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Talking Location With … author Julia Boggio: England, France, Italy

21st April 2023

#TalkingLocationWith …. Julia Boggio, author of Shooters, travelling to England, France and Italy.

Shooters, a romantic comedy about wedding photographers, is my pandemic baby. While I was stuck in the loft of our house in Wimbledon, my mind and my characters were free to roam the globe, with a little help from Google Maps.

The story is about Stella Price, a newbie photographer who is hungry for success as a wedding photographer. Connor Knight is the handsome, but arrogant mentor who can teach her everything she needs to know…and more. But neither wants to admit their strong feelings for each other. Shooters is a laugh-out-loud, slow-burn romance, with a strong female lead who you will be cheering on from the start.

Place is extremely important in the book, with the aspirational locales mirroring the lofty aspirations of the main character. The story travels from an infamous English country hotel to a residential course at a chateau in France, and a sumptuous wedding in the Italian Lakes—all at locations that I have visited in the past.

Italy is a country especially close to my heart. As a girl, I used to travel to Italy every summer with my father, who moved to the United States in the 60s. Every summer, we went back to visit his mother, based in Turin, and our many other relatives in northern Italy. Venice was my playground and I’ve now been there more times than I can count on two hands. I always thought I’d end up moving to Italy, but, alas, fate got in the way and I ended up in London instead.

With my connection to Italy, it felt natural that my main character, Stella, should also be half-Italian. It gave me a good excuse to use lots of fun Italian proverbs in my book, my favourite being: “Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco”—meaning “not all donuts come with a hole.”

When it came to writing the scenes at Lake Como, I used Google for the general look of the place and choosing specific locations, but I relied on my memory for the sensory details. In the book, Stella travels to the Lakes to shoot a high-end wedding as Connor Knight’s assistant. It’s the perfect location to ramp up the tension between them while luxuriating in the distinctive details of Italy: the way a ciabatta panino with prosciutto and mozzarella will taste a million times better than its equivalent in the UK; the sleepy afternoons when the streets empty while everyone goes inside for lunch and a nap; old Vespas bumping over cobblestones.

For the wedding venue, my inspiration was Villa Pizzo, which is where John Legend and Chrissy Teigen tied the knot. I fell in love with the large balcony overlooking the lake where they performed their ceremony. Across the lake and along the shore to the north, my main characters, Stella and Connor, spend an afternoon walking up the ascending alleys of Bellagio, scoping out locations for his photo shoot with the bride and groom (but really flirting like hell). On a boat tour, they also stop to gaze at the historic Villa del Balbianello, which is also where a scene from Casino Royale was filmed.

Villa Pizzo Photo: Lake Como Wedding Planner

While emotions are running hot for the couple in Italy, it is back in London, after a wedding at the iconic art deco hotel, Claridges, where things come to a boil.

Julia Boggio

Catch Julia on Twitter @juliaboggio and on IG @juliaboggio 

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