Here are the questions I had for Ms. Graziani! (It was placed in the queue, but it didn’t post as scheduled for some reason.) I apologize to everyone for the delay. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us!
Hello, Ms. E. Graziani! We at 2Guys1Book have had the pleasure of being able to talk to you and read one your fantastic books titled Alice of the Rocks; but for those who haven’t been so lucky, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi guys! First off, thanks so much for featuring me on your first author post – what an honor! In terms of telling you about me, I have a hubbie and four beautiful daughters. I love to travel, especially to Britain and Italy, I like classical music, ‘70’s classic bands like Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin and I could eat pizza and drink Chianti 24/7. I guess it’s important to mention that I have five published novels, so far – Oh yes, and I have a wonderful Italian agent, who is very supportive.
Cliche question alert that I still find interesting: Have you always wanted to be a writer or did inspiration for your first book just hit you out of the blue?
It kind of just hit me. The kernel of an idea for Alice (my first novel) began forming in my mind and three years later, I had finished the manuscript. The other manuscripts took a lot less time.
Do you have a pre-writing ritual or a precise “writing atmosphere”? (examples: you have to have a candle lit near to set “the mood” per se. or you have a specific area in your house or specific time. do you have to home alone to concentrate, etc etc… this little part in parenthesis won’t be posted lol)
I do my best writing late at night – not sure why that is, but early on when I began, I’d get the kids to bed and all was quiet, and it was just the perfect time.
Do you let ideas, characters, plots, etc bounce around in your head and imagination for a while before conceptualizing them on paper or do you have to get them out on paper as soon as possible?
It depends. Sometimes the character’s voice is so clear in my mind that it’s just a matter of scribing the dialogue that’s going on in my head – other times it’s a painful process fraught with self-doubt and furious editing.
Do you think a good writer has to have patience to produce a quality piece of work?
I think I would call it discipline and focus and writing for the love of writing – and yeah, maybe patience too…, it takes a lot of patience to spend basically 10 000 hours writing something that may go nowhere.
What book are you reading at the moment, if any? Are you enjoying it?
I’m too busy writing another one. I read in between books.
Out of the books you have published, do you have a favorite book? A favorite character?
I love them all equally but for different reasons – they are like my kids, I can’t pick just one!
Do you write a little every day or do you write in sporadic bursts of creativity?
When I can, I like to write every day. My usual daily ideal word count is one thousand words a day. Sometimes, if I’m not feeling particularly inspired, I may take a couple of days off, but after that, I’ll still force myself to sit down and write. It may not be the best writing, but some writing is better than none – you can always edit what you get down on paper, but you can’t edit a blank page.
Do you let anyone read your rough drafts?
I’m mortified to let family read my rough work. I feel like they are the ones I want to please the most, yet they are literally the most complimentary. I even get nervous when they read my published stuff because I feel like my soul is out there…, strangers, editors, agents, publishers, I have no problem with.
Would you allow for a movie adaptation of a book of yours? (If yes, what book? and what would you look forward to seeing most?)
Um, because that’s only what every author dreams of – YES! I’d love Alice Part I & II to be made into feature films. I think they would be incredible to look at, the plot is intriguing and would make a great adventure/time travel/romance/historical/near future film. Plus, Alice is spunky and is a strong female MC.
Alice of the Rocks: Part I has a very unique plot. Time traveling historical fiction simultaneously combined with futuristic romance makes your book hard to pin down into one genre. Was there specific inspiration for this book?
I just wrote about what most interested me – sci fi, time travel, Renaissance Florence and lovers struggling with societal restrictions. Also, I wanted a strong, resourceful female character for my daughters to emulate.
The modern day setting of Alice of the Rocks Pt I mostly takes place in Italy. Alice did a good bit of traveling around Italy! Is Italy a country you have visited often?
Italy is my second home – I love it, it’s history, art, culture, and people. And of course, food!
The historical setting of Alice of the Rocks Pt I takes place in 1512’s version of Italy. Was Italian history a topic you already knew about before writing or did you have to do research? (If you had to do research, how much did you do/for how long?)
I studied history in University (it was my major, with an emphasis on Renaissance history), but nonetheless I did a ton of research, on the timeline, da Vinci, the Medici, and specifically the courtiers’ way of life. Plus, the science behind the sci fi is also important. Giving some background and grounding in science to the time travel plot was important to me. I didn’t want Alice to just walk into a field or something and ending up 500 years in the past. That’s to me is just – lazy.
How do you think Claudio adjusted to suddenly being thrust from life in 1512 to life in 2029?
I think that his keen interest in learning and open mindedness helped. He was also highly motivated by his intention to travel to the future in the first place, to find Alice. Plus, he had a great helper – Luca, and his adoptive aunt and uncle.
Was there a scene left out of the final draft that readers would find interesting?
There is a chase scene near the end of Alice~Angel of Time, Part II, that the editors wanted deleted. I loved it, but they said it would make the book too long, so we cut it out.
Are there any characters or character traits in any of your books that you [despise or dislike], but are essential to maintain to create a believable character?
I have characters in all my books that are unlikable – they are the antagonist to the heroes in my books, but if I had to pick one, I really dislike Bruno, in Alice of the Rocks and Alice~Angel of Time – he is soooo nasty, but I had to create tension for Alice and Elisa in the series and balance out Claudio’s noble, caring, loving character.
Is there a quote you have written in any of your books that stuck with you? (Like… damn! I wrote that line and it’s an amazing line)
It’s really hard to just pick one line. My latest novel, ‘Breaking Faith’, has many good lines that echo the MC’s fear, loneliness, resilience, and heartache. She is recovering from a heroin addiction and is back home with her family. This paragraph is from the beginning of the book, when she’s ready to share her story with us.
In my quieter moments of mapping my escape from rock-bottom and dreaming of feeling good about myself, finding the courage and will to talk to someone about the Darkness and my pain is what pulled me off of my own personal ledge. I still need to talk and talk and talk about everything and share my pain, and my talking helps others, and others talk and talk to me and give me their pain, and everything is shared and passed around, and when that happens and other people are carrying some of it for you, the toxic load in your core is lighter.
Call it distraction, call it focus, call it a load of crap, but that worked for me.
And now, as I take strides to maybe someday make the world a better place for me, I realize that no human being, no matter how tattered physically and emotionally, how weary of mind and shattered in soul, is unworthy of our consideration.
In my heart, at times when the pendulum swings low, I’m still out there, shivering right along with them. And I keep writing—this is my ending and my beginning.
Any concluding thoughts?
Thank you for asking me to feature on your blog. I feel like by answering all these questions, I got to know myself all over again. One more thing – all an author wants is for her/his books to be loved, for her/his characters to be appreciated and for her/his voice to be heard. If you like my books, pass it on – there is nothing that will make an author more successful than a word of mouth endorsement from a happy reader.
Thanks, and for anyone who has any other questions, I’m as close as the Contact page on my website!