Hello, this is L.M. David. Today’s interview is with Petra Bragnardi, author of A Veil of Glass and Rain. Again, this was done last year, apologies to Petra for not following through with this. The one great thing about this is Petra updated her information and what is contained in the interview is accurate as of this posting.
Now to get this interview started. Welcome Petra to my little looney corner of the world.
Q. Tell me a bit about yourself.
A. To start with, I’m part Italian and part Swiss. I currently live in Rome and majored in cinema. After I graduated, I began to work as a TV screenwriter writing mostly cartoons. Then, during a screenwriting workshop, one of my professors told me how important it is for writers to be also actors in order to make your dialogs more authentic. So I decided to take some acting classes. It was just for fun at first, then it became more serious. An indie-director noticed me, and asked me to write and then play a monologue about a social issue; he liked it and he directed it. We didn’t become famous, but it was appreciated nonetheless. Then I formed my own indie-company. We were five very motivated people. Our first work was a comedy that we wrote all together. It went quiet well within the indie scene. But most of all, we had a lot fun!
Q. That does sound like fun. Can you tell us what A Veil of Glass and Rain is about?
A. It’s about two childhood best friends, Brina and Eagan, who grow up and become lovers. Of course, the path from friends to lovers is not easy; it’s emotional and filled with conflicts.
Q. Describe the character Brina.
A. Just like me, Brina is part Italian and part Swiss. She has long, inky hair, milky-white skin, and midnight eyes. She’s a very talented musician, but she’s very insecure about her abilities. She’s both fragile and strong. What I like about her is the fact that when she loves, she does it with all her heart, soul and body.
Q. What is the character Egan like?
A. Eagan is a very charming dude. He’s tall and fit. He has dark-blond hair and bright blue eyes. He’s a New Yorker, an architect who got the lucky chance to work in the beautiful Rome. He’s self-confident, determined, kind and loyal. And he also has some alpha-male tendencies.
Q. The character Brina seems to be have relationship issues. Why?
A. Brina is hopelessly in love with Eagan. He’s always been her best friend, but as soon as she became a teenager, her feelings for him changed deeply. Over the years she tries to deny those feelings, she tries to keep her distance, in order to save their friendship, but Eagan is always in her mind and in her heart; he’s all she wants. That’s why she finds it impossible to be with anybody else. All she craves it’s him. It is kind of scary, but beautiful as well, I think.
Q. What was the hardest part of A Veil of Glass and Rain to write?
A. Definitely the sex scenes! I wrote them, and then I re-wrote them…and then I wrote them again! The hardest part is trying to find the perfect equilibrium between explicit descriptions and poetic prose. While I was working on my novel, I read a lot of books written by great Erotica authors, such as Annabel Joseph and Maya Banks. These ladies have become my role models. They’re my inspiration…but they also intimidate me!
Q. Which character did you like most?
A. Brina! I adore her. She’s so, so human. She’s full of conflicts and insecurities, but she also changes a lot during the story. Writing her growing path has been a really interesting experience for me.
Q. Which character had characteristics that drove you crazy, but was essential to the writing of A Veil of Glass and Rain?
A. Definitely Eagan. You see, in real life, I totally dislike the “alpha” dudes. But those guys work really well in romance novels. The dominant type, like Eagan, is pragmatic, his actions and reactions are immediate. Eagan’s character drove me insane, but I had to admit that he was the one that pushed the story forward; he challenged Brina, he provoked her. Watching those two interact was amazing!
Q. What about contemporary romances do you feel is important to interest readers?
A. The stories I enjoy the most, are the ones that deal with everyday life and everyday people. I like “small” characters that, as the plot evolves, prove to be strong and larger than life. And the contemporary romance genre portrays those kinds of characters. It depicts life as we know it. We read because we want to escape our reality for a while. But it’s also true that we read because we want to see other human beings struggle, fight, and then win. We relate to them. We are them, in a way. That’s exactly why contemporary romance is a fundamental genre.
Q. What about A Veil of Glass and Rain will draw readers to it?
A. Well, there’s a lot of sex!
I’m kidding, well, not really, because there actually is a lot of sex. But what will draw readers, I hope, is the fact that it’s a simple story, about simple human beings, who live, fight, struggle, cry, breathe, laugh, and fall in love.
Q. What inspired you to want to become a romance writer?
A. It all started when I “met” Nora Ephron and Carol Goodman. Mrs. Ephron wrote and directed really good romantic movies, and Carol Goodman wrote some of my favorite books. When I grow up, I want to be like them!
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m planning to write story of Jean and Margherita, Brina’s parents. Part of their story is told by Brina in A Veil of Glass and Rain, but it’s just a hint. A want to develop their plot, because they intrigue me; they’re both orphans, they’re photographers and they’re adventurers. So, you see, there’s a lot to explore!
Q. You are a self-published author. Why choose it over traditional publishing?
A. Writing for Television is challenging and interesting, but it also binds your creativity. You’re forced to work within a very tight schedule and strict rules. So I felt the need to play by my own rules; I wanted to be free to experiment with my writing style, my plot and my characters. And I went for it!
Q. What advice to you have for writers who are just starting out?
A. Never surrender, never give up, be your own number one fan! I know these are all big clichés, but they’re also truthful. You want to be a writer? Then write! You’re haunted by a story? A couple of stubborn characters will not leave you alone until you listen to them and write about them? Then just do it. Set them free. Give them life. And try to have fun doing it!
L.M. David: Thanks for the advice. I wish you success in your writing endeavors.
Petra F. Bagnardi is a television screenwriter and story-editor, and an indie-theater writer, director and actress. She’s an avid reader and an enthusiastic cinéphile.
Brina and Eagan meet for the first time when she’s nine and he’s fourteen. They like each other from the very beginning, although their bond isn’t immediate, but it grows over the years. What links them is the fact that their parents are photographers and are extremely devoted to their work and to each other; so much so that both Brina and Eagan have to learn how to take care of themselves from a very young age. Despite their differences, age, gender, nationality, Brina is Italian and Eagan is American, they find comfort in their growing friendship.
Then Brina becomes a teenager, and her feelings for her friend start changing and deepening. New desires stir within her. On a warm, summer day, the two friends rest in a park, surrounded by the shades of the trees; then Brina kisses Eagan, while he’s sleeping. Scared by her impulses and actions, Brina realizes how her feelings complicate her friendship with Eagan, therefore she runs away from him.
A few years later, Brina is twenty and Eagan is twenty-five, they find one another once again. Brina is studying cinema in Rome and she’s also trying to become a musician. Eagan begins to work as an architect in the same city. Eagan wants to be a part of Brina’s life anew; he wants to know her new friends and, most of all, he wants to listen to her singing and playing her guitar. Brina, however, is still in love with him, and she finds it difficult to act merely as a friend, therefore she keeps pulling away.
(Ages 18+ due to mature content and language)