Many years ago after a reading, a man came up and handed me two books. “Write about Venetian trading beads,” he said. “There are lots of great stories attached to them.” I nodded, glanced at the books later that night and thought he might be on to something. I tucked that idea away, and brought it out again last year to examine when my husband said, “Could you set a novel some place we’d actually like to visit?” (Hey, what’s wrong with cornfields and swamps in Ohio??) "OK," I replied, “How about HERE?”

So, I’m going to Venice regularly now, and learning all about glass beads. They are beautiful and indeed do have fascinating stories attached. It’s early days, but the book is likely to span several centuries and, while based on Murano, an island off of Venice, will make stops in places around the world where glass beads have travelled.

Venetian beads

So, grazie mille, Giorgio Teruzzi. Yours is the first reader’s idea I’ve ever taken up, and I owe you!