30 Jul 2014

Maria Grazia Swann: “Italian Summer”

5 Comments Book Reviews, News

ITS cross ebook 400x246“Italian Summer” by Maria Grazia Swan was somewhat of a surprise find for me and a very pleasant one at that. Mina Calvi is the protagonist of this gently understated detective series. Coming home to Italy after a decade of asence brings up a lot of conflicting emotions for our protagonist, whose life back in California was also not without its complications. 
I don’t know if it was the sunshine in my garden when I read it, my own background as ex-patriot or just the wonderful athmospheric writing style, but I was right inside the moment with the author.
Mina hooks up with Lola, a colourful character who tries to drag her along and into her life as drinking and gossip partner, but Mina is not convinced. 
Then an old flame returns to her life but Mina would not be Mina if she didn’t ask questions that lead to further questions and soon she has her new personal investigation at her hands.
An excellent blend of mood and charm, cross-cultural writing, fascinating characters and a good story line.
An excellent book that makes me want to buy the rest of series.

Interview with the author:
Hi Maria, thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author:  gemini a

What made you decide to be a writer? Have you always written?

I like to tell stories. I always did. As a school kid I would trade stories for chocolate. Writing the stories I once told seems like a natural evolution? Boy, evolution sure is a mouth full, but anyway, you get what I’m trying to say. I knew I had a knack for story telling because my professors enjoyed reading my essays out loud in class. And no, I didn’t cheat either 

As an ex-pats, do you prefer to write about places you have lived in the past or about your current home?

I don’t have a preference, it comes naturally. I may start out writing about the here, now and then my subconscious finds a way to bring memories into the mix. I think that’s part of what makes our voice so unique. And of course our readers take the journey with us.

How did you come up with the idea and the main character for the series? What came first, the idea for Mina or the first case?

Ahi, ahi…it’s not a pretty picture. I was taking creative writing at Saddleback College in Orange County, California. Evening classes. While I was in class, my now ex was running around with his mistress. Of course I didn’t know that at the time. I should have figured out something was up, I mean—he was so encouraging….

Fast forward, I caught up with the cheater and filed for divorce, but didn’t give up my classes. By now I had made a lot of new friends and started my first mystery, Love Thy Sister. The first murder victim was (in my mind) the real life mistress who had a penchant for red shoes. Mina is the real name of an iconic Italian popstar of the 60s who had a sad love life. I based some of the scenes and events on real life situations, I’m not going to say more, let bygones be bygones.   LTS small

This is unbelievable! Said pop star Mina was very popular in Germany and I love her. My positive association with the name were a vital part in me picking up the book! 
Anyway, back to the questions.
Did you have it all planned out before you wrote it or did the characters and story surprise you?

I don’t plan. I sit and let my characters be my guide. They never disappoint me. The ones that did didn’t live to tell.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Mina. For the longest time she was my refuge. I could have Mina do and say all the silly and outrageous things I no longer could get away with. Then came Diego, the Harley riding bad boy who is also a chef..sort of. He was supposed to be just a blink of the eye, but the women in my critique group all fell hard for him and I was stuck. I’ve been thanking the ladies ever since. Diego gets more fan mail than I do.

What would your main character say about you?

They all love me. They have no choice. I’m the creator, caretaker, organizer, teacher,

companion, lover and when necessary…executioner.

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?

That’s the easiest question yet. Diego. It’s not even a choice, it’s karma.

What is your writing environment like?  

Messy and quiet. Let me explain. I have an office. In my office I keep at least 2 of my can’t-live-with-out things: my computer and my sewing machine. I know, I know, it doesn’t make any sense. But wait, before I wrote books, I designed clothes for a living, and was good at it….made the magazines pages. So when I’m stuck with my writing I sew and  that frees my creativity and pretty soon I picture vivid scenes in my mind and then I can go back to writing. I crave absolute silence but I tend to drop whatever I’m doing right there where I’m standing and move on to a new project. That’s the messy part.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

Writing, regardless if it’s for fun or for profit, allows me to be transported away from reality. I forget my troubles, my pains. I credit writing for helping me maintain my sanity through out my divorce. But the…drum roll…comes editing. NOOOOOOO

What is your advice to new writers? 

Be consistent. Be yourself. Never surrender. Ask everyone’s advice, but follow your heart.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Weird. It’s the desert, but there isn’t any sand, no oasis and unfortunately…no mirages.

Nice. I never need to wear pantyhose. I hate pantyhose; I’m convinced a man invented it to get even with the woman who invented neckties. 

Arizona was the first state where a woman followed another woman as governor (they were from different parties). Arizona also has had the most female governors with a total of four, and is the first state to have three women in a row serve as governor. Not bad, heh?

What are you working on now? BB 400x238

I have book 2 of the Lella York series (contracted with Gemma Halliday Publishing) due out on July 28. And I’m currently working on Ashes of Autumn, book 4 of the Mina’s adventures series.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

I don’t know if my books are written according to general rules. When I sit down to write, it’s as if someone else takes over my mind and I find myself as anxious and excited to see where the journey will end as my readers are. And I cry and I laugh and more than once I jump off my chair when the phone rings and I‘m in the middle of a scary scene.

And it touches me deeply when a reader I have never met and may never meet leaves a review that let me know s/he gets it and s/he gets me…that’s what writing is all about , isn’t it?

Find Maria on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BNHQ2TC Love Thy Sister Amazon UK Link
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GF59EKG  Italian Summer Amazon Uk Link
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A1HLS2Q   Bosom Bodies Amazon Uk Link

Connect with Maria:

www.mariagraziaswan.com 

https://twitter.com/scrittrice  

https://www.facebook.com/MariaGraziaSwan

 

 

written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

5 Responses to “Maria Grazia Swann: “Italian Summer””

  1. ASMSG Horror-Thriller Emagazine – Maria Grazia Swann: “Italian Summer” says:

    […] Comments:  0 (Zero), Be the first to leave a reply! You might be interested in this:    8 Five Star Reviews for “Sebastian”  NEW RELEASE: “The Village Idiots EBAY CLUB” by Charlie Bray  Of Words and Water: An Anthology in aid of Water Aid  “There’s Nothing Wrong with Claudia” by Brenda Kearns  New Release and Review: “Memento Mori” by Katy O’Dowd […]

  2. Chris Rose says:

    Another brilliant interview, Christoph, and wow, I felt as if Maria was speaking for all of us – certainly me! Maria almost answered the questions exactly as I would have answered them, it’s so reassuring.

    Therefore, I’ll pick on the questions where I might have answered differently 😀 😉

    Maria, it’s interesting that you say you love the writing but then there’s the ‘hard work’ of editing. You know, I too enjoy letting my ideas flow in the initial stage, filling up that blank page. But then for the ‘editing’, I get an even bigger thrill, because that’s where I feel the true writing comes in; the editing is the real writing. I love that bit; the polishing 🙂

    Secondly, I always have sewing projects on the go but can’t sew. You know what i’m going to say next… but WILL buy the book. promise 😉

    (seriously though) Great stuff.:-)

    • maria grazia swan says:

      Hey Chris, I solved my mail problem by hiring a great editor. She can edit around my voice, I feel so lucky to have found her. As for sewing…it’s like any other craft it can be learned. Thanks for your comments, ciao.

  3. Steven Ramirez says:

    Wonderful! I love the way you feel about your characters, Maria. 🙂

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