Monaco Insider Anna Shilling reveals all about her debut novel, All in Monte Carlo, to The London Resident

Can you give us the plotline in a nutshell?

It’s about four Monaco women who share their tales of betrayal and then set up a book club as a cover while they settle one another’s scores. Unsurprisingly, the revenge plot doesn’t go to plan.

What four words would you use to describe All in Monte Carlo?

Funny, authentic, outrageous, escapist.

Were events in the novel inspired by true stories?

Yes: the plotline is inspired by true events. Everything is authentic down to the tiniest anecdotes. In Monte Carlo, truth is far more outrageous than fiction.

Are the characters based on real people?

The characters are entirely fictional. Each character has been pieced together meticulously from myriad sources within the principality. The eccentricities of some characters feel so embedded within the unique ecosystem of Monaco that it’s hard to imagine them living in another capital city. While the characters have been fictionalised, Monte Carlo itself has been described in tangible detail. The hotels, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, and casinos mentioned in the novel all exist.

Can you tell us about your pen name Anna Shilling?

Anna Shilling is the collective pen name for four Monaco expats: a magazine editor, a businesswoman, an aristocrat, and a private banker. We formed a book club and shared funny, shocking tales together about life in the principality. The magazine editor wove a fictional plot from our tales into this novel.

Why did you want to write this novel?

We wanted to give readers an armchair, rollercoaster ride into the scandalous world of Monte Carlo. The novel lifts the lid on the imperfect lives of immaculate residents within this miniature principality: one of the most secretive and expensive places in the world.

Did any novel inspire you while writing All in Monte Carlo?

As French literature geeks, we were inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo: a 19th-century soap opera filled with over-the-top melodrama, badass characters, and the ultimate revenge plot. The revenge premise for All in Monte Carlo was inspired in a tongue-in-cheek way by Dumas’ words: ‘He who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught’. As well as references (some obvious, some hidden), there are parallels to The Count of Monte Cristo in the themes of disguise, jealousy, greed and, of course, revenge.

Tell us more about your writing process.

The four of us behind the Anna Shilling pseudonym came together during the COVID-19 lockdown. Our collaboration is a tale of friendship, teamwork, exorcising personal demons, learning and laughter. You could write a book about the writing of the novel.  

Where does the title come from?

All in is a gambling term that means: ‘betting your entire stack on a single hand’. The novel’s plot revolves around four women taking a life-threatening gamble with their collective revenge. Gambling is central to Monte Carlo: the world-renowned Monte Carlo Casino dominates the principality’s central square.  

Tell us more about your cover design.

We were lucky enough to have our cover designed by Patrick Knowles.  He’s best known for his cover designs for Julian Fellowes and Anthony Horowitz, as well as for Prince William and Kate's wedding calligraphy. While his front-cover design needs little explanation, the four mysterious casino chips on his back-cover design are intended to invite speculation.

The story ends on a cliffhanger. Are you intending a sequel?

Yes. There are many other tales about Monte Carlo just waiting to be shared.

Click on the links below to pre-order your copy of All in Monte Carlo from: