Sandra Schwab - Betrayal

BETRAYAL is the story of Georgina Crawley, who, years ago, fled from England and all she held dear. For the sake of her child, she now returns to confront the man whom she once loved more than life itself until lies and deceit tore her life and marriage apart. Where did I get the idea for BETRAYAL? I blame it all on Christina Dodd, a children's novel, and Italian churches striped like zebras.

Months ago I already knew that in all probability I wouldn't have a new book out in 2006, but still, I wanted to bring something new to my readers as well as say thank you for their support during my first year of published authordom. When I heard about podcasting earlier this year, this seemed to me the perfect vehicle for a thank-you gift to readers: wouldn't it be terribly exciting to do something like a serialized audio-book, which readers could download for free? But – which story should I take?

This is where Christina Dodd and IN MY WILDEST DREAMS comes in: I really liked the idea of paying homage to a favourite movie or novel, and the first novel that came to my mind was DAS DOPPELTE LOTTCHEN by Erich Kästner, one of my favourite children's novels (it has appeared on US screens as THE PARENT TRAP). It's the story of twin girls who were separated shortly after birth when their parents divorced, and who meet quite by accident in a summer camp several years later and decide to switch places. After many trials and tribulations, the crafty girls manage to unite their parents and bring their story to a happy ending. The novel, of course, focusses on the little girls, but wouldn't this also make a wonderful romance?

Now, since I write historicals I had to change the plot a little – after all, divorces in the early 19th century were even uglier than today, and divorced women normally didn't have access to their children. Furthermore, little girls were not sent to summer camps; instead young men were sent on the Grand Tour to admire the splendours of Italy. Years ago I visited Italy myself, and of all the Italian splendours I remember the cathedral of Siena most vividly: it's striped like a zebra! And – voilà – there was my first sentence: "Tuscany – where the summers are dry and hot and taste of herbs and olives and the heavy sweetness of dark wine; where the most famous artists of Europe have left their traces in old palaces and in churches striped like zebras."

Read an excerpt from BETRAYAL on my website (www.sandraschwab.com/BETRAYAL.htm) and come to my podcast (www.podchatter.libsyn.com) on 19 August to listen to the first episode.