by Melinda Gallo

Christobel Kent at the Paperback Exchange

Any time an author comes to talk publicly, I love to see him/her speak. It's especially interesting to me when an author writes about Florence to see how they see the city. I had seen Christobel Kent's books in the bookshop, but haven't had a chance to read any of them yet. Yesterday evening she came to speak about her latest crime novel, "A Time of Mourning" at the Paperback Exchange.

I rushed through the streets to make my way down via dello Studio and up via delle Oche to get to the Paperback Exchange on time. I was supposed to meet an Italian writer friend there, and fortunately she had a seat waiting for me when I arrived. It's a lovely feeling to be surrounded by books and listen to an author read her book.

During her talk, Christobel mentioned how inspiring the city is for her to write about. She said that when she is here she doesn't write as much as when she goes back to England. When she is in Florence, she is distracted by its beauty and always find something to do outside or see around town.

I appreciated how Christobel didn't profess one way to write or one way to find inspiration. Sometimes writers want to know the author's "tricks" as if there is only one path to write, to find inspiration, to persevere in completing a story, and to get published. I was happy that she talked about her experience instead of telling us that her way was the only way to be a successful author.

I already knew that the author was a gracious person. Before we left, Christobel came up to us to thank us for coming. I was very flattered that she took the time to speak to us directly.

I'm eager to read a couple of her books now that I have met her. She had lived in Florence for a while and I want to see how her experiences have transcribed into her books. I'm thankful that the Paperback Exchange is hosting these events for us because it is always a wonderful experience to listen to authors speak and read excerpts of their books.

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