Bookmark and Share

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meet Guest Author Jo Linsdell-Feliciani

Today I want to welcome guest author, Jo Linsdell-Feliciani. I know that I said that she would be on last Thursday and then again this Thursday, but it's kind of difficult to work out times when you are an ocean and a continent away from someone. Yes, there is the internet, but somehow between time differences and her schedule we didn't quite connect. However, she is here today and I know you are going to enjoy learning about her and her books.

Jo is a freelance writer who though English by birth, is living in Rome, Italy with her husband and young son. She is the author of two books: Italian for Tourists and A Guide to Weddings in Italy. She also runs a very informative blog for writers called Writers and Authors, another one: As the Romans Do, and the very new 1st Time Mums. Jo also has several ebooks you can find here: Jo Linsdell's Storefront. She became the editor of Robins Falls Magazine since 2009. In addition she was listed on The Literary World as part of their Who's Who in the Literary Society in April, 2009.

I am delighted to present Jo Linsdell-Feliciani my guest author for this week.

1. What made you decide to move to Italy?

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.

If I think about it, I’ve always loved writing. Even when I was very young I’d always be making up stories to tell my friends or writing them out and crafting little books. I’d staple the pages together and even design cover art for them. It was one of my favourite games. I only started to take my writing seriously in 2005. I’d had various jobs working on publications and writing research articles, when a new English language newspaper was launched in Florence. I sent off an article just to give it a try and they printed it straight away. That was when I realised I could do it and started considering myself a proper writer.

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, 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.

The phrasebook is divided into 17 chapters including; Emergency, The basics, Common expressions, Learning Italian, Greetings and introducing yourself, Transport, Hotel, Sightseeing, Asking and giving directions, Food and drink, Health, Shopping, Offices and bureaucracy and Signs and notices and more.

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.

This summer I’ve done some article writing with notepad and pen whilst sat beside the paddling pool in the garden.

I’ve learned to break down my tasks into bite size pieces. It’s easier to get 5 minutes to work on writing than a longer stretch of time.

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 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.

I have a fan page on Facebook for ‘Italian for Tourists’ and video book trailers posted to various websites.I have a media kit that I send out by email and also have it available as a download from my website I sometimes write articles for websites and other printed publications and always include a byline that mentions my website so people can find out more about me and my books. When I can, I also do virtual tours and individual author interviews for other people’s sites and internet radio shows.

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.

I'm hoping to find one for Twice through once it's finished. The other romance is a long way off from seeing a publisher for now. I'll be happy if I manage to get the first draft finished this year. I'm going to start looking for a publisher for the social media book soon.

Thank you, Jo for being my guest author this week. I am so glad you took time from your busy schedule to visit us.

Please leave a comment or question for Jo. All people who comment will get a chance to win a free book. At this time I don't know which one she is giving away.


  1. Hi Jo,
    I can't imagine living in another country and writing books. I'm wondering if you find it difficult to get the books out in the US. Yes, networking, blogging spots and the net is worldwide, but what about the selling aspect?

  2. Thanks for having me here today Barbara. This was a fun interview to do.

  3. Lovely interview, ladies!

    The books sound like they would be wonderfully helpful to anyone visiting Italy (or getting married there ;o)

  4. Hi Lorrie,

    Thank you for visiting. Jo will answer your question soon. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect. Also, all my comments are moderated by necessity. So your comment was published when I found it.

    You are in the drawing for a free book!

  5. Beth!!
    Thank you!! So glad to see you here. Jo is so easy to interview, so I had a lot of fun too:)

    You are also in the drawing!

  6. Lucky you to live in Italy, Jo! As an Italian, I'm envious! I thoroughly enjoyed your interview, and you certainly found a great niche for which to produce a book. I'd like to get a copy myself for the trip I hope to take to Italy in the near future.

    Carol J. Amato

  7. Carol,
    You could win your own copy from this comment. You are in the drawing for the free book. Jo should be back to answer you soon. Thank you for visiting.

  8. Thank you all for your comments.

    Lorrie- My book is published with lulu and they have printers in the US as well as in Europe. The book gets sent from the one nearest your location.
    My books are available from various places online including amazon and so are visible to an international audience.
    Obviously the fact that my book is aimed at English speakers coming to Italy, means most of my sales are from people buying before they come here. Although my book is on sale in bookstores here in Rome I'm limited in the amount of in-person promoting I can do to increase sales. Luckily for me the internet opens up a lot of opportunities. I'm also addicted to social media and love finding new ways to market my writing. For me it's all part of the fun.

    Beth, Carol- Thank you for your comments.

  9. Wonderful interview ladies. Jo, you offer aspiring authors some great advice, especially about juggling motherhood and your writing. Keep up the great work!


  10. Alberto- Thank you for letting me know about the contest. I'm going to try to get something written to send in.

    Cheryl- Thanks for your kind words. Being a fulltime mum and a writer is not an easy task. It's important to grab time when you can, even if it's just 5 minutes here and there.

  11. Hi Cheryl,
    So happy you stopped by. Thank you for the kind words. Jo is stopping by when she can.:) You are in the drawing for a free book:)

  12. Barbara, super interview. I had the great pleasure of reviewing Jo's Italian for Tourists and loved it. I'm eager for the opportunity to visit Italy and try out all the incredibly useful phrases in the book.

  13. Jo, I did a review of Italian for Tourists way back when it was just coming out, and it's a great book. My daughter is going to Italy for 3 weeks in August and I told her she has to bring your book with her.

    Wonderful interview, Barbara.

  14. Hi madcapmaggie!
    Thanks for visiting and how wonderful to have read Jo's book. I am waiting for a copy myself and will definitely review it here as soon as I can.:)

    Thank you for the praise.:) I really enjoyed interviewing Jo. She has a great outlook on life and a great deal of energy. How could I go wrong?:)

  15. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for visiting. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview.

    You and madcapmaggie are now part of the drawing for the free book.:)

  16. Hi Jo! Wonderful interview. Thanks Barbara.

  17. Joylene,

    Thank you for visiting. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview and you're welcome. I love to bring the ideas of my guest authors to my readers.:) Also now you are entered in the drawing for a free book.

  18. Thank you to everyone for dropping by.

    Karen, hope your daugther has a great trip to Italy.

  19. As you know one lucky person wins a copy of my book in a prize draw for having commented on this interview. I put all your names in a bowl and had my two year old pick out the winner...

    And the winner is....Cheryl. Congratulations you've won a copy of Italian for Tourists: Pocket Edition. Please send me your address and I'll get it off in the post.

    Thanks again Barbara for having me here on your blog.

  20. Congratulations to Cheryl and thank you Jo for doing the drawing. This is a first for the blog and you were an excellent guest author here.

    Thank you for being my guest author and I hope that you will come back again when you have something new in your life.:)

  21. happy new year,Thank you!! So glad to see you here. Jo is so easy to interview, so I had a lot of fun too:)

    You are also in the drawing!my blog

  22. zahid,
    I was surprised to see you had visited this older blog, though it was a good one!! Jo is amazing and I hope to have her back soon.:)

    Happy New Year to you too! Hope yours is Happy, Healthy and Prosperous!!

  23. Chair / reborndolls

    Thank you, So glad to see you here. Jo is so easy to interview, so I had a lot of fun too. thanks.......!


Visit the Home of the Fightin’ Bookworms!
Visit the National Gallery of Writing
Shop Indie Bookstores



Discover Writing