Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I moved from The Netherlands to Italy in 2008, originally for what was supposed to become a 6 month study period at the University of Pavia for me and a sabbatical for Nico, my husband. But we had another, more or less secret plan: to find a beautiful house and start a bed & breakfast! What happened was that within two months we came across a perfect house, meeting all, I mean ALL, our requirements, located in a beautiful region on a panoramic position. At that point we had to decide: do we take this chance or not? If not, we might just as well forget about the whole idea of emigrating as we certainly would not find a better house than this one. Better sorry than safe, we said and jumped blindfoldedly into the dark. From the start we kept a blog about all our adventures (finding the house, buying it, reconstructing it, dealing with the real estate man, the builder, the notary et cetera). After having settled for a few years I decided to convert these stories into a book.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Living in Italy: the Real Deal, my debut travelogue memoir about our expat adventures. I was mainly inspired by Tim Parks' Italian Neighbours in which the same take on life in a foreign country is presented, with humor.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write only an hour or two per day in one go, about 1200 words. When I know what I am going to write about, composition comes easy for me.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Like I said Tim Parks' expat novels mostly.
What are you working on now?
Translation of my Dutch Alphabet of the Italian language with words you never learnt at your language course.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The description on Amazon itself I think.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Be prepared to spend a lot of time and money on promotion if you want to have some exposure!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Better clear than clever: forget about being original wrt the cover of your book. Make sure people understand the genre in one blink of the eye!
What are you reading now?
An Italian novel that just won the Premio Strega by the young writer Paolo Cognetti. I read a lot of short story collections as well.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Writing a short novel about funny things happening in a fictitious Italian village.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Probably still Mme Bovary although Stoner comes close.
Author Websites and Profiles
Stef Smulders Website
Stef Smulders’s Social Media Links