Today I’m particularly pleased to welcome back Maria. I’m a huge fan of her Mina books series. A little anecdote: I saw her book on twitter and it reminded me of an Italian singer, Mina, who was popular in Germany in my youth. Turns out, Maria wrote the book with that singer in mind. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvPeLU3wr4k) The mysteries are wonderfully Italian and a real delight.
I feel as I have been writing all my life. Even before I knew how to write, I would tell stories. In kindergarten I would trade stories for Gianduia Chocolate. We only had one grocer in town and the daughter was in my kindergarten class, that how the trade came in.
But seriously. My first short story was published in a magazine back when I was fourteen years old. That was also my first literary award.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
I grew up on a steady dose of Agatha Christie, and that pretty much influenced my chosen genre, even when I write funny stuff and I end up with a mystery. And my grandfather always encouraged me on anything and everything I wanted to try.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
I don’t have a specific concept. This is going to sound weird, but I tend to have a title before I start writing anything. Then I have a complete sequence or if you prefer, a chapter, play in my head just like an episode of some television show. Once I have all the details in my head, down to the must insignificant ones, I sit and write the whole chapter. After that the process starts all over…yep..weird..but it works for me.
What is your life like outside of writing?
Busy. I am a real estate agent. Being an author and a real estate agent have a lot in common. Neither provides a regular salary. Authors receive royalties, real estate agents get commission and neither knows for sure when the next check will come in…I also volunteer at a no kill animal shelter. You can say that’s where my inspiration for the last 2 of the Mina’s adventures comes from. Rescued cats. And I have kids and grandkids and friends and family on both side of the ocean…like I said, busy.
What makes you laugh?
What makes me laugh? So many things. So many people. The older I get the more I laugh. Perhaps we were programmed that way at birth.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Are we talking about Best in Show?
Ne Me Quitte pas-Jacques Brel – sorry I folks, I grew up in Belgium…some memories are hard to forget.
(The book Best in Show (Mina’s sixth adventure) was released on October 22nd. Here is the buy link on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016R28JZ2)
What are you working on now?
My Mina’s sixth adventure just released. I have to say that Mina’s adventures is probably my most successful series. I’m not judging success by the amount of $$$ the book brings in, but by the fan mail and the comments readers post on my facebook page. With that said, I decided to start a new series, it isn’t titled yet and it may or may not be a cozy. I don’t know until I have at least 10,000 words, by then I know my characters and have a good idea where they are taking me.
Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?
I tend to just sit at the computer and write. No synopsis, no notes, like I said, I let my characters take me along their journey, I find myself crying and laughing along like I was part of the adventure. Well, in a sense I am and like my readers constantly remind me, I write from the heart.
So intense…so Italian.
The above catch..whatever.. was sent in by a reader and I made it my mantra.
Here are links to a previous interview with Maria about her book “Italian Summer” on my review of her book “A Cat to Die For”
Find Me Here –Maria Grazia Swan