I came for 3 days back in 2001 and just ended up staying. I’d been planning on traveling around Europe and had chosen Rome as a destination by closing my eyes and having my finger land on a map. Days turned into weeks and then months. Finally after about 6 months here I decided Rome was now my home and officially moved here.
2. How does it feel being a non-Italian living in Italy? What was it like for you when you first moved there?
After so long here I feel part Italian now or maybe it’s better to say less non-Italian. I speak mainly Italian and my life is fully integrated here now. A lot of people I meet think I am Italian at first.
In the past it wasn’t quite like it is now though. I’d struggle with the language and get frustrated by the cultural differences at times. If I’m honest, the first few months I was here I was basically a tourist on extended stay. I worked in a hostel as a receptionist and only spoke the little Italian needed to deal with the odd phone call or the cleaners. Most of the people that stayed there spoke English so I wasn’t under pressure to learn Italian.
It was only when I met my husband that I started to really learn the language. Love is a great motivator
I guess I stopped feeling like a tourist when I changed jobs and started working in an office on publications for the dental industry. I rented a room and started to have a normal life again. The changes I made during that time really helped me integrate into the Italian way of life.
3. It says in your bio that you took Business Studies, History and Art. When did you decide to start writing?
Yes, I took them as A-Levels in college. Before that I’d studied English language and literature in school and passed my GCSEs with the highest grade. I kept writing but it was more for venting my feeling than anything else. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger, especially in those years.
4.Please tell my readers what made you decide to write Italian for Tourists.
I came to Italy with the plan of staying for 3 days and figured I could get by for such a short stay using English. With this in mind I hadn’t prepared for the fact that Italians might not speak English. In fact a lot of them don’t or if they do it’s very limited. I felt rude not being able to thank or greet people in Italian, after all I was in Italy. If an Italian came to England not being able to speak English how far would he get? I got myself a phrasebook to help me but a lot of the information was irrelevant and it took ages to find what I needed. I decided to write the book I couldn’t find. A tourist doesn’t need to know everything about Italian grammar and the in’s and out’s of renting an apartment. They want to have an easy to use reference book of the language they will need to use and understand during their stay.Italian for Tourists actually started out as just an e-book but people started requesting a print version and so the book was born. I later revamped it and released the pocket edition. Again following requests from the public. Italian for Tourists has grown with me in my writing career and been a great learning curve.
5. Tell us a little about both of your books, Italian for Tourists and A Guide to Weddings in Italy.
Italian For Tourists: Pocket Edition, a phrasebook published through the online content marketplace Lulu.com, is a basic guide to the Italian language covering phrases and words most needed by tourists. It includes all the words and phrases a tourist is likely to need during their stay in Italy as well as a pronunciation guide and a map of Italy.
I wrote A Guide to Weddings in Italy after marrying my Italian husband in July 2006. When it comes to documents, of any kind, Italy is not the easiest of countries to have deal with as they have a very confusing bureaucratic system. It occurred to me that lots of people must go through the hassles I was going through to try to understand the system and organise my wedding, so I decided to write a guide that explained what you can and can’t do and how to go about it. I also included sections on additional related topics like Italian wedding traditions, proverbs, useful contact details etc…
6. What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you have a writing routine?
As a fulltime mum to a two year old I don’t have a typical writing day. I grab time when I can. I usually manage an hour or two if I’m lucky in the afternoon while he naps or watches cartoons.
7. Do you plan to write any fiction books? Why or why not?
I’m working on a few at the moment. I like to try new genres and experiment with my writing. I’ve recently written a children’s book called ‘Matteo goes to the zoo’ which I’m now working on illustrations for.
A romance called ‘Twice’ which I’m doing using the site www.textnovel.com This is the most fun to write. It’s about a girl who has a knack for finding Mr. Wrong. Can she find true love? Can she find it twice? Definitely in the chick-lit category. Text Novel is a great system to keep the action flowing. People can vote for your novel and leave comments on site too which also helps keep motivation high.
I’m also working on another romance. Very different in style to Twice though. This one has mystery and crimes to solve in addition to the love story.
8. What are you doing to market your books? Do you have any tips for authors for marketing their books?
I’m very active on numerous social media sites and guest blog for other people as well as managing three blogs of my own. I organize an annual online promotional event called PROMO DAY that takes place in May each year and participate as presenter in other online conferences for writers.
The best advice I can give other authors is to use their imagination and experiment with different ways of marketing. Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to step out of the box.
9. Do you have any other tips for beginning writers?
My top three would be:
1) Being a writer involves lots more than just writing. Learn as much as you can about the writing industry and publishing as possible. The more informed you are, the better. A bit of knowledge about marketing is also a good idea.
2) Don’t be afraid to try new genres and experiment with your writing. Just because you’re good at writing crime doesn’t mean you might not be good at writing children’s books too.
3) If you don’t believe in yourself you won’t get very far. Even when you have down moments. Remember just because one person rejects you doesn’t mean another won’t think you’re great.
10. Do you have any WIP’s? Are any of them accepted by a publisher?
I already answered this is the other question. None yet have a publisher. I'm going to start looking for one for the childrens book as soon as I have some illustrations to go with it.