As we close in on the end of The Wolves of St. Peter's, we are surprised at our mixed feelings. Excitement at the possibilities of it being published, relief that the hard work is done, satisfaction of a job well done, but also sadness. The idea for this book came to us while we were still working on Ciao Bella, and so we have lived with these characters for a long time. Just as with our other books, these characters have become real to us. We have become attached to them. We celebrate when they celebrate and mourn when they do. We have never felt that we manipulated them on the page. Instead they have taken their own shape, become their own people, and behaved as they saw fit, often leaving us quite surprised as to where they take us, their supposed creators.
We almost expect to get up in the morning and find them waiting for us at the breakfast table, pot of coffee already brewed. Not that we would want all of the cast at said table. The Turk (perhaps the first fictional character to be inspired by Silvio Berlusconi, current prime minister of Italy)is sure to bring his badly behaved monkey and brag about bunga bunga with Calendula (no one is sure what that means, but we know we don't want to think too hard on it). Michelangelo chews with his mouth open, bread and spittle flying everywhere, and Pope Julius II would expect us to kiss his syphilitic feet, not a pleasant thought at any time, let alone before the first coffee of the day. But Francesco would be there with all manner of interesting news, Susanna would be sure to have found the best cakes in the market, and Raphael – oh, how we've missed his smile since writing The Sidewalk Artist!
We like the idea that The Wolves of St. Peter's is the first book in a trilogy. We don't have to say goodbye to everyone (though some of them we do) quite yet. They will move on and we with them. From Rome to Venice, a city we know and love well. Who new will we meet and how will their lives - and ours - be changed?
So here is to endings and new beginnings.