Mandi Benet on Her Love in the City Series

I’m thrilled to host romance writer Mandi Benet. After reading her explanation of what inspired her to write her series Love in the City, along with the blurb for her newly published To Rome With Love, you’ll want to go out and buy this book! Read on to find out more about Mandi’s journey to publication.

What inspired you to write this story?

Love can bloom anywhere, of course, and I adore small town love stories, but I tend to like romances the way the movies do them, with a love triangle: Her, Him, A city. Cities can be characters all on their own with a flavor and essence unique to them and truly can enrich a story. As to why I chose Rome for the setting of the first book in my series, “Love in the City,” quite simply, how could Rome and romance not go together? Also, it’s my favorite city in the world, a teeming, gorgeous confusion of ancient and modern replete with all the tales of human existence, connected in time and place to the stories and history of the past. Couples with a penchant for lip-locked selfies have a multitude of worthy backdrops in Rome—its epic monuments, baroque churches, breathtaking vistas, thousand-year-old fountains, multi-hued sunsets behind the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, and charming trattorias. Few things, I think, can stoke the romantic fires as much as holding hands across a candlelit dinner table in the remains of an ancient stadium, boating on the lake at Villa Borghese, sitting on the Spanish Steps watching all the kissing couples, and an evening stroll over the Tiber on Ponte Sant’Angelo where you will meet up with Bernini’s famous angels.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I wrote a good chunk of it over a couple of months but then got waylaid writing a historical novel centered around Mary Queen of Scots. I came back to this book and after more research, finished it over two or so months. I spent some time polishing it and then a line editor went over it, which took a while. Two drafts later I was ready to submit to agents and publishers.

Was this the first book you had written?  

 No, I’d written a couple of literary novels and a women’s fiction book, published in 2013, The Blasphemy Box.

How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

This is an ongoing struggle that I don’t think anything will ameliorate. If I had nothing else to do in the world than write, I could turn out way more books. But life always intervenes so I try to marry all my obligations the best I can!

What kept you going through the process?

Someone once said to me that everything can be achieved with patience and persistence. So that is my mantra.

How many submissions did you send out?

Many, many, many!

What happened between hearing your yes and getting the book to print?

The book went through the editing process, which meant reading each revised galley all the way through until my eyes rolled back in their sockets in protest and I never wanted to hear about Gaby or Silvio again!

What has surprised you most about this process?

 What most surprised me is that things never go the way you think they will and how interesting and exciting a learning process that has proved to be. I’ve always said you are where you’re meant to be, and that you should grow where you’re planted.

What would you change if you could?

 Nothing. As long as I’m learning, I’m fine.


TO ROME WITH LOVE_200x300.jpg - hi res

When Gaby Conte’s Italian husband, Danieli, abandons her for a young Peruvian waitress at a restaurant they co-own in San Francisco, Gaby seeks refuge in Rome with her best friend Maria. There, she swears off romance for a long while and Italian men forever.

That’s until she meets Silvio, who belongs to an old, aristocratic Roman family and lives in a palace alongside the best private art collection in Rome. Silvio, who is the cousin of Maria’s husband, is going through his own divorce. He’s gorgeous, of course, which Gaby doesn’t tell him. And arrogant and condescending, which she does.

The last thing Gaby needs is more Italian trouble, but the attraction is instant and powerful, and against the backdrop of one of the world’s most romantic cities, both try—and fail—to resist the chemistry between them. But both Gaby and Silvio have made a rule never to make the mistake of trusting in love again. Will they realize some rules are made just to be broken?


me 3


Mandi Benet grew up in England and published her first piece of fiction when she was twelve. She has been scribbling away ever since as an award-winning journalist— covering everything from the Democratic Convention to the Oscars for major American national newspapers and magazines — and as an author, writing women’s fiction and contemporary romance with rich, original characters. Mandi is a member of RWA National and the San Francisco branch of RWA.


To Rome With Love |




13 thoughts on “Mandi Benet on Her Love in the City Series

  1. Bought it and can’t wait to read To Rome with Love! As Mandi says, who can resist the draw of Rome, ancient, art-filled, architecturally enthralling, and teeming with La Doce Vita; the perfect backdrop for amore, Italian style?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kimberly:
      Tks so much for getting in touch! The next one is the series set in London! The two after that take place in two American cities. But yes, Rome is almost impossible to top!
      Lovely to connect with you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mandi, for answering all my questions! I really enjoyed hearing about your series, and I loved your description of the city as a third character. It makes me think of those great Nora Ephron movies where NYC is its own character. Or Nancy Meyers’ Holiday, where LA and England (the Cotswalds, if I’m remembering correctly) are almost characters in the two love stories.


      • Yes, I just love a book where the location absolutely infuses the story. It’s a much more experiential read and a deeper way
        of connecting with the reader, I think.
        Thomas Hardy, one of my top three favorite writers, and a Victorian Realist influenced by Romanticism, wrote love stories enriched with a nostalgic evocation of a vanished rural world (southwestern England in the late 18th and 19th century) that were intensely of their place. Though not set in large cities, the particularly regionalized landscapes he created served in their stead as places where the often tragic type of love stories he wrote are believable and still appealing.

        Liked by 1 person

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