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Friday, March 27, 2015

City of Illusions

City of Illusions
by Judith Works



A yearning for change puts Laura on the road to Rome but her marital problems, muted in cool Seattle, become magnified in the glare of the Roman sun. Will she find happiness in the Eternal City or are her dreams only an illusion?


When Laura received the e-mail she knew it was time to confess.

Two months earlier when she was bored with editing a technical manual sent to her by one of her clients, she took a break to check out blogs by women who appeared to have more interesting lives than hers. She came across a site recounting the adventures of an American family who lived in Rome. The latest post told about their invitation by the owners of a small country inn near Siena for a dinner to celebrate the grape harvest. After rhapsodizing about the setting, the food, and the wine, the writer ended her story with: “We’re so in love with this part of Tuscany we actually bought an old farmhouse to fix up to use on weekends.”

Laura looked at her souvenir coffee mug with the London Tube map, a relic of the high school graduation present from her aunt. The long-ago trip had planted a seed of restlessness. Now, as her marriage became ever-more routine, the germ had begun to grow, to push, sprout and slowly turn into visions of a more interesting life somewhere away from Seattle. To find a life with possibilities. And to distract from the unpleasant incident a few months ago. Better to get as far away from the memory as possible.


1. What's the best and worst part of being an author?

I have lots of bests: the satisfaction of managing to get your thoughts in order and chose the right words to tell the story; the pleasure of having the manuscript accepted by a publisher; the thrill of holding the creature in your hands when the first copies arrive on the doorstep. The worst part is editing – deciding how much needs to be done; considering whether the critique is valid and reflects what I am trying to convey; the actual effort of hitting the delete key and beginning again.

2. Which book of yours is your favorite? Why?

My favorite is my last book. When my memoir, Coins in the Fountain, was published that was the favorite (mostly because it was the first). Now the novel, City of Illusions, which represents nearly four years of effort is the favorite because I was not bound by the need for reality as in the memoir. I took pleasure in using my imagination to conjure scenes involving events that I could not know for sure happened in real life.   

3. What are your favorite authors in the genre that you write?

I read a lot of women’s fiction, my genre. I enjoyed Maria Semples’ send up of contemporary problems in Seattle, Where’d you go, Bernadette, and Mary Gordon’s The Love of my Youth, set in Rome. Although the time frame is the past century, I enjoyed Jacqueline Winspear’s series about Masie Dobbs, as well as Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, and Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator’s Wife. The problems women encounter in these books are universal.  

4. Which of your characters is most like you?

Laura, the protagonist in City of Illusions, is most like me: she wants and needs a change, she takes the leap, and she overcomes obstacles in her quest. I did not have her trials when I lived in Rome – no affairs or deadbeat husband – but we shared similar difficulties and pleasures – learning a new job and working with people from other cultures, looking at dreadful apartments, and savoring the marvelous food, wine, fashion, weather, and history. No wonder Laura does not want to leave Italy – neither did I!


Life was routine until the author decided to get a law degree. Then a chance meeting led her to run away to the Circus (Maximus) – actually to the United Nations office next door – where she worked as an attorney in the HR department and entered the world of expat life in Rome. The ten years of happy and sometimes fraught experiences are the subject of her memoir, Coins in the Fountain. She continues to travel, having visited over 100 countries in between many journeys to Italy where she always tosses a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to Rome. Judith and her husband now live near Seattle where she is working on her second novel.

Twitter:  @judithworks


Previous Book/Memoir:
Coins in the Fountain

Judith has a BS in Psychology, M Public Administration, JD from Lewis & Clark School of Law.  She has spent most of her career in Human Resources administration.  Judith is a member of Northwest Women Writers, past President of Edmonds Friends of the Library, board member for Edmonds Center of the Arts, vice-president EPIC Group Writers, and a member of PNWA and Willamette Writers.

Links to purchase City of Illusions:

Judith will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Use the rafflecopter link below to enter. You can find her schedule at

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Judith Works said...

Thanks for hosting me.

Karen H said...

It's the last day of your tour and I have enjoyed following you, getting to know you and your books. Thanks for a fun time.

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.

karin said...

I enjoyed reading the interview!

Mai T. said...

A very impressive cover!