Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Ever since I was a toddler sitting on my mother’s lap while she read stories to me, I developed a fascination with words, delighted by the turn of phrase in the English fairy tale, “Teeny Tiny”: “Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village. Now, one day, this teeny-tiny woman put on her teeny-tiny bonnet, and went out of her teeny-tiny house to take a teeny-tiny walk …”
My stay-at-home mom, a graduate of Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School, taught me to become a proficient typist by the age of nine. At the age of twelve, I pounded chapter stories in the genres of mystery and espionage, replete with dialogue, on my girly-pink Tom Thumb typewriter.
In high school, I wrote a romance novella which earned its place on a library shelf. The rigors of college, and the demands placed on a rewarding teaching career, shelved further creative writing ambitions until I retired from the profession.
With time on my hands, midlife restlessness revived my dormant flair for writing and I composed my debut Women’s Fiction novel, Underlying Notes (First Printing – 2007; Second Printing – 2009; currently available as a Kindle Edition at Amazon): Carla Matteo copes with life by "taking to the bottle"–glass goddesses funneling perfume!
An 8 – 9 yr. gap before the emergence of my second novel, I had focused on marketing and promoting the first, while copiously writing a collection of Memoirs, Retro 60s Flashbacks, and Rhode Read essays pertaining to my native state of Rhode Island. In between, I dabbled in writing the second, at times abandoning it due to life’s hairpin turns. My characters wouldn’t let me quit!
The result: An Enlightening Quiche rose to the occasion in September, 2016.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Ta da! The aforementioned 'An Enlightening Quiche' is my latest book and hobbyhorse.
Taking place in northern Rhode Island’s fictitious, French-Canadian mill town of Beauchemins two headstrong women in their forties coming from different moral directions clash. Alternating first-person narratives from the town siren and historian-in-residence relate how an heirloom quiche recipe redresses erroneous assumptions, misdeeds, unleashed secrets, and malicious intent—all of which wreak havoc, altering the lives of those affected from the fallout of a tragedy.
My inspiration for this novel in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction is rooted in the beloved village of Manville, Rhode Island where I began my teaching career at Northern Lincoln Elementary. Rich in history for housing the Manville Mill powered by the Blackstone River, it was the largest textile mill in the country with over 5,000 employees in the 1950s. Massive flooding caused by Hurricane Diane in 1955, and a devastating fire two weeks later, contributed to the mill’s demise.
I reference this in my novel as well as fabricate my own history for Brulé Bookbinding Co., the fictitious bookbinding mill in my story.
I’m also inspired by Manville’s warmth which I attribute to the predominantly French-Canadians who immigrated to the area at the turn of the 20th century seeking gainful employment in the mill. I had the privilege of teaching their descendants who reflected time-honored values instilled in them by their forbears who were no strangers to hard work. Though the village embraced other ethnicities throughout the ensuing years leading up to my retirement 29 years later, I chose to preserve Manville’s original aura in my book through the fictitious locale of Beauchemins.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
While I’m rarely at a loss for words, bursts of brilliance for how to best articulate an idea or parlay snatches of dialog, overtake me when I’m away from the keyboard doing housework. I immediately turn off the vacuum or abandon my dust cloth to heed my inner voice by scribbling the message on a notebook kept on my desk for this purpose.
Another quirk of mine is to play music conducive for plying my mood to write a scene.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Before I seriously embarked on a writing career after retiring from teaching, a book was itching to be born. However, I erroneously thought it had to be action-packed with thrills until I’d read ‘Blue Shoe’ by Anne Lamott. She inspired me to write a book I would love to read that’s written honestly and has the capability of making the reader laugh and cry because they’re so invested in the characters who are flawed individuals caught up in life’s craziness.
What are you working on now?
Though colliding thoughts have bombarded me for novel no. 3–working title–'Aida's Fishing Season,' I am temporarily taming the beasts into submission while I market and promote my recently published novel.
Meanwhile, I regularly write shorts in the form of occasional Memoirs and weekly Blogs which I publish to my web page at Authors Den.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
While I can't say there is a best method, I do employ a variety of promotional venues from time to time. Primarily, I rely on Facebook for my social outreach.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be your own best advocate by taking pride in having published a literary work. Find a measure of joy in each milestone, be it a new book review or someone letting you know they acquired a copy of your book. Above all– forage for new promotional prospects on a daily basis : author interviews–featured in blogs, newsletters, and on-line magazines, radio segments. Leave no stone unturned in fostering a belief in your own potential to rise above the ashes of obscurity.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice emanates from the general consensus among indie authors: The true measure of an author’s success is the achievement of having published a literary work—not the number of book sales or royalties. And, also of importance—do not dwell on a negative review if and when you get one.
What are you reading now?
I'm currently betwixt and between reading 'Stained Glass,' a poetry collection by Joanne VanLeerdam and 'Bear,' a Horror novel by Van Allen.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I intend to pursue my vision of querying filmmakers to adapt my novel into a movie.
What is your favorite book of all time?
'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte.
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