wilson: Well, the books and movies that end up as classics do so because their stories are timeless. They appeal to audiences for generations. The challenging part about retellings is taking those classic themes and making them work in a modern setting. I think it’s great fun. When I wrote Royally Roma, I watched Roman Holiday so many times that I practically had it memorized. I tried to imagine what the story would be like if we dropped two modern people into the same situation.
Gilbert: Royally Roma is volume one in the Royals Series, but since we are left to wonder what will happen to Julie after the prince returns home, can we expect a sequel?
Teri Wilson: There are no concrete plans for a sequel at this time, but I do have a draft outline of a potential follow-up that would revolve around Prince Niccolo’s naughty younger brother, Prince Cassian. The plot is inspired by the classic 1957 movie, The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier. This is just something I’ve toyed with, but who knows? Never say never.
Gilbert: As the writer, what is your favorite part in Royally Roma?
Teri Wilson: I went to Italy twice during the time I was working on Royally Roma—once to Rome and once to Florence. The book contains a lot of tidbits inspired by my real experiences in that beautiful country. Prince Niccolo is named after an outrageously flirtatious waiter some of my friends and I encountered in Florence. It was an interesting dinner, to say the least. We laughed so much. Julia’s character was very much inspired by the adorable tour guide I had at the Coliseum in Rome. So I’d say that my favorite parts of the book are the ones that bring back fond memories.
Gilbert: I haven’t read Unleashing Mr. Darcy as of yet, but I will very soon. Unleashing Mr. Darcy was made into a Hallmark movie. Are there plans to do the same with Royally Roma?
Teri Wilson: Royally Roma is so new! We haven’t really discussed it yet. Obviously, a Hallmark production of Royally Roma would thrill me to pieces. I’m saying my prayers.
Gilbert: How many of your books have been made into movies?
Teri Wilson: My second movie, The Art of Us, premieres on the Hallmark Channel on May 20. (Please watch it, everyone!) So including Unleashing Mr. Darcy, that makes two movies total. I also have two other projects in development with the Hallmark Channel, so we should see more soon.
Gilbert: What is it like for a writer to see your book come alive on the screen?
Teri Wilson: It is such a surreal experience that I can’t adequately put it into words. Seeing something from your imagination become a real thing, with real people, is very, very odd. I was fortunate enough to be on set for both my movies, and that experience was hands-down the most thrilling of my writing career. I wish every writer could experience it. The Hallmark Channel movies are so beautifully done. Both of the films really capture the charm and humor of the stories, and I’m immensely pleased with the results. And come on, how perfect is Ryan Paevey as Mr. Darcy?!
Gilbert: What are you working on now?
Teri Wilson: I’m working hard to finish up Royally Wed, the third book in my Royals series. It’s been such fun to write. It’s about a British princess who falls for an American cello player just days before her royal wedding to another man. So there’s a lot of fun drama. And six royal Corgis!
Gilbert: Thank you so much, Teri, for doing this interview for Biff Bam Pop. I am now a new fan of your books and I can’t wait to read Unleashing Mr. Darcy. Set your calendar for May 20, when Teri Wilson’s The Art of Us premieres on the Hallmark Channel.