Wednesday, March 11, 2015

City of Illusions by Judith Works: Interview with Excerpt


Welcome! Thank you so much for stopping by!   Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Travel is an integral component of both my books. The first book, a memoir titled Coins in the Fountain, is about living in Rome for ten years. My husband and I traveled all the time on weekends and vacations. I also traveled for work to Cambodia, Haiti, Ethiopia and Kenya. My new novel, City of Illusions, is set in Rome.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I always dream of returning to Italy because it has been such an important part of my life, but I also dream of visiting Japan, although I have been there several times. Living in the Pacific Northwest, where there is often an Asian influence in garden and home design and where there are many Asian restaurants, calls me to return to learn more about the culture. I would especially like to return to Kyoto, the cultural center of Japan.

Where do you research for your books?

For both books I had personal knowledge to rely on, but I also have an extensive collection of novels, guides and histories of Italy from pre-Roman times to the present. Since I return to Italy regularly I use the opportunity to do “field work.” And sometimes I have been surprised to find out that what I thought was correct was not. As an example, I have a scene in City of Illusions where the husband, Jake, and a woman are in a cloister. I wrote that they were sitting on a bench, but when I visited the sight recently I found there was no seating. Now the characters are leaning against a wall!

Does your significant other read your stuff?

Not only does he read it and happily critique my daughter does the same. It was an interesting process when writing the memoir because we all had to decide if I was telling the story correctly – it’s amazing how everyone remembers an event differently. For City of Illusions, both critiqued the characters and plot. And I must say it helped even though I know the rule is don’t pay attention to your family because they won’t tell you the truth. Obviously the rule-makers haven’t met my family.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Yes – I listen to classical or soft jazz. When I’m really into the words I don’t hear it, but it is soothing when I pause and realize there is indeed another world away from the keyboard.

What is your favorite meal?

When my husband and I moved to Rome he took a very early retirement from his job. But he did not actually retire. He became the household manager, which in Italy can take all day – no multi-tasking. He learned to shop and to cook by asking friends and chefs. The best recipes he made were tiny artichokes cooked with water and white wine served with a dressing of olive oil for a starter, followed by Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a very rich winter-time dish made with eggs, an Italian-style of bacon called pancetta, parmesan cheese and a good grind of pepper. I love it, and so do our friends.

City of Illusions
by Judith Works


A yearning for change puts Laura on the road to Rome but her marital problems, muted in cool Seattle, become magnified in the glare of the Roman sun. Will she find happiness in the Eternal City or are her dreams only an illusion?


Derrick took hold of Laura’s elbow and steered her into a room with fourteen-foot ceilings, plump upholstered chairs, and a sofa facing a grand fireplace.  The honey-colored, waxed terracotta floors were covered with antique carpets. Heavy draperies framed tall windows.

French doors led to a terrace and a swimming pool covered for the winter. Beyond, a vineyard slept.

Jake followed behind filled with suspicion because Laura accompanied him so readily.

“Here’s home. Not much, but I think you’ll be comfortable.” He smiled at Laura and ignored Jake.

Jake was incensed at the slight and at the overblown luxury of the decor. Damned effete Europeans.

“Let’s have a sherry before I show you your room, where you can change. Better half should be here shortly.” At the sound of his voice a maid came into the room carrying a tray laden with sherry, glasses, and an assortment of snacks.

“Oh, Derrick, what a super…”

Jake cut her off. “I’d rather have bourbon. With ice. Sherry’s not my drink.”

Derrick obligingly went to a drinks cabinet but apologized for the lack of ice when he returned with a full tumbler. Jake continued to ignore Laura, who he knew was silently willing him to be more civil. His attention gravitated to a row of shelves above the fireplace. They held several undecorated black pots, a few more with red figures of gods and goddesses around the bowl, two small bronze statues covered in verdigris, and several marble pieces, including a sandaled foot missing its little toe.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome. The ten years of happy and sometimes fraught experiences are the subject of her memoir, Coins in the Fountain. She continues to travel, having visited over 100 countries in between many journeys to Italy where she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to Rome. Judith and her husband now live near Seattle where she is working on her second novel.

Twitter:  @judithworks

Previous Book/Memoir:
Coins in the Fountain

Judith has a BS in Psychology, M Public Administration, JD from Lewis & Clark School of Law.  She has spent most of her career in Human Resources administration.  Judith is a member of Northwest Women Writers, past President of Edmonds Friends of the Library, board member for Edmonds Center of the Arts, vice-president EPIC Group Writers, and a member of PNWA and Willamette Writers.

Links to purchase City of Illusions:


Judith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

kathy p said...

love finding new to me authors!

Judith Works said...

Thanks so much for hosting me!!

Rita said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Karen H said...

Enjoyed reading your interview today.

MomJane said...

Enjoyed your comments. This was a fascinating excerpt.

Ekkie Q said...

Sounds like an interesting life :) Congrats on your new release - it looks good

Lisa Queen said...

My favorite part is the blurb. I can definitely see me reading this book.

Judith Works said...

I hope you all enjoy reading the story. Thanks for your kind remarks.

Lisa Queen said...

Thank you for sharing this!