Interview with Lexa Dudley
Tell us about yourself, your childhood, your family. What do you do for a living?
I am an only child. I went to boarding school at the age of six and a half, then on to school in Switzerland when I was seventeen. My mother then married an american in the US army and we went to live in North Carolina and then Texas. We returned to the UK when I was nineteen. I married at twenty one and have four sons and eight grandchildren. I have always worked with my husband with his business and have written, when I found time.
Tell us about your Book, characters. What is it about? What’s your inspiration?
The two main characters are Elise, a married woman escaping from a failed marriage, who goes on holiday to Sardinia where she meets a local man called Beppe. It is about their relationship. Being a Roman Catholic country and set in 1969, it would be difficult for their relationship to be accepted by the community, let alone his family.
The inspiration for the book came from the first holiday we took in Sardinia in 1972, where we met lots of the local people and learnt about their codes of living. It fascinated me how closed their lives were then. the women being confined to the house and the men being the breadwinners.
Why did you decide to write this book? How can it help others?
I wanted to set these problems in the background of Sardinia. I love the island and its people and I wanted to pass some of that love on to other people. If there is one thing I have learnt it is that you write about what you know and love, which makes a difficult job of writing a little easier.
How do you promote your books outside Amazon? Any marketing lessons for our readers?
I use Twitter, Facebook and I have been fortunate enough to have a few interviews, which help very enormously. I also have an active website.
Do you have a print version? How do you promote it? Talk about giveaways you have done, network you have built etc.
Yes I have a print version which is with Amazon, but all the interview etc all state that it is in print as well as an ebook. I also entered it into competitions in the US AND WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BECOME A FINALIST IN THE NEXT GENERATION INDIE AWARDS 2014 FOR ROMANCE AND IN THE NATIONAL EXCELLENT INDIE AWARDS 2914 FOR ROMANCE AND LITERARY FICTION.
How do you plan your book launch? Do you have tips for other authors to do a mega book launch?
Matador, my publisher arranged the initial launch and it is on Goodreads as well.
Do you use KDP select? How has KDP Select helped you? Give us some statistics on downloads and sales (if you don’t mind).
I did use it for a while, but didn’t find it very helpful.
How do you handle criticism or negative reviews? Any tips on how to avoid them (if any).
Not everyone can like your book, so you learn to take the rough with the smooth and also if it is harsh criticism look at what was said and try not to make the same mistake again.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Persevere keep writing and believe in yourself. I was 73 when I published my first novel, The Whispering Wind. I had it accepted by a publisher, but they wanted to change the ending, but I was adamant that it should stay as it is. So I published it myself, and as I said I have won prizes with it. So stick at it it is well worth it in the end.
What mistakes would you like to avoid in your next book? What have you learned from your mistakes/failures?
I have learnt that at the back of your book you put all your information, your email your website so that if people want to contact you they can. Make sure you have a really good editor and remember that even the best publishing houses don’t always find all the errors in the MS.
Name 3 of your all-time favorite books.
- Out of Africa by Karen Blixon
- Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne duMaurier
- Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
If you were given a chance to motivate someone with your words, you would say…..
Never give up, follow your dream and be true to yourself and lastly enjoy what you do.
Lexa Dudley, Author Spotlight
By Aimee Ann
A striking historic rendition of life on the island of Sardinia…
Children of the Mists is a story of enduring love. Set in the 1800s, life on Sardinia had barely changed since the time of the Caesars. Two families, the Sannas and the Canus, are united by friendship and honour; love and laughter; joy and promises; omens and superstitions; youth and experience transcend generations.
However, for Raffaella and Antonio, their passionate love becomes entangled with revenge. Death changes devotion. Promises are forgotten. Vendettas cannot be ignored. Ambition clouds judgments. Antonio and Raffaella were promised to each other, nothing would keep them apart, not even family. Committed to each other, they fight for their love against all odds…
Children of the Mists is a gripping journey back in time that will make the perfect addition to any romance lover’s collection.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Lexa Dudley whose book Childrens of the Mists captivated me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love romance but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Lexa Dudley, a biography of the author and an interview between us both will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Lexa Dudley!
I am a freelance writer and a try to be poet. I fell in
love with the island of Sardinia in 1972 when visiting
there with my family; and I became intrigued with the island’s
unique culture and friendly people.
‘The Whispering Wind’ is a romantic story which gives
a glimpse into the closed world of the Sardinians and
reflects my love for the island and its people.
I have returned to Sardinia every year, with my husband, since our first
visit and have travelled extensively over the island to see the
many interesting sites and monuments.
I gave a nerve-racking interview on Radio Sardegna in 1978, in very broken Italian, about my affection for the island and enjoyed a close friendship with the late notable Sardinian author Marcello Serra and his family.
Now, how wonderful does Lexa Dudley sound?! The author is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between us both, I hope that you enjoy the author’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your books and what inspired you to write them?
The whispering wind is set in Sardinia in 1969, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean. I first went to Sardinia in 1972 and fell completely in love with the island, it’s history and it’s people. From the moment I arrived at the small airport at Elmas, I knew Sardinia would live in my heart and become the home of my soul. The landscape is breath taking, with its majestic mountains, enchanting and mystic Nuraghic places and sacred wells. The beaches are beautiful with white sands, crystal clear water and gentle breezes. This has been translated into Italian as Sussurri Nel Vento
Children of the Mists, is also set in Sardinia, but in 1855. The backdrop being the mountains and the wild life of an ancient pastoral people. This book has been translated into Italian as Figli della Bruma.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. I was 72 years old before I published my first book, so persistence is the key word here.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
I like a book to take me some where, to tell me about the people and their lives. Romantic or just ordinary, people always have a story to tell.
What is your writing process like?
I write the first two drafts in long hand. I have note books I carry around with me in case inspiration comes! I only write on one side of the pages, so when I go back I can add the notes etc. I do that twice, after the second time I put it up on the computer and then put it up on Text Aloud so that it reads it to me, then I make notes on what works and what doesn’t. It is at this point I send it to be edited. Then the work starts all over again when the MS comes back. It is a long process, but I enjoy it.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
With The Whispering Wind, there was not a lot of research to do. I knew all the places so it was just a matter of watching it in my mind and putting it on paper.
With Children of the Mists, I did a lot of research, fortunately I have a number of books in my library about Sardinia at that time, written by Englishmen who had visited the island about that time. so yes a lot of reading, but very enjoyable. I am also lucky to have friends in Sardinia who are only too willing to help with my endless questions.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
I try to write every day, but with four sons and eight grand children, life can become a bit hectic. Not to mention the two dogs, two ex racehorses, eight geese and sixteen baby guinea fowl, which all demand some of my attention. Fortunately I have a very patient husband, who helps a lot. He always reads the MS before it goes for an edit, to make sure all the characters are in order.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I try to read on holiday, but it usually ends up with me buying an exercise book, so that I can write the outline of a story or a new chapter for book I am working on.
Believe me there is nothing more inspiring than sitting on the beach, in Sardinia, knowing that someone is cooking my food, making my bed, and the largest decision I am going to have to make, is what to choose from the menu.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I am working on my third novel, this is also set in Sardinia, and is about a grandmother and her grand daughter. I am at the ‘put it up on the computer stage’ so what with editing etc, it won’t be ready for another six months at least.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Lexa Dudley! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more about Lexa Dudley, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers
Sussurri nel Vento The Whispering Wind translated into Italian
Presentation at San Sperate for my book Sussurri nel Vento (The Whispering Wind).
Thank you to everyone who made it such an enjoyable day, and for all your hard work.
Good Morning everyone,
I haven’t written on this blog in ages. Time seems to fly bye and I never seem to have a chance to catch up.
We went to Sardinia in April/May. Going up to Su Gologone first to stay at a wonderful hotel which is typically
Sardinian. The colours of the place, the setting, the food, which is cooked over an open fire, all go to make it an
Then on down to Cagliari for a few days to see the Sagra di Sant’ Efisio. Always a moving experience, no matter how many times I see
it. Unfortunately it rained this year, but it was still amazing. Next year I want to see it at Pula.
We did some shopping, bought a beautiful Sardinian wedding ring (Fede Sard) and watched it being made, which was fascinating.
Saw friends and just enjoyed a week of wonderful food and companionship. Love it.
I am still working on my next book, which is set mainly in Cagliari and England. It has taken me longer than usual, as my husband was not well, but we have finally got him back on his feet, which is great for him and a relief for me, as he was really quite ill.
We still have two horses, two ridgebacks eight geese and now sixteen guinea fowl thank to my daughter in law who decided to hatch all the eggs she found from her guinea fowl. They are such funny little things. Trying to fly and hop round the run.
So the good racing is now at Newmarket and today we are off to see friends at the course and enjoy a day at the races on Ladies Day.
I am not very savvy when it comes to my site, but if you would like to leave a comment, I always love to hear from friends or readers, there is a place somewhere on this site to leave comments, and I do check it from time to time, so if you don’t hear from me at once, you will do.
Best to you all,
Spring Festival in Sardinia Sagra di Sant Efisio
The scent of rose petals, scattered on the streets, hangs in the warm morning. There is an overwhelming air of excitement as people chatter, and music plays while they wait for the great Sardinian festival of Saint Efisio. This event attracts people from all over the world; and this, the 360th year, UNESCO have given it International status by the Intangible Cultural Heritage, making it even more special.
Efisio a young Roman soldier was sent to Sardinia, by the Diocletian Caesar, to put down Christianity on the island, but on the way to the island from Rome, he had a vision of a huge cross in the sky. Believing it to be a sign from God; he converted to Christianity and began preaching the gospel to the nonbelievers.
Caesar recalled him to Rome on many occasions, but Efisio refused to leave the island or the people he had come to love. But when Caesar Flavian came to power, he ordered the death of the young soldier.
Efisio was imprisoned in Cagliari, where he prayed for its citizens, and the town, to keep it safe from its enemies.
After he refused to give up his faith, Efisio was taken, in secret, to Nora and on 3rd January 303AD he was beheaded. Where, later, they built the little church on the beach at Nora.
When the plague ravished the town of Cagliari in 1656, killing vast numbers of people; the citizens prayed to their Saint Efisio for help. They believed that any prayer to the Saint, said between the city walls, would be answered. A year later, the plague left the city, and the people vowed to mark the miracle with an annual festival in his honour.
Every 1st May the saint, dressed in his finest robes, is taken from the little church in Stampace, which bears his name, and makes the journey to Nora. The carriage stops at Sant Giorgino, a little fishing village, where his clothes are replaced by plain ones and all the jewellery removed and he is placed in the ‘the country coach’. The journey continues to the chapel at villa d’Orri where it receives a Eucharist blessing. On to Sarroch to the little church of Santa Vittoria for a mass.
The second day the coach arrives at Villa San Pietro, arriving at Pula around midday where it is met by the mayor of Pula. On to the church of San Giovanni Battista for another mass. After a brief stop at the church of San Raimondo, it is escorted to Nora arriving about 9 at night. The statue is placed in a niche for the third day for the celebration of another mass. In the evening, the statue is taken out of the coach and carried to the place of his martyrdom.
On the fourth night, the saint is redressed and returned to Cagliari with a candlelit procession.
he day of the procession starts with a wonderful display of traccus, decorated carts pulled by large bullocks, which have their horns elaborately decorated with fresh and paper flowers. Each cart representing a different town from all over the island.
Old men playing the Launaddas, the ancient reed pipes, young men in groups, or with their wives and children, all dressed in their colourful costumes, handed down from generation to generation.
The women are elegant and carry themselves erect, from the habit of carrying water, pots or firewood on their heads.
Next come the men on horseback. Matching chestnut or grey horses with bells on their harness that jangle and tinkle to every movement of the horses in the morning heat, their coats oiled and groomed to perfection. Some men ride with their wives up behind them; their pleated dresses spread over the rump of the horse.
Then come the women and the men carrying large baskets of rose petals, and carpet the road. They fill the air with the rich scent as they are crushed underfoot by the priests, dignitaries and the Carabinieri on horseback, in their distinctive uniform with white cross bands and red hackled hats.
Finally, the golden coach comes into view; pulled by two giant bullocks and decorated with flowers and horn coverings. Surrounded by the Guardiana who are the religious order of the saint. As the saint comes into sight, all the crowds cheer and the ships in the nearby port sound their sirens.
The air becomes electric as the faithful surge forward. Young and old eager to touch the Saint, or with rosaries in their hands, kneel in the street in prayer. Whether a believer or not I defy you not to be moved by the scene that unfolds before you.
However many times you see this festival. It never fails to excite, as faith and tradition come together in pure devotion, and all the wonderful sights, sounds and colours, fill your senses, leaving you with a memory which is both lasting and profound.
Photos with kind permission of Giampiero Melis and from my own collection