Why Do You Write? I am the happiest when I am writing. It is a great creative and spiritual outlet. By doing it, I learn so much about myself and other people. I’ve tried to stop and I simply can’t. I have to do it.
Tell Us Something That Doesn’t Appear in Your Bio. I am a foodie and travel junkie. I’ve also lived in 6 different states in the U.S.A.
What Inspired You to Write this Book? Believe it or not, I was inspired in the library. By chance, I came across a news story in The New York Times about a hit-and-run accident in a remote Italian village in September, 1930. The Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, was the driver of the car and his passenger was the American millionaire, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. Mussolini’s car struck and killed a little girl and sped away from the scene. Mussolini tried to cover up the story, but it hit the news several months later and became an international scandal. The story was in the headlines for months.
What’s Your Personal Connection to This Story? I love Italy, and I drew on my memories of my Italian grandparents. A few years ago, we visited my grandfather’s village–Volturara Irpina–in the mountains south of Naples. It was very similar to the fictional town of Montebello in my novel. When we arrived in town on a Sunday morning, groups of men were strolling through the streets chatting and smoking. But we didn’t see any women. At noon, the church doors opened and all the women came out.
I also married into a Jewish family of political activists, so I am fascinated about people who take action against injustice despite the risks. This helped me create the character of Elio Sardolini in the novel.
Are Your Characters Drawn from Real Life? Some are strictly historical figures—like Benito Mussolini and William Randolph Hearst. Others are similar to people I know—like my father-in-law who marched with Martin Luther King. Still others are totally imaginary.
How Long Did It Take You to Write the Book? About 6 years.
What Do You Do When You’re Not Writing? I travel, take photographs, and keep a blog (www.PilotFishblog.com). I also love to cook and study languages. Right now, I’m learning Italian.
What Did You Enjoy Most About Writing this Book? Making several trips to Italy to gather ideas and information, and sampling as much pizza and regional cuisine as possible.
What Was an Unexpected Surprise When Writing This Book? Several minor characters literally “appeared” in the scene as I was writing. One of them is the surly café owner Mosca, who is always smoking even while making espresso and washing dishes. His cynicism about marriage, religion, and politics is refreshing. I was also surprised to learn that Benito Mussolini exiled political prisoners to remote parts of Italy. I incorporated that fact into the plot. That’s why my character, Elio Sardolini, is a Jewish anti-Fascist from Florence who is sent to Montebello as punishment for his political activities.
Do You Write From an Outline? No. I can’t. I start writing with a very clear idea of the beginning (the inciting incident) and I know the main characters very well. The rest of the plot is exploratory. I like to give the characters the freedom to take the story in unexpected and surprising directions. When the first draft is completed, then I go back and tighten up the plot.
Do You Have Any Advice For New Writers? Take time to learn your craft. Ask for advice from the experts and don’t let your ego get in the way of truly hearing what they have to say.
Should Writers Consider Indie Publishing? Definitely. The publishing model is changing and giving more control to the individual artist, who stands to gain a greater share of the royalties. The challenge, however, is to find your market. That takes time and effort.
What Projects Are You Working On Now? The sequel to the Incident at Montebello, which is set in Boston during the 1930’s and 1940’s.
About the Author
P.A. Moed is an award-winning creative artist who has worked as a university professor, writer, textbook editor, photographer, corporate trainer, educational consultant, and instructional designer. Her short stories, photography, poems, and essays have appeared in national newspapers, magazines, and online websites, such as the Christian Science Monitor, Catholic Online Travel, The Washington Post Travel Online, Travelblogs.com, and Cooking Light Magazine. Her historical mystery novel, The Incident at Montebello, has garnered praise from reviewers and readers alike. A recipient of writing fellowships at The Vermont Studio Center and Ragdale, she won the grand prize in 2006 Travel Writing Contest sponsored by Condé Nast and Gather.com. She currently lives in Michigan with her husband and hosts the blog http://www.pilotfishblog.com. Contact her at: email@example.com.
To Learn More About P.A. Moed and Her Work, Check Out the Sites Below:
Amazon Book page: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKW16CE
(Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions)
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/294711
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