Friday, March 24, 2017

What lies Behind the Mask of Johnson’s next novel?

Henry III said, “If I were not King of France, I would choose to be a citizen of Venice.”

He wasn’t alone in his admiration. Venice, Italy has whispered its inspirational promises to mankind for centuries. Its charms have proved the catalyst for art, music, literature, and pleasure from lowly artists to pedestaled kings.

Everything from its romantically-arched windows overlooking bobbing gondolas, to its gargoyle-shaped doorknobs, speaks of its uniqueness. There are sights and sounds particular to Venice: bells’ flat gonging, water lapping against boats, hand carts thumping across the walkways on the way to a seven-centuries-old market, pigeons’ cooing right before their riotous fluttering as tourists pour contents from seed sacks into their eager palms, Byzantium architecture, blown-glass chandeliers, standing gondoliers steering their crafts effortlessly through dark water, shops with window fronts advertising hand-crafted shoes or carnival masks.

I first visited in 2005 with a friend since high school. Nacicchetti—and drank wine from the region with names like Prosecco—which we recognized—and the lesser known to us at the time—Soave and Valpolicella—in enotecas and osterias. Everything was strangely delicious and the art and sculpture was so beautifully moving we could barely digest the richness that makes Venice one of the world’s top travel destinations.
turally, we took the clichéd gondola tour. We ate squid and other small bites—

One day, as we strolled through the Rialto Market and its surrounding shops, a water ambulance careened through the canal, a big cross emblazoned on its side. The image sent roots deeper than those of simple memory.

Who was the occupant requiring medical attention?
What had happened?
Where were they from and where were they headed?
Why had this been necessary?

A new story forged from this wonderment; one which culminated inBehind the Mask, a suspense-filled romance novel with Venice as its backdrop.

My intention is to bring Venice’s full flavor to the reader as the journey is set into motion between characters who might never have met without this one event which required an ambulance. There is, of course, a mystery to be solved and lovers to bring together—my own Bridge of Sighs.

Renee Johnson is the author of Herald Angels, Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray. She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food. She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and two very spoiled German shepherds named Hansel and Gretel.

Renee Canter Johnson 

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