We’ve got another great interview for you, this one with Kristin Rae, whose YA contemporary romance, WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, releases today!


Wish You Were Italian krae 2014Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?


Kristin Rae 2014KV: Congratulations on the release of WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN! What inspired you to write it?

KR: Thank you! Hubs and I went to Italy in 2009 with a couple friends, and I was smitten with the idea of setting a story there. But it wasn’t until 2011 after I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins that I was hit with both the realization that I should be writing contemporary instead of paranormal, and the confidence that setting a book in a foreign country was possible and could be very visual.

KV: I love how your trip to Italy inspired and informed Pippa’s. What were some of your favorite sights?

KR: I think I left part of my heart in Rome. There’s something about standing among structures that were built thousands of years ago that hits you. The US is such a baby compared to Europe, we don’t get to experience the same kind of visual display of history here (and when things get old, we tend to knock them down to build something else). And the Cinque Terre, where much of my book is set, is probably my favorite place in the world. Five little fishing villages nestled in valleys along the coast of the Italian Riviera with amazing views and the most delicious food you’ll ever eat.

KV: The thought of flying to Europe by myself–and then abandoning my plans and gallivanting across the countryside–would have scared me to death as a teenager. (Heck, it scares me now!) Would you have ever done something that daring and crazy?

KR: NO WAY! To this day I’ve still never flown anywhere without one of my parents or my husband. I didn’t even go on my senior trip (I went to a small high school, and I was the only one that didn’t go). And I’d never encourage a teen to do such a thing. It’s one of those scenarios where I knew what story I wanted to tell, and that was the way to do it, no matter how much I was cringing at her choices. It’s not only daring and crazy, it’s dangerous! But it makes for a fun adventure to escape with. Think of it as fairytale realism.

KV: Over the course of her adventures, Pippa befriends an Italian girl, Chiara. Did you set out to write a strong female friendship, or did their relationship develop as you went?

KR: I knew I wanted someone to support and ground her as opposed to a mean girl type character, but Chiara’s personality revealed itself as I wrote. I had two strong female friendships as a teen, so I wanted Pippa to have that too: with her friend back home that we get to know through the journal she sent with Pippa, and with a girl she meets on her adventure.

KV: Okay, this is a romance, so we have to talk about the guys. 🙂 Were their characters inspired by any real-life boys?

KR: Darren was inspired by someone, but I’m not telling just yet. If you read the book (and the acknowledgements) you can probably figure it out, but I’d like readers to come up with a picture of how they see him first before they know who I saw when I wrote it. Bruno wasn’t inspired by anyone except for help with physical description. A certain Portuguese soccer player for Madrid. Don’t you love how vague I am?

KV: We all need to have our secrets. 🙂

Have you done any traveling recently, and if so, will those trips make appearances in your future books?

KR: Since Italy in 2009, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Alaska, San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, Hong Kong and China, and Colorado. It’s very possible I’ll find ways to work in some of my travel experiences in future books, that is if I can figure out how to do it without repeating ITALIAN in a different setting!

KV: As this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of.

KR: I have a small fear of being bitten by a snake one day. It’s not something I think about all the time, but living in Texas you run across your fair share of snakes in the summer. And something I’m not afraid of? Writing kissing scenes. 🙂

For more information about Kristin and WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, you can find her at her website,, and on Twitter, @kristincreative.

Krista squaredKrista Van Dolzer is a stay-at-home mom by day and a children’s author by naptime. She holds degrees in Mathematics Education and Economics from Brigham Young University and lives with her husband and three kids in Mesquite, Nevada. She is the author of a forthcoming-but-as-yet-untitled debut (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015) and the forthcoming DUEL/DUET (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Fall 2015).

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