What was the first book you remember reading?
The first book I remember reading was The Wizard of Oz. Actually, my mother read it to me and I learned to read from following along. I loved all the books in the series. I loved them so much they finally fell apart from over use. What a marvelous story the Wizard is: a travel adventure with all sorts of amazing characters – who can resist a scarecrow, tin man, and a lion all of whom get the fix they desire, and Dorothy who finds that there is no place like home
What genres do you read?
I read a lot of non-fiction, particularly history, as well as literary fiction, popular fiction including women’s contemporary, mysteries, and thrillers. I don’t seem to relate to erotica, science fiction or fantasy.
Who are your favorite authors today?
A recent non-fiction book is Hotel Florida by Amanda Vaill, about the Spanish Civil War was fascinating. All the Light We Cannot See, a novel set in World War II by Anthony Doerr is perfectly structured. Hemmingway’s For Whom the Bells Toll and A Farewell to Arms will always be favorites. I have recently enjoyed novels about women including Sarah Dunant’s Blood and Beauty, and the engrossing Hild by Nicola Griffin. And I can’t wait for the third book in Hillary Mantel’s evocation of the life and times of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII. Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies deserve every award there is.
What do you like in a story?
The novel has to have that magical combination of setting, character and plot to make me desperate to know what will happen next as the characters search for the answers to their quest. And the quest has to have a goal I care about – the spy for “our” side must deliver the important document; the woman must find her lost baby; the man must rescue the drifting lifeboat; the lovers must reconcile.
What do you like to write about?
Because I lived in Italy I like to write about the country, both on my travel blog as well as the memoir, Coins in the Fountain and a novel, City of Illusions. The marvels and complexity of history and culture make the country irresistible for me.
What are you currently working on?
Besides flash fiction and my travel blog (http://aLittleLightExercise.blogspot.com), I’m working on a second novel. It is partly set in Rome and partly in on an island near Seattle. It will have a murder!