May 20, 2015

Interview around the Globe with Teresa Neumann

Today we have a new Author. Teresa Neumann is an author that is working though a book Tour that I have now been a tour host for. Let welcome this new author to Interviews around the Globe.

I would love if you all took a look at our author Bio.. We have some good questions and answer for her to answer. I also had the opportunity to read her latest book called "Bianca's Vineyard". I have a review on it here at NRC and I also got a giveaway as for all of you as well. Bianca's Vineyard by Teresa Neumann & Giveaway, Here is the author bio for before we enter the interview. We welcome Teresa to our community. #Interviews, #Interviewsaroundtheglobe, #NRC, #Giveaways, #Tuscany  #italybooks #bookreview,  @intrepidwriter, @NouveauWriter+Laura Fabiani

Teresa Neumann and her musician husband live in Oregon's beautiful Willamette Valley near their three children. As well as being an author and journalist, Teresa loves to fiddle on her violin and live "la dolce vita" in Italy whenever she can talk her family into going with her.

Connect with Teresa: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Describe your book in 20 words or less.

Bianca’s Vineyard is about: the power of family, choices, consequences, war, survival, hope, reconciliation, restitution, and joy that comes in the morning.

Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?

It's based on the true story of my husband’s family from Italy, so the skeleton of the story was already there in our family archives.

How important are names to you in your book(s)? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you use any resources in assisting you to choose the names?

With few exceptions, most of the characters in my book were given their real names. For the characters I invented, I chose Italian names that appeal to me, or seemed to fit.

Which of your characters in Bianca’s Vineyard is your favorite and why?

That’s a tough one. I knew many of the characters personally, so I related to them all on varying levels. But I’d have to say Bianca was my favorite. She was my mother-in-law’s cousin; truly one-in-a-million. 80-some-years old when I first met her, she exuded authority and charisma unlike anyone I’ve ever met. In real life, she was a WWII partisan, a grand facilitator, keeper of her family’s history, the bridge from the past to the present, the instigator of our American-Italian reunion, and the uncontested matriarch of the Bertozzi’s. It’s why I wove her throughout the book and named it after her. Without her, this book would never have been written.

Was there a certain scene in this book that was harder for you to write than others?

Most scenes dealing with Armida were tough. Because I’d never met her, and because her personality was so dark and complex, I had to extract difficult information from her daughter, Babe (my mother-in-law), who was the sweetest woman on earth. I hated dredging up some of the ugliness of her past, but in the end I think it was extremely healing for Babe. One of my greatest rewards as a writer and daughter-in-law was seeing her obtain a measure of closure from the book.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?

Andy Garcia as Egisto. Maybe Ashley Judd or Penelope Cruz as Armida. Helen Mirren as Bianca – although I’m sure there are some amazing Italian actors who would fit the roles perfectly as well.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

Editing and rewrites. It’s a love/hate thing with me. I love the tweaking, and am obsessive about doing my own edits, but at some point I get so close to it all that I can’s see the forest for the trees anymore. Then it’s time for objective insights and when the light bulb comes back on I find myself wanting to rip the manuscript up and start over again. Ugh!

What authors have inspired you to write?

There are so many amazing authors who have inspired me I don’t know where to begin. I first cut my teeth on the classics in high school: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Hardy, Hugo, Dickens, Jane Austen, Sigrid Undset. In fact, for years all I would read were literary masterpieces – all the high drama and sweeping themes were addictive. But since then, I’ve branched out and discovered countless other gems. I think Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River comes closest to being a great American classic. The first few chapters of that book are just unforgettable. I’m also reminded of Adriana Trigiani’s The Shoemaker’s Wife. I loved it; brilliant writing, and of course, the Italian immigrant theme really hit home, especially with the connection to Minnesota. I’ve noticed that as I grow older, I’m beginning to relish reads that are just plain fun and entertaining – like Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Read, read, read, and write and rewrite until you’re sick of it. Then keep rewriting and reading.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I read them all. Bad reviews are never fun to read, but I take them to heart and sometimes even learn from them. For example, although not really considered a “bad” review, several people commented on the diverse characters in Bianca’s Vineyard and struggled with the pronunciation of their names. (There is a family tree in the beginning of the book, but for some people it still wasn’t enough.) So in the sequel, Domenico’s Table, I took those comments to heart and actually spelled out the pronunciation of the characters at the beginning, and also explained their relationship to other characters in more detail.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

My third book, A Year in the Company of Freaks, is set in the early 1970’s in northern California and features an Italian-American as the main character. It’s due out this summer. Those who are interested can check my website for more information.

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

My father passed away two weeks ago; the toughest situation of my life. There’s no getting out of the grieving. All you can do let your family circle the wagons around you, tackle each day as it comes, and allow time and God heal the loss. Closure can be elusive, but until it’s achieved, life feels as though it’s being lived in the shadows.

Thank you for stopping by Teresa Neumann. I have enjoyed your book. I learn a lot about Italy and your family or in laws. I happy for you have stop by Nighttime Reading Center. I hope you come back.

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