My awesome romance author this week is Antonia Aquilante! Antonia writes M/M romances set in the fantasy world of Tournai. Published by Dreamspinner’s Press, her books are full or sorcery, magic, and heroes. But she is soon to be branching out into contemporary romance. Antonia shares with us her love of travel and what inspires her to write fantasy.
Is writing something that comes easy to you or not?
Sometimes? That probably isn’t a great answer! I’ve always had characters and worlds and stories in my head, so that part of writing has always been natural. Some days, those ideas come very easily and the words flow, and other days, it’s more difficult to translate ideas into words on the page. I never stop trying, though. I think the characters would be upset with me if I did.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Setting aside day job stuff (because we’d rather talk about the fun stuff, right?), I read. I read a lot. Books are both pleasure and a learning experience for a writer. I love to bake and try new recipes, and share the baked goods with family and friends when I do. I travel when I can, and I’d travel more if I had the budget for it. I love discovering new places and throwing myself into history and art.
Do your travels influence your writing?
Absolutely, and in so many different ways. Sometimes scenes will come to me, or characters, based on something I see or hear or do. Trips to Italy and Greece influenced world building in some of my books. I get so inspired when I travel. It’s one of the things that refills the creative well for me. Like I said—if only I could afford to do more of it! There are so many places I want to go, including back to Italy which was amazing.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I have been writing since I was really young—and before I could actually write the stories out, I would tell them to myself or draw them. I was about twelve when I decided I would be a published author when I grew up. I had just written a sixty page murder mystery for a creative writing class in middle school. I kept writing longer and longer stories after that, but it took me years to write something that I intended to try to have published, despite how much I wanted it. I was just too afraid, I think. I wish I hadn’t let fear cause me to wait so long.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I don’t think it was really a conscious choice to write fantasy romance. I’ve been reading fantasy and romance forever, and I’ve always loved fantasy worlds and plots, but I’ve also always wanted more romance in fantasy stories. I had an idea for characters and a world, and I started writing it. I ended up loving creating my own fantasy worlds and making sure my characters all got their HEAs too. I have started writing a contemporary, though, so I doubt I’ll always write all fantasy romance, even if it’s my first love.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
My first book! I love those characters and that story. I haven’t looked back at it in years, and I kind of cringe at what the writing is probably like—I’ve learned a lot over the years—but I still love it. Maybe one day I’ll dust it off and do some rewriting.
Can you tell us about any other upcoming books, series, or writing plans?
The fifth book in my Chronicles of Tournai series is written, so hopefully I’ll have news about that one for everyone soon. I’m currently writing a fantasy romance unconnected with the Tournai series, and I’m having a lot of fun discovering a new world and characters. Right now, the plan is for that to be the first book in a duology. I also have a contemporary romance started that I’d love to finish this year. Then hopefully back to Tournai, because I have lots of stories left to tell there.
Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.
Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.
Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.