The Innamorati was written as a passionate exercise: I wanted to create a novel full of food, sex, magic, and the brilliance of the Commedia dell'arte in 16th century Italy. I wasn't sure when I left for Milan in 1994 what exactly I was writing -- but a year of living there, traveling throughout the north (especially Venice during Carnevale), then down the coast to Rome (with stops to small and magical towns along the way that all had mazes of one kind or another, layers of ancient Etruscan civility, Roman grandeur, and Italian folk cultures) left me with enough visual nutrition, stories, and experiences to last a lifetime.
And food, food, food. After I had been living Italy a while, I read a murder mystery set in the same time period and location as my own novel -- yet it became quickly clear to me that the author had never visited the location (placing a Cathedral in a town I knew didn't have one) -- but most grievous of all, 100 pages into the book and none of the characters had stopped to eat. When I mentioned this to an Italian friend she looked horrified. "Not even pasta?" she exclaimed and shook her head.
Terri Windling kept a lot of the letters I wrote about the process of writing the book and put them together as an article on the Endicott Studio. You can find them here, if you are interested.
I was very thrilled when the novel won the Mythopoeic Award in 2001 for Best Novel of the Year, and I am still grateful every time I see my lion-shaped award sitting on the shelf. You can read my acceptance speech here.
The Innamorati was translated into French (Les Innamorati) by Edition Rivages and Gallimard in two really pretty editions of the book.