Wednesday, December 14, 2022

#AwardWinning author Liz Harris is talking about her exciting research trip to Italy for her contemporary romance, Evie Undercover, set in beautiful Umbria – #Romance #BookSpotlight #CoffeePotBookClub @lizharrisauthor @cathiedunn

Evie Undercover

by Liz Harris

New Release Book Spotlight

Publication Date: December 13th, 2022 (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Heywood Press
Pages: 283
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

When libel lawyer Tom Hadleigh acquires a perfect holiday home, a 14th century house that needs restoring, there’s a slight problem. The house is located in the beautiful Umbrian countryside and Tom can’t speak a word of Italian.

Enter Evie Shaw, masquerading as an agency temp, but in reality the newest reporter for gossip magazine Pure Dirt.

Unbeknown to Tom, Italian speaking Evie has been sent by her manipulative editor to write an exposé on him. And the stakes are high – Evie’s job rests on her success.

Evie Undercover is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

   About writing Evie Undercover by Liz Harris

Evie Undercover, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Umbria and London, the second edition of which has just been published, was the first romantic comedy I wrote. The three novels published before Evie Undercover had been historical romantic fiction, so Evie Undercover was quite a departure in genre. And that’s as true now, at the time of the publication of its second edition, thirteen historical novels later, as it was then.

Apart from the difference in the tone of writing, the greatest difference between the genres lay in the nature of my research.

For my historical novels, I always read as much as I could on the period, spent hours in museums, galleries and libraries, and I went to the location in which the novel was set, if at all possible.

But for contemporary Evie Undercover, I had no need of historical tomes, visits to museums or hours buried in libraries. My main focus had to be the places in which the novel was to be set.

In my head, I’d already given birth to my hero - handsome Libel lawyer Tom Hadleigh. This was another first as although I have a Law degree, this was the first time that I’d made a lawyer one of the ‘stars’ of a novel. And I also had my heroine, Italian-speaking, Evie Shaw, an enterprising cub reporter on her first assignment for the magazine Pure Dirt.

Tom lived in Hampstead and Evie in Camden Town, but I didn’t need to research those areas as I knew them well. And I knew well the 15th century tower house which plays a large part in the story.

The inspiration for the house in Evie Undercover

I feared, however, that I might be a weeny bit hazy about the details of my Italian locations. The story was set in Umbria, which is more or less in the centre of Italy, and I needed to be clear in my mind about the appearance of the restaurants, for example, that Tom and Evie might visit.

There was nothing for it, I decided. Arduous though it might be, I must go to Italy. I couldn’t short-change the reader, but must (wo)man up to the task of checking the details of any cafés and restaurants that might be suitable.

So I packed my bags and nobly headed for the airport, clutching an online ticket for Perugia.

I’m sure you’ll feel for me, having to force myself into restaurant after restaurant in order to decide upon the best places to send Tom and Evie. And having to sit in the piazza at the heart of the medieval town of Todi, sipping prosecco while watching the stone walls of the 14th century cathedral change their hue at the arrival of sunset. And having to walk the cobbled streets of the ancient city of historic Perugia, and the narrow alleys of medieval Bevagna, pausing for the occasional coffee on an outside terrace or for a freshly squeezed orange juice.

The old Roman wash house seen under the bridge leading into Bevagna.

Ever a martyr to my research, there was nothing I wouldn’t undertake in the name of authenticity.

By the time I returned to England, I had not only my heroine and my hero, but also all of the details that would bring alive my setting. All I needed was a page-turning story. Evie and Tom gave me that. 

Evie’s unwelcome task was to dig for dirt on Tom, while ostensibly being no more than his Italian interpreter. This most definitely wasn’t a job she would have chosen. But she’d been assigned it by the manipulative editor of Pure Dirt, the only magazine that had been willing to take her on after months of gruelling searching, so she didn’t feel that she had a choice, not if she was to fulfil her life-long dream of becoming a journalist.

A black scorpion was to set the story going.

A black scorpion caught in my insect catcher.

On the first night they were in Italy, when Evie had one week only in which to achieve her goal and thereby save her job, and failure wasn’t in a word in her book…

Hm. I think I’ll leave it there, and let you to find out for yourself what happened next.

Liz Harris

Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.

Six years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, then in Cheshire and finally in Oxfordshire.

In addition to the seventeen novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines. Liz now lives in Windsor, Berkshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, reading and cryptic crosswords. 

To find out more about Liz, visit her website at:

Connect with Liz Harris:
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