Today my guest is Astrid Arditi, whose romantic mystery A Cunning Plan has just been published by Crooked Cat.
Determined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate. But she’s not the only one. Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying them too, but not for the same reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.
Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and scariest of all, the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.
Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane… until it turned lethal.
Hello Astrid, welcome to The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet. Tell us about your book.
A Cunning Plan is the first book in the Sloane Harper series. It’s a romantic mystery. Although my heroine’s everyday life shares similarities to my own – we are both stay at home mums with two young kids – the rest of the story is total fiction and my life is way more predicatble (thankfully!) than Sloane’s.
Who is your favourite character? What particularly inspired you to write his or her story? Is your character warm and winning, or prickly and difficult? How does their personality affect the way you choose to write about them?
I’m very fond of Sloane. She’s sweet and loving, funny and totally dedicated to her family and friends. She’s also weak and insecure, although she grows a lot in the book. At the beginning, some readers were shocked at how much of a doormat she is but it’s a truth about her character I couldn’t tone down. It makes you cringe to read it but I actually know many women like her. Fantastic women who have lost their confidence and believe they deserve to be put down. You wouldn’t cheer as much for Sloane if you didn’t know her to be weak, and at least the only way for her to go as the story evolves is up!
What about location? Why did you choose this setting? Do you know the area well? Or is it somewhere you can visit only in imagination? How can you readers best imagine the landscape in which your books are set?
The story is set in London where I live. Most places actually exist or are loosely based on real locations, which helps make the world of the story believable.
How did you come to be a writer? Tell us a little about your personal journey.
I’m cursed with a wild imagination so I’ve always dabbled with writing but my lack of confidence held me back for a long time. Over the last two or three years though, I’ve completed a couple manuscripts and finally came to accept I was a writer. Sending my novel to agents and publishers, then being signed by Crooked Cat, has finally made it official. I can’t wait to start receiving feedback from total strangers!
How do you choose your characters names? Are names important? Do you feature real historical characters, or are they all completely fictional?
For Sloane, I needed a name that conveyed her social status – AKA a WASP. Hence Sloane Harper. For her male counterpart, Ethan, I chose a last name that gave hindsight on his personality – Cunning. My characters are all fictional so all names are made up. I look through baby names’ lists, keep store of all names that strike my fancy. Names are really important to me. They make the characters real.
What’s coming up next? Are you working on a new novel? What else have your written?
I’m meant to start book 2 in the Sloane Harper series. Most of the book is already neatly outlined in my mind, I just need to sit down and write now.
Tell us something about the main character in your next book.
Sloane will be back in book 2 obviously, and so will Ethan Cunning. I’ve got a new sexy character ready to make an appearance in book 2, Felix Leconte. Can’t wait to see how he and Sloane will interact. You can expect sparks!
Who will enjoy your books? How do you connect with your readers?
Women age 25 to no limit. There is a universal truth in a character like Sloane, trying to find equilibrium between her family’s demands and her own needs. Hopefully it should speak to all women looking for a light read and a good laugh.
I’d love to connect with my readers. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and I blog at www.astridarditi.com. I’m also planning to set up an Instagram account for Sloane.
Tell us something about yourself. Your favourite colour? Favourite animal? Favourite food? Why does it appeal to you?
I’ve got a massive sweet tooth. I’ve been promising to go on a diet every day since I’m twelve but I’ve never turned down a cake or a piece of chocolate. Life is too short to eat lettuce.
Who are your favourite authors (or favourite books)? Did these authors help to inspire your writing? In what way?
My favourite all time author is Stefan Zweig. I’m especially fond of his short stories. In a totally different register, I’m a big fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. More than twenty books down the line and I still laugh till my ribs hurt.
Astrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013. After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing. She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.
A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.