Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Interview with author Olga Vannucci

Olga Vannucci is here today to chat with us about her book, Travels With George: A Memoir Through the Italy of My Childhood which combines travel, Italy, and family.

Olga Vannucci was born in Italy, lived in Brazil, and came to the United States to attend Brown University. She lives in rural New Jersey with her beloved son, George.

Welcome, Olga. Please tell us about your book.
I was born in Italy and came to the U.S. for college, and I’ve lived here ever since. When my son was seven years old, I realized that I hadn’t been back to Italy in ten years, and I went, and took him along. Then I went four more times, and I wrote a book about those trips, a mix of travelogue, personal history, and little anecdotes.

What inspired you to write this book?
What possessed me? I am a very shy and private person, and I have no idea what possessed me! I think I felt that what I had to say was a little bit different in that I’m both an Italian native and a tourist. What I find interesting is that my friends who have read the book say it sounds just like me. It’s written in the present tense, so it feels like you are along and I’m talking to you.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on two new projects. I’m working on a book of travels with my son in the U.S. America is so varied, there’s so much to see and do. The other project is around cooking with my mother. She is a fantastic cook, and I can’t boil an egg. I am building a book around her recipes, and around her and me. I think it will be really cool.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m still getting used to considering myself a writer because this is my first book! What brings it home for me is hearing from others about the things that spoke to them in the book, and they range from the more profound to the totally mundane. 

Women will focus on the mothering aspects of the book, dealing with my son. Men enjoy my description of how Italians give directions: they start from a place you’ve never heard of, proceed vaguely, and stop well before your destination. Apparently that’s happened to others… They can relate, and I love when people tell me they can relate to something I wrote about, and I feel like a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a full-time job that involves numbers rather than words. I’m divorced and I write on Sunday afternoons when my son is with his father. I have carved out that time. Having said that, I go through phases: sometimes I write manically and sometimes I set the writing aside for a while until I’m excited go back to it. It seems to work as a method, at least for me.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I use commas when I should be using periods! I know, it’s shocking… I do that sometimes when I’m stringing short sentences together one after the other. It seems to me to mimic the way someone talks when telling about something that happened, as in, “We went there, we did this, that happened, it was great.”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A hairdresser. Though I know now I could never handle the small talk that’s required.

Anything else you'd like to share with the readers?
The book is available on Amazon, both printed and Kindle versions, at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=olga+vannucci+travels.

Thanks, Olga. I'm happy to meet you and glad to have you join the blog.

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