Rome in Love: A Conversation with Author Anita Hughes

Stunning location: check. Beautiful people: check. Romance: of course! Rome in Love, the latest book by Anita Hughes delivers on all three fronts as it tells the story of young actress Amelia, who learns about love, Italian food, and Audrey Hepburn while living in Rome to film a remake of Hepburn’s classic film, Roman Holiday.

Each of your books captures the magic of a certain place from the French Coast to Lake Como to the lovely California, I’d love to know what brought you to Rome for this novel.

I first visited Rome when I was a girl and fell in love with it. It has everything – ancient monuments, incredible food, wonderful fashion and the Vatican, a whole city within a city. Every view – of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum and the Trevi Fountain – is magnificent, and the Via Condotti has some of the finest shopping in the world. I couldn’t wait to set a novel there!

What inspired you contrast Amelia’s adventures with the backstory of Audrey Hepburn’s time there?

I watched Roman Holiday last Christmas, and I loved the first scene. Princess Ann is dressed in a fabulous ball gown and a tiara and is meeting all the heads of state. But all she can think about is how her shoes are killing her and she wants to escape and explore Rome by herself. This gave me the idea of what it would be like for a young actress to get the Audrey Hepburn role in a remake of Roman Holiday and have similar experiences.

What type of research do you so to make your books so authentic both in terms of the place and the historical elements you add in?

I start with places I have loved as a child. My parents were European and I grew up in Australia so I was always fascinated with different locations. Then I spend a lot of time online discovering local restaurants and historical facts and points of interest. It’s one of my favorite things to do–I feel like I’m there when I sit down to write!

Amelia and her friend, Sophie, wear some amazing outfits. I suspect their clothes are a lot of fun to write about–how do you gather such specific details to outfit these women so well?

I have always loved fashion because I think surrounding ourselves with beautiful things, whether it is clothes or art or flowers, makes us happy. I read a lot of fashion magazines and spend time on websites of the finest department stores – Sak’s, Bergdorf’s, Neiman Marcus. On a day off, I might run up to Fashion Island and just look in the stores.

Rome in Love is your fifth book; what do you still like about writing? What do you look forward to the most about starting a new project?

Honestly, I love everything about writing. I love creating new characters and going with them on their journey. I become very involved and think about them all the time. I also feel like I am visiting the places I write about – Cannes, Rome, Lake Como, so it is like taking a holiday without leaving the house!

I love starting a new project because I love going somewhere new and creating new characters with new dilemmas. My next book, Island in the Sea: A Majorca Love Story, comes out next April. It is set in Majorca – a spectacular island off the coast of Spain!

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