Autumn may be nearly here, but The Summer Villa is guaranteed way to hold on to those last moments of summer.
Melissa Hill’s novel tells the story of Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, which sits high above the Gulf of Naples amidst dappled lemon groves and the fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea.
Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.
Years later, Kim has turned the now-crumbling house into a luxurious resort – inviting her friends back for the summer to celebrate.
But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting…
Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.
Melissa spoke to Her about the inspiration behind The Summer Villa – and who her dream cast would be, if the book went from the page to the screen.
“I love the idea of an escape. You see and hear about it all the time; everyone talks about escaping for the summer – or just escaping their ordinary life.
“I came up with the idea of these three women, who all needed escape for different reasons.
“A brief escape can be iso transformative; sometimes just chaining your location, or your situation, can help.”
Explaining how “it had been a while” since she had written something which was purely for summer, the author said there were two things in particular that inspired her when it came to The Summer Villa.
“I tend to write whatever idea grabs me at the time, [and] it had been a while since I’d written something purely for the summer.
“I had recently come back from California, and I think the whole summer, warmth, delicious food vibes – it was all I could think about.
“I also love property. I wanted to do something that compared the before-and-after of the villa, but through the book. It’s ramshackle and run down [at the start], but it gets turned into this glitzy and glamorous place.
“But [then again], it’s not the best thing – because [the way it looked] was part of its charm.”
A number of the best-selling Wicklow-based author’s books are being adapted into movies and TV series’ – including Something From Tiffany’s and A Gift To Remember.
And if The Summer Villa were to be adapted for the screen, Melissa revealed there was one dream casting which “really jumps out” straight away.
“The easiest one of all would be Kim’s husband, Gabe. I kind of had him in his head when I was writing – it’d be Jason Momoa. I just love the fact that he’s so manly and masculine.
“[Gabe] is strong and extremely masculine; yet in touch with his feelings and supportive – I think [Momoa] would be a great fit.
“That’s the only one that really jumps out to me.”
The Summer Villa is available to purchase now.
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