Today, I have author Liza Malloy in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release Mafiosa Princess – Trust, the fourth book in the Mafiosa Princess series, a contemporary romance. Be sure to read my review, and don’t forget to check out my other reviews of books one, two, and three.
1. Hi, Liza. First off, readers have an idea about the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Liza: I’m a mom to four active girls, ages 6 through 14, so while I write during the day, my evenings are spent chauffeuring kids to gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading. I’m a Girl Scout troop leader and active volunteer at the kids’ schools…which leads to some awkward conversations when various people ask me what types of books I write. Most people in real life are shocked to hear I write steamy books about bad boys. I’m also an attorney, though I’m now focusing fully on my books. My law practice focused on civil rights litigation, and I enjoy writing characters (such as Adrian) with various roles in the legal field.
2. We’re spotlighting the fourth book in the Mafiosa Princess series titled Trust. Tell me, what inspired you to write a mafia series?
Liza: I’ve always been drawn to imperfect romance heroes. The idea of a main character who does bad things and constantly faces his own demons really appealed to me, especially when I realized I could juxtapose him with a woman who has strong faith and a traditional view of good vs evil.
Also, with a mafia series, the possibilities are endless. Mobsters have deep pockets, which means I can sprinkle the books with all of the fun readers enjoy from billionaire romance. Since my books focus on the Italian mob, I can span the story across Italy and the U.S., which is fun, and I can toss in a few Italian words and phrases. The stakes are higher with mafia books than most other subgenres of romance, too. Sure, the characters face infidelity, conflicting goals, and other typical relationship woes, but they’re also dealing with murder, embezzling, explosions, death, prison sentences, and drug deals gone wrong.
3. Of the four novels in the series, which one was your personal favourite to write and why?
Liza: My favorite to write out of the first four was Book 2, Sacrifice. I wanted to do something dramatic, to completely shock readers, so I did. I also enjoyed redeeming Luca to some extent after letting him disappoint Giada (and readers) time and time again. I received quite a few angry messages from readers over the ending to book 2, but even more exciting responses (usually from the same readers) as they hit the halfway point of book 3, Honor.
As far as my overall favorite in the series, though, there is a tie between books 5 and 7. Both are intense, with more suspense and more romance. As the characters grow and change, they’re facing bigger challenges with consequences.
4. If Trust is the fourth book in the series, what can we expect from you in the future? Care to share about your current WIP?
Liza: The Mafiosa Princess Series will contain 10-11 books total, plus a two-part prequel focusing on Luca and Giada when they were in high school. While those books are less steamy than the rest of the series, they definitely aren’t lacking any romance. The prequels offer a glimpse into the main characters’ lives when they first fell in love—and when Luca first became emmeshed in the mafia.
When I’m not up to my ears in mafia drama, I’m actually working on a steampunk vampire pirate trilogy. It’s set in the future, but in a post-apocalyptic world where water covers considerably more land and society has returned to Victorian morals and technology. I’ve always wanted to write historical elements without actually restricting myself to past time periods, so this has been a lot of fun to write.
5. When first developing the Mafiosa Princess series, did the plot come first or the characters?
Liza: The characters always come first for me. I loved the idea of an impossibly good, faithful woman surrounded by so much evil. So much of her character came from the notion of a princess—regal, wealthy, and powerful, but unable to really do much of anything. Of course once I developed her innocent and virtuous character, I knew the love of her life had to be morally gray at best, and at worst, a complete monster.
6. What kind of research did the series involve?
Liza: Oh boy, the research for this series is fun, but I sure hope no one ever checks my internet search history. I did a lot of research on the basics of the settings, both in the U.S. and Italy, and a lot of research on Italian culture. Of course I researched the various real life mafia families, too. Having studied Italian in college and criminal law in law school, I had a head start with both of those topics, but I still double-checked all of the Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the books. I found myself researching a lot of Italian drug laws, regulations on weapons in both countries, and even the nitty-gritty of how to carry out some of the particular crimes and how to hide the evidence. Nothing makes you feel like a real author quite like the first time you Google “how to hide a body…”
7. Let’s talk about the main characters. We’ll start with Giada. What do you love most about her and what makes you want to shake her?
Liza: I love that Giada’s faith is unwavering and that she is so determined to find the good in people. But her naivety is frustrating at times. She’s young (college age) in the first couple of books, and she’s lived a sheltered life in boarding school, but there are still moments where I want to shake her until she opens her eyes and truly sees what is happening around her.
8. The same for Adrian. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Liza: Adrian is that good guy that always does the right thing. On paper, he’s the man every woman would pick. His tendency to give Giada second and third chances with their relationship drives me crazy though. He’s a good looking, smart, successful guy—he could find a girl with waaaaay less baggage. His hero complex could truly be his downfall.
9. And we can’t forget Luca. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Liza: I love everything about Luca. He’s the perfect mix of the bad boy alpha male and the stereotypical sweet and romantic Italian man. I love watching him fight for his father’s approval even though he hates his father. And I love how he fights for Giada even though he firmly believes he doesn’t deserve her. If I had to pick something that frustrates me about Luca, it would be that he occasionally acts like a total jerk… but he’s so good at making up for that later that I’m willing to let it slide.
10. If a reader asked you why they should read the Mafiosa Princess series, what would you tell them?
Liza: Mafiosa Princess is a unique and spicy twist on the traditional battle of good and evil that will have you rooting for the bad guys in one chapter and the good guys in another. It’s realistic fiction that’ll transport you out of your daily grind and leave you eager for more.
11. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
The Family Man (Christmas movie with Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni)
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
I can’t restrict myself to one book at a time…so currently reading It Ends With Us (Colleen Hoover), A Court of Silver Flames (Sarah J. Maas), and Educated (Tara Westover).
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
At the moment, I’m listening to a lot of Maroon 5, Halsey, and Daddy Yankee. I’m not good at picking favorites!
- What song puts a smile on your face?
Yeah, by Usher. It’s impossible not to smile and dance whenever I hear that song.
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Liza: Thanks so much for interviewing me! I love the vibrant content of your blog, and I’m always excited to find more readers!
In a world built on lies, is there anyone she can trust?
Blurb: Giada Conti knows what she wants. This time, she won’t let anyone get in her way… not even the notorious mafioso, Salvatore Marino. But just as Giada nears her happy ending, betrayal ruptures the Conti family.
Luca spent years protecting the love of his life from the perils of the mafia. But when the threats hit close to home, Luca isn’t sure whom to believe.
Meanwhile, Adrian is determined to prove Giada will never be able to reconcile her lofty moral code with her newfound awareness of Luca’s activities.
With everyone seemingly hiding something, the results could prove deadly if Giada trusts the wrong Family.
Mafiosa Princess- Trust is the fourth book in the hot new romance series. The Mafiosa Princess series is intended for mature audiences only and the books will be best enjoyed if read in order: Mafiosa Princess, Mafiosa Princess- Sacrifice, Mafiosa Princess- Honor, then Mafiosa Princess- Trust.
I awoke to the sound of a crash then a loud grunt.
For a brief moment, I panicked, but then the familiar stream of swears in Italian reminded me where I was. I crawled out of bed, wrapping a thin silk robe around my body in case Luca wasn’t alone.
“Were you trying to kill me?” he asked when he saw me. He had removed his shoes and was grumpily clearing the path to the door.
I shrugged, gazing at the collection of books I’d stacked in front of the door as a rudimentary alarm system. “I wanted to make sure I woke up when you returned so we could talk.”
“You could’ve left me a note.”
He folded his suit jacket over the back of the sofa before moving on to the buttons of his shirt. He started near his collar, and I watched as he unfastened one, then another. Then something on his wrist caught my eye. I stepped closer, ignoring the breeze as my robe fell open.
“What is it?” he asked, pausing.
I reached for his wrist, then froze. That wasn’t pasta sauce on his shirt sleeve. I dropped my hand to my side and swallowed the lump in my throat.
“Where were you tonight, Luca?”
He gazed at his wrist and swore again in his native language. He yanked the shirt off and wadded it in a ball before stomping into the kitchen and running water over the stain. He didn’t answer my question, but then again, I supposed his silence, especially when combined with blood on his sleeve, told me everything I needed to know.
I trudged into the bathroom and began cramming my stuff back into my suitcase. Since I hadn’t unpacked any nonessential items, there wasn’t much to do.
I heard the faucet stop, then felt Luca behind me.
“Giada, don’t go. Please,” he said. His voice was uncharacteristically calm.
I shivered as his fingers stroked my bare forearms. “You’re begging now?”
He breathed a laugh. “Ordering you to stay didn’t help. Maybe asking nicely is the trick.”
“There’s no trick. I need to trust you.”
Luca sunk onto the bed and shook his head. “I honestly don’t understand. You said you wanted me back. At the cabin, everything was good. And then when you followed me here today, I thought it was because you wanted to be with me. I thought the whole point of everything you did, with my papà, with Nico…I thought it was so that you and I could be together again.”
“It was.” I sat beside him.
“But now you don’t want to be with me anymore.”
“I never said that.”
“I asked you to marry me, and you said no.”
“You told me to marry you, and it was the least romantic proposal ever. And we haven’t even been back together for a full day. You can’t just boss me around and expect me to listen.”
Luca chuckled. “I’ve noticed.”
“And you can’t keep secrets from me.”
“I can’t tell you everything. I will never be able to tell you everything. Some secrets aren’t mine to share, Giada.”
“What happened with your father? What made you rush home and demand I marry you?”
He shook his head. “I told him not to worry about you. I said you would marry me, and I would make sure you stayed out of trouble.”
I started to speak, but he shushed me.
“My papà views you as a threat, a wildcard. I don’t want to worry about him ever hurting you. If he knows you’re mine, you are off limits. He will respect that, and so will everyone who works for him. But if he doesn’t think I can control you, he isn’t going to bless our union.”
“Where were you tonight?” I asked. “Who did you hurt?”
“No one. I was…I was with Alessio, at the warehouse, like I told you. I didn’t hurt anyone.”
I could tell from his squirming that he wasn’t telling me the whole story. “Whose blood was that? You don’t look hurt.”
“It’s not mine. I just…I took care of one of the problems.”
“Took care of?” I flew to my feet. “What does that even mean? Did you kill someone tonight?”
He stood in turn, gripping my shoulders. “No! Jesus, Giada. No.”
Trust is the fourth book in the Mafiosa Princess series, and I must say, each book is better than the last one. There is no series “burnout” here. The author keeps upping the stakes with each new release.
The book is also aptly named because the plot centres around trust. Who to trust? Who is lying? Who knows the truth?
First, Giada has come a long way from the first novel. There is confidence to her that she calls on many times. Yet, trust does play a big part in this novel, because she lacks trust in Luca. It’s there each time she jumps to conclusions and she ends up fighting with him. I do believe this comes from his lifestyle. And that is going to be the one thing that will either make or break them, because the duo has fought hard to be together.
As for Luca, we get to see how much he loves Gia, but also what being in the Family does to him. I enjoyed the look deep into the mafia where the author takes us for this time. We see him not bat an eye when anyone else’s conscience would be tested.
Then there is Adrian who is still convinced Luca isn’t all he says he is. It leaves the reader wondering if Luca is what we’re seeing, or is there something Adrian knows that we don’t? I must say, I really love this bit of mystery.
Gia and Luca’s relationship has grown leaps and bounds. The families are finally connecting, but as a reader, you know something is going to happen that will make this too good to be true, and it does happen. What a cliff-hanger.
As always, the writing is wonderful. I really enjoy how the author uses show when we need to see something, and then uses tell to not weigh the novel down in too much detail. Yet, she also paints a wonderful setting with minimal description. She does it through the main characters, because I was at each place that Gia, Luca, and Adrian took me.
The dialogue is strong, so true to character for each person. You are there, watching all of this unfold as people argue, talk, flirt, or threaten.
I also enjoyed Gia and Adrian’s showdown and why she feels she can’t be with him. But to grow as an adult, Gia is going to have to face what Adrian keeps stressing to her, whether she likes it or not. Right now, she has her head buried in the sand, playing that all will be well, when she knows deep in her heart it won’t be, yet she uses the excuse of not being “perfect” like Adrian. Adrian isn’t perfect. He is a man maturing and has morals. This is what he’s trying to stress to Gia.
I must say, I am very much looking forward to the next book. This is so much more than a mafia romance. It’s a deep look into a person’s conscience and whether they can live with themselves when what they want comes with a price, or if they will find the courage to do what they know deep in their heart is the best decision. Do yourself a favour and buy a copy. Better yet, read the whole series. You won’t be disappointed.
Liza Malloy writes contemporary romance, women’s fiction, new adult romance, and fantasy. She’s a sucker for alpha males, bad boys, dimples, and muscles, and she can’t resist a man in uniform. Liza loves creating worlds where her heroine discovers her own strength and finds her Happily Ever After. When Liza isn’t reading or writing torrid love stories, she’s a practicing attorney. Her other passions include gummy bears, jelly beans, and the occasional marathon. She lives in the Midwest with her four daughters and her own Prince Charming. Her books are available in both paperback and ebook, and can be found on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and more!
Visit her website at www.LizaMalloy.com
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