I live in a small village just outside Geneva in Switzerland with my husband, two teenage children and a giant Yorkshire Terrier called Tom. Our house is a couple of minutes walk away from Lake Geneva, with a view of the Alps on one side and the Jura mountains on the other. I speak English, French and Italian (my mother is English, my father is Italian and I grew up in the French speaking part of Switzerland). I attended the International School of Geneva and then went on to studying translation at the University of Geneva.
I began writing seriously about ten years ago, when a friend of mine started a magazine for the Geneva ex-pat community. I'd always enjoyed writing, so when she asked me to contribute I jumped at the opportunity. To my surprise, my published articles received fan-mail, which boosted my confidence and encouraged me to aim for bigger things. It took a while for Mucho Caliente!, my first novel to take-off, but after a couple of false starts and mucho hair tearing, the story took on a life of its own. And wow! What a rush! Writing my first book was like living in an exciting, oh-so-romantic parallel universe. I got wrapped up in my characters, I could hear them, see them, smell them. I woke up in the morning and couldn't wait to spend the day with them. I can vividly remember the exhilarating and horrifying moment I realized that my story was finished. What would I do without the characters I had shared my life with for eighteen months? They were my friends. I knew them better than I knew myself. I didn't want to live without them. How could I let them go?
Sharing Mucho Caliente! with the world is a way to ensure that my characters live on. I love them all and hope they will find their way into people's hearts, becoming as vivid to my readers as they still are to me.
I am currently working on other projects that occupy my imagination and my heart. I love writing and am infinitely grateful to BookStrand for giving me the opportunity to share my work with the rest of the world.
Q: What was the first thing you ever wrote?
A: When I was eight years old I wrote a play in French. It was a romance about a princess and a dark, handsome gypsy. Of course, my ulterior motive for writing that play was that I had a crush on a dark, handsome eight-year old boy in my after-school drama group. But in typical dark, handsome eight-year old boy fashion, I might as well have been living in another galaxy. He was far more interested in tormenting worms with his friends than indulging female crushes. But I was determined to get his attention and told my best friend that I would kiss him before the end of the school year.
I sat down, wrote a play that ended in a kiss, took it to my drama teacher and had her cast me as the princess, and the dark, handsome worm tormentor as the gypsy. I got my kiss. Actually, we had to rehearse a lot, so I got many. Where there's a will, there's a way!
Q: "Where there's a will, there's a way." Is that your motto?
A: Hmmm Gosh, I suppose it is, in a subconscious, softly persuasive sort of way! It's funny to imagine myself as driven because I'm not a pushy person. I'm quiet and tend to be shy. But when I know what I want, I go after it. I don't give up easily. Ask my husband!
Q: Mucho Caliente! is a multicultural story and features characters from many parts of the world. Tell us about that.
A: I have a multicultural background. I went to the International School of Geneva and so my friends came from all over the world. Geneva may be a small town, but it hosts many international companies and organizations. I was thrown into Geneva's melting pot at the age of two when my parents moved here. I'm English and Italian, but have never lived in either country. I'm Swiss because my husband is Swiss. Even my accent is indefinable. I describe it as "mid-Atlantic," some words sound very British, others rather American. What do I feel? I'm not really sure! Mixed up! Happy! Lucky! Many of the characters in Mucho Caliente! are a funky blend of some of my closest friends.
Q: What, even the men?!
A: You bet! Writing is great. You can be naughty while still being good.
Q: What do you do when you're not writing?
A: I run around like a headless chicken, trying to fit everything in. I spend at least two and a half hours a day at the stables. My daughter and I share a passion for horses and we are lucky enough to own a beautiful dressage horse called Kwintus who is also the most lovable and affectionate horse I've ever met. He even has a distinctive heart-shaped white mark on his forehead!
Otherwise, I try to work-out a couple of times a week. I do Pilates and yoga. We go skiing in the winter, but I'm definitely a sunny day skier. I enjoy gardening and love to grow my own vegetables. It's amazing how much more careful we are about not wasting things we grow ourselves. And there's nothing better than home grown tomatoes.
Q: Do you have any other books planned?
A: I'm toying with a sequel to Mucho Caliente! I'd like to find out what happens to Gemma and Emilio. I'd also like to spend more "imaginary" time in Ibiza. I love that island! We'll see. My mind throws me ideas for stories all the time, especially when I go to bed. I often have a hard time going to sleep because my brain just won't shut up. If a truly brilliant idea strikes, I'll fumble around in the darkness for my notebook and a pen and scribble it down without turning on the light because I don't want to disturb my husband! And if my mind really won't settle down, I'll crawl out of bed, head to my office and fire up my computer, dreading what I'll feel and look like the next day.
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