Book Title: Serafino da Ferrara
Author: Paolo G. Grossi
Publisher: The Conrad Press
Cover Artist: Charlotte Mouncey – Bookstyle
Release Date: February 28, 2023
Genres: LGBTQ+ / Historical Fiction
Themes: Coming of age / Talent and Arts
Length: 79 270 words/333 pages
Heat Rating: 3 flames
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Available at Amazon, Waterstones,
The Conrad Press and all major retailers.
Ferrara, 1505 AD.
Talented Serafino is apprenticed to Mastro Filargiro, one of the city’s leading artists.
Serafino finds love, but his mastery takes him on a perilous journey across Italy’s feuding city-states, unaware that his virtuosity is a threat to the pre-eminence of the hitherto unchallenged masters of the Renaissance.
His life must take a dramatic new turn in the hope of escaping their enmity.
Washington DC, 2008.
Parker’s first year at Georgetown High is coming to an end.
His father is appointed Consul General in Florence. Parker enthusiastically embraces his new life and befriends handsome Beppe.
But almost everyone around him has been keeping secrets. And the fifteenth-century palazzo where his family now lives unexpectedly reveals its long-buried mysteries.
Separated by five hundred years, yet united by their talent, Serafino and Parker embark on similar journeys of discovery while fellow artists, assassins, princes and envious classmates rage and scheme around them.
He hears the final bell. The school erupts, classroom doors slam open barely holding on to their hinges, the metallic noise of lockers being opened and shut again is deafening.
Summer break is here. A torrent of students regurgitates into the street causing an almighty traffic jam. SUVs with mothers or nannies at the wheel vie for space, right of way, and ultimately a not-too-subtle parade of the best four wheels in Georgetown.
This is no cheap suburbia, most of their husbands or employers are toiling at some desk or chairing important meetings at Foggy Bottom, on Capitol Hill or the White House. Most often all three.
Parker walks out of the front door with his hands in the tight pockets of his slacks and his rucksack on his shoulders. A few hugs with the girls and some high-fives with fellow boys ensue. His older brother is already waiting at the bike stand. When he gets there the high-five is followed by a manly hug.
‘Dude, summer break and birthday tomorrow. Lucky little bro.’
‘Bet you know what the old folks have got me.’
‘Sure I do.’
They start cycling. When Parker reached the age of fourteen, their parents went out and bought a cheap bike for his growing frame. The Hendersons’ pristine drive sports the standard two SUVs parked neatly by each other, yet their mother wasn’t fond of school runs. In their opinion he was still a bit too young to cycle all the way to school by himself but the city had finally built some decent bike lanes and Tommy was now seventeen so they made them promise to stick together on the journey.
Tommy, who finds cycling by himself rather dull – he’s not much of a loner, any activity has to involve other people – had gone out of his way to promise to look out for his little brother at traffic junctions.
They had also promised never to set off without their helmets, though Tommy had swiftly pointed out to Parker that “setting off” with them was not the same as “wearing them”. Parker, the more academic of the pair, had found the distinction clever though he had laughed while retorting that it was still cheating.
So when they are a couple of blocks away from home they stop, unlock their helmets from their rucksacks’ straps and don them before reaching the driveway. A few times Parker had remarked that one day they might get caught by their mother driving by.
He walks to the garage door to open it but he’s shouted down by Tommy who parades himself in front of it.
‘Off-limits until tomorrow, bro.’
A smiling Parker leaves his bike with his brother and heads for the kitchen door. Tommy has just narrowed down his guesses for his present. One doesn’t need a garage to hide a watch or a pair of trainers.
To his surprise he finds them both at home, sat at the kitchen table with two mugs of coffee in their hands. After kissing his mother on the cheek (Tommy is starting to cringe at that, but Parker still likes it. Tomorrow’s birthday might change that), he meets his father’s closed fist with his; they have gradually stopped hugging.
‘Why are you home?’ Parker’s face frowns in suspicion. ‘You’ve got the day off tomorrow, haven’t you, Dad?’
‘‘No worries. All free tomorrow. Left office early, not much to do at the moment. There might be a few changes in my career; new President, new direction.’
Q&A with Paolo G. Grossi
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing goals.
I live in London with my partner David. After The Tiergarten Tales and Serafino da Ferrara, I have another three projects in mind. Two will be LGBTQ+ Historical Fiction and the last one will be a bit different.
Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favourite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favourite character? Who/Why?
Serafino fa Ferrara follows the lives of two very talented young painters. One, nicknamed Fino, lives at the onset of the sixteenth century. The other, Parker Henderson, lives with his family in Washington DC in 2008 though he finds himself suddenly displaced to Florence. Their lives will somehow converge when they come of age. They are both my favourite. Both are slightly naive and with a heart of gold and find themselves confronted by less “appealing” characters.
Are you a planner or a pantser? How much do you know about your story before you start writing? How often does your plan change? Why does this work best for you?
The stories are planned and stay in my head from conception. However, I am not a regular writer. It needs to be the right time and the right place. Perhaps that is why one book takes a year to write!
Do deadlines motivate you or block you? How do you deal with them?
As I am independently published, I don’t have deadlines. Probably the only good thing about not having an agent, I suppose.
Do you schedule a certain amount of time for writing each day/week, or do you just work it in when you can? Would you like to change this, or does your current method work well for you?
Cannot schedule but can’t fit it in at short notice either.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book? Why?
Keeping the story together and go through the less emotional passages. Stories need to be driven forward by less exciting chapters without boring your readers.
How do you develop a story idea? Do you always use the same method? Specifically, which do you develop first in your story building, the characters or the plot?
Characters and period first. Then a superficial storyline which later develops and change with some aspects of it disappearing along the way if not working.
What are your favourite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
Still a paperback guy. Historical Fiction, History, LGBTQ+, novels with strong, believable characters.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start writing now instead of waiting until retirement.
What is your favourite under-appreciated novel?
The Charioteer by Mary Renault.
What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
As a gay man I don’t have a great knowledge of women’s thoughts or feelings. However my female characters are usually vey strong and likeable. They are also often a much needed counterbalance to the hellish mischief gay boys usually get up to!
What did you edit out of this book?
A Harry Potter-ish turn of events which wasn’t credible and sounded contrived.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Researching historic names mostly on Wikipedia. They have to catch my eye with some panache.
What were your goals for this book? Did you achieve them?
I think I did. If the story is not boring that’s a great achievement for me.
What were you like in high school?
A high-achieving hell-raiser sadly.
What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
If you could time-travel, where would you go and when?
Ancient Greece for me.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
About the Author
Paolo G. Grossi was born and raised in Milan. Thirty years ago he spent a weekend in London and decided to stay. Like most Italians, opera and the visual arts are his main passions. When not writing, you will surely find him attending a performance, visiting a museum and, of course, spending some time cycling in Berlin or around the Wannsee. He lives in London with his partner David.
Also by Paolo G. Grossi: The Tiergarten Tales