Debut author Rose D. Patruno’s thrilling New Adult fantasy novel The Hidden Heir releases March 14, 2023!
Despite being one of the less gifted witches in her family, Inga is eager to take advantage of her magical skills. Her mother, however, doesn’t believe women have a place in school, and wants Inga to give up magic and work with her in her tearoom. When Inga meets the gifted yet mysterious magical instructor Biagio, who offers her one-on-one lessons to advance her magical abilities, she is ecstatic. Her mother does not trust the high-status, handsome Biagio, for reasons unknown to Inga. But Inga unexpectedly develops feelings for Biagio as he shows her what it is like to live among the aristocrats of London, leading Inga into a world of unexpected euphoria that she did not know existed. When long forgotten family secrets begin to resurface, including a millennia-old sorcerer hunting Inga’s family, and young women suddenly disappear across London, Inga must fight to secure her own fate, and the fate of those around her.
I’m so pleased to chat with Rose today on BCB!
You mention that you were a big fan of fanfiction. How has fanfiction inspired your writing of this series in particular?
When you come from a country with ancient and rich literature, where you are acquainted since childhood with outstanding authors, one has the impression a girl simply cannot compete with the likes of Dante, Manzoni, and Umberto Eco. Fanfictions provide aspiring writers with a space where they can find fun in storytelling without being compared to literature tutelary figures. It is a nice and pleasant training ground where they can “sharpen their quills” and gain confidence in this craft thanks to their readers’ emotional support and recognition.
What was it like growing up in a patriarchal society, and how did you draw on that for your writing process?
One does not realize how polluted their city is until one discovers the purer air of the wild sea. Likewise, a girl in a patriarchal family could hardly breathe until her will, a casual encounter, or both, show her a different reality. It takes time and effort to unleash her long unused wings in this new environment, but with the right support, she can build her confidence. In this book, my character is only at the beginning of this journey, which I went through in the years it took me to write her story.
How do you think this story can show teenagers how to stand up for themselves, especially when up against unsupportive family members or friends?
A reader (or someone watching movies) identifies with a character. When surrounded by a fictional “loving and perfect” family, with parents willing to do their best for their kids, she will twist it to fit her own (dysfunctional) family. This could lead her to renounce her dreams to follow her family’s will, sometimes for the parents’ or siblings’ interest. Giving her the means to recognize the red flags is just as important as showing her how she could find the strength to lead her way.
What do you think of the “alpha male” idea seen in many fiction novels, and how do you feel Biagio is different from that standard?
It is reassuring to fall for the stereotypical alpha male (protective, strong, competent, rich…) because it is the patriarchal mother’s expectation for her: an over-controlling figure who “will take care of her” by keeping her in a state of childlike dependency. The romanticization of such a figure will lead the daughter into the same trap her mother fell into, reproducing the expected social format of a shadow woman. Offering a different yet positive alternative shows how a more balanced and respectful relationship can help the girl become herself in a less direct, and less directed, but more interesting long-term path.
There seems to be an underlying importance of music in your book. How would you describe your relationship with music?
If music always attracted me, I only discovered its world in Paris, where people can go to concerts (jazz and classical mainly) almost for free. One of my favorite experiences was a night rehearsal of Renaissance music at Notre Dame. It was a magical moment; we were nearly alone with the musicians in the cathedral, offering us the impression of stepping back a few centuries ago. We also had the chance to “welcome” a Bosendorfer at home for some time (a cumbersome guest, I must admit), and its sound and resonances accompanied the writing of the encounter between Biagio and Inga.
This is your debut series! Can you tell us about what else we can expect from the series, and from you as an author?
Inga’s journey to discover herself and her potential is only at the beginning, and it will take time and effort to become and to get where she is meant to be. The universe where Inga and Biagio’s story takes place is larger than shown in this story, and the Distant Worlds mentioned here will soon offer unexpected plot twists!
About the Author: From her youth spent in Puglia, a wild region in the south of Italy, Rose has retained a love for the culinary preparation of beautiful natural products. And when still a teen, she decided to become a writer without knowing anything about this world; Rose never imagined for a moment what her path would be. At the age of twenty she defied the path laid out by her patriarchal family and escaped, leaving her family and this region behind, to follow her own passion – that of art and literature to discover Paris. There she took art classes, immersing her creativity between anatomy morphology and the art of watercolor along with Theater, which sharpened her sense of observation and her art of human portraiture – two skills she offers in her writing. Later, she developed her knowledge of pre-Christian myths, a passion she shares with her husband. Her life as a writer comes from a well of decisions and encounters: “A novel may begin life as an anecdote, but sharing is where it is truly born. It is not something that we premeditate. But the desire to have amusement and excitement can only stem from our original creations for which the inspiration flows from our own memories – the surprises of life.”