From Manchester to Murano - The double life of Marina Fiorato

PUBLISHED: 08:35 05 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:47 20 February 2013

Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato

The Manchester born author of Blowers of Murano and the Botticelli Secret on her life in writing and her love for the North West

When Lynne Pollitt at Hale bookshop told us that Marina Fiorato was one of her favourite writers, we couldnt resist tracking her down.

After all, not only is she the impossibly glamorous writer of best-selling
The Glass Blowers of Murano and the Botticelli Secret but she was also
born in Manchester.

I spent my childhood there," she says in the gently lilting northern tones she acquired when growing up in the city and later the Yorkshire Dales.

All through the 1980s, Id come to Manchester for shopping. The Arndale
Centre and St Anns Square I remember were favourite places - oh!

And Kendals (now House of Fraser) on Deansgate was the big one. I used to absolutely love the toy floor. It was always my big dream to go up there.

Manchester was a great place and of course, I have been back since and it has changed but it is still an exciting city for me.

Indeed she admits that one day shed love to write a novel based around the canals of Manchester, rather than those of Venice, for which she is now famed.

But I dont know whether that would be accepted by my readers, she

Once you write in a certain way, you are fulfilling the expectations of your
readers. Still it would be lovely to explore the possibility

The Glassblower of Murano, her first book sold first in Germany, then was
picked up in the UK and is now a big seller in the US.

Fiorato is a glass blowing name, she says.

Its the one who makes the flowers in Italian glassmaking, something
which I wasnt aware of before I stated writing the book, so it felt like Id
tapped into something in my personal history and made a connection in
some way I only found that out through my research.

Before starting the book shed only ever tried writing a dreadful play while she was at University, however, she had the idea and thought it
would make a good short story.

It just kept growing and eventually turned into her first novel, which she gave her husband; film director Sasha Bennett to read. An author friend introduced her to three agents and one of them took her up.

Of course, the book found itself on more than one rejection pile before it sold in Germany and was eventually taken up by UK publisher Beautiful Books.

Shes now penned three novels, including The Madonna of the Almonds and the latest, The Botticelli Secret, which is a kind of Dan brown-esque
tale where readers follow clues to unlock the mystery.

Shes also working on a screenplay set in Venice for the same company
responsible for Lord of the Rings, the Golden Compass and Dangerous
Liaisons, which she says is also a thriller.

Its going to be a very different discipline and it is also a new challenge, she says.

But its nice to expand and do something else.

Of course, her husband Sasha is a film director and it turns out shes no
stranger to the movie industry as they actually both met on set 13 years ago.

He was assistant director and I was an extra on a film called The Man Who Knew Too little which starred Bill Murray. It was at Elstree studios. We
just met and started chatting about all the films that had bee made there, she explains.

Star Wars which is one our favourite films was made there so we talked
about that and thats how we got together. Weve been married now for
ten years and have two children, seven-year-old Conrad and Ruby, aged

Home life now is split between north London and Italy, though she still has a special place in her heart for the north of England.

My parents met in Italy so it has been a special place in my life, after
all thats here it all started, she says admitting that she does still come up to the north west on her book tours, where she loves meeting her readers.

I am definitely planning to come up to Manchester in the future, she adds.

Because my books have an Italian flavour I have been doing readings in restaurants, and Ive heard there are some great Italian restaurants in
Manchester and Cheshire, so maybe Ill do something like that in the future.

Visit to find out more about Marinas novels.

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