Fiona Valpy, author of 'The Cypress Maze' - Historical fiction author chats mixing fact with fiction, challenging yourself, and looking through the compost bin

Fiona Valpy is a historical fiction author who has sold millions of books, her work has been translated into more than 30 languages, and she's always up for a challenge.

Her new novel, 'The Cypress Maze', is inspired by the true story of Iris Origo. An English-born woman in Italy, she sheltered refugee children and helped prisoners of war escape during World War II. It's a dual timeline novel, set across 1943 and 2015. We chat about the extensive research that goes into historical fiction, how she keeps track of it all, and why that's led to a filing system overhaul.

Fiona writes for different publishers, doing different things, and we chat about the added pressure that heaps on her writing, and why she's always peering into her compost bin to see which ideas are ready to go.

You can hear how she balances fictional plot with factual history, and how much her visual style utterly absorbs her while she's writing.

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