All of Him is the eagerly awaited sequel to All of Me, which featured the intense affair between 30-something actress Flick and sexy young Italian restaurateur, Orlando. L.C. Wilkinson tells us what we can expect when this hot romance moves to the Big Apple…
L.C.: Here’s the blurb: Orlando Locatelli. Restauranteur and rising TV star. Damaged, beautiful and oh-so-young.
Flick Burrows. 40-year-old actress. Ambitious, talented and also damaged. Despite the odds – age, background and a jealous step-mother – their love triumphed. But just as Orlando moves to London to cement their relationship, Flick is offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a starring role in an American TV drama.
Separated by an ocean, they are determined their love will survive. Soon Flick is thrown into the media spotlight and so is their affair. The claws are out. Insecure about her image, her age, her future with her unpredictable, secretive Orlando, when she receives mysterious, threatening letters Flick is driven to the edge of despair. And Orlando is fighting enemies much closer to home.
In a world where they are constantly watched, and destructive forces lie unseen, waiting to pounce, how can their love unfurl and grow? But intense passion is hard to stop and some souls are meant to be together, no matter what.
Xcite: Where did you find the inspiration for the novel?
L.C.: Honestly? I’m not entirely sure. The inspiration for All of Me, Part 1 of The Rapture, came, in part, from my experience as an actress and a tour of Italy I did in the late 90s. As is so often the way, after the initial idea the characters took on a life of their own and I rolled with their story. Although I hadn’t planned the book as part of a series it was clear to me by the end that there was more to discover about this passionate, damaged pair. Their journey had only just begun and I was compelled to follow them. All of Him isn’t my second novel – I’ve written two others under a different name – so I speak from some experience when I say the writing of All of Him was unusual in that I just kind of knew where to go with the characters. Apologies if this sounds oblique. Flick and Orlando are both complex characters, and complex equals fascinating. At least it does to me. I hope readers feel the same way!
Xcite: The first book in the Rapture series took Flick to Italy. In the second, she’s in New York City. Why did you choose that as your location?
L.C.: An author’s job is to make life as difficult as possible for her characters – therein lies dramatic tension. All of Me ends with Orlando moving from Italy to London so he can be with Flick and cement the relationship, so it felt imperative to move Flick on in All of Him. One of the tensions in their relationship is geography. They’re rarely in the same country, let alone town; Orlando has to chase Flick, quite literally, much of the time.
Why New York? Because I adore the city and it’s my little homage to it. Because it’s the home of one of the world’s best production companies (HBO, IMHO) and a major television series is the next obvious step for Flick, career-wise, other than a jump to Hollywood. And finally because Orlando has family stateside and America loves Italians.
Xcite: Much of the tension in the novel comes from the fact Flick is quite a bit older than Orlando, but she doesn’t come across as the stereotypical cougar. How would you describe the dynamic in their relationship?
L.C.: I’m glad you said that because she’s the polar opposite of the stereotypical cougar. And no one wants stereotypes in their stories, regardless. The dynamic? Like a yo-yo. The balance of power shifts constantly, as it does in all healthy, intense relationships. On many levels, Flick is feisty and tough, but she has many weak spots. The same could be said of Orlando, though I see him as the stronger of the two. Orlando is a wise head on young shoulders. After the death of his mother, he had to grow up quickly, and he rose to that challenge with aplomb. Boarding school and separation from the safety of the nest has made him resilient too. Also, Flick is an actress – she plays for a living – and this keeps her fresh in outlook and attitude. Because she looks younger than her biological age, she is cast as younger women and this helps too. The tension that arises from the age gap comes mostly from others, from societal expectations. If Flick and Orlando operated outside normal society, and showbiz in particular (which of course, they can’t), I don’t believe they’d notice the gap. Flick is more acutely aware of it than Orlando, but then the pressure on women to keep young and beautiful is so much more intense, isn’t it?
Xcite: A lot of the sexual encounters Flick and Orlando enjoy contain some element of watching or being watched. What interests you in writing about voyeurism?
L.C.: As an actress I observed people all the time. As a writer I still do. However, I’ve never watched people embroiled in a (live) sexual encounter or been watched (to my knowledge). Perhaps it’s fantasy fulfilment on my part? I’m not entirely sure. What I am sure about is that we live in an increasing visual society, and women in particular are constantly watched, by others and by ourselves. Flick performs for a living; being watched is ego gratification; existentially-speaking, it’s how she reassures herself she’s alive. Sexual behaviour reveals us more than any other – it’s primitive, primal, raw. Perhaps Flick revels in seeing people stripped of artifice? There’s an element of narcissism too.
Xcite: There are mysteries hinted at in the novel which have not yet been resolved. Can we look forward to a third book that will bring us more of Flick and Orlando’s story?
L.C.: Yes. There are plenty of unresolved issues for the couple – some of which relate to the age gap, others which relate to their backgrounds and their vulnerability both professionally and personally. They’re heading to Hollywood where beauty, age, defying age (visually) and image are given more value than anywhere else in the world. You’re constantly on show. The pressure must be intense and as we all know Hollywood relationships struggle to stay the course. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Flick and Orlando.
Xcite: What are you reading at the moment?
L.C.: I’ve just finished Apple Tree Yard which is dark, intense, and utterly brilliant. I’m a fan of Louise Doughty’s work and this is her best yet, IMHO. So, I’ve opened Skeletons by Jane Fallon because her work is light and funny, and I’ve also got the Bible by my bedside – research for another novel by the ‘other’ Wilkinson.
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