Interview with women’s fiction novelist Flavia Brunetti

(Cover artwork by Cinzia Bolognesi)
Novelist Flavia Brunetti joins me today. We’re
chatting about her new women’s fiction, All
the Way to Italy.
Bio:
Born just
outside of Rome, Flavia Brunetti grew up bouncing back and forth between Italy
and California, eventually moving back to the Eternal City and confirming her
lifelong commitment to real gelato. Flavia holds a Master of Arts degree in
Government and Politics from St. John’s University and a Bachelor of Arts in
Political Science from John Cabot University. Today she travels the world
working for an international humanitarian organization and spends her free time
writing and wandering around her beloved Roma in constant search of bookstores
and the perfect espresso. You can find her city blog on Rome at
whichwaytorome.com and her portfolio of published writing at flaviinrome.com.
Welcome, Flavia. Please tell us about
your current release.
This is an
airplane read in the best sense of the word (I hope), the kind of book that
goes down easily but says something—a travel tale for the new generations. I think
my favorite description of it is actually on the back cover: “This is the
powerful story of those in search of a balance between wanderlust and the
necessity to come home, a reminder that although we may be fragments, we are
never a lost cause.”
What inspired you to write this book?
I grew up
calling two places home—Rome, Italy, and a little town near San Francisco,
California. This was both amazing and, at times, somewhat difficult. I grew up
loving traveling and spending a lot of time in airports, but the separation
from my family, and the pull of belonging to more than one place at the same
time, was a bit of a constant—and as I grew up and met other people who
wandered, I started to think more about the sense of belonging, the need to
feel home, how our cultures mold us but can also serve as roots for us to grow
into something both traditional and brand new. I wanted to write a book that a
fifteen-year-old girl could hold in her hands when she was faced with a big
change, that would help her to know that everything would work out for the
best, even if she wasn’t her own best friend yet, even if she felt like the
world, because of where she’s from or what she’s suffered, wasn’t on her side.
I wanted to write about the strength of memories but also the strength of
carving your own way, with an open heart and mind to absorb all the lessons
there are out there, gently. Maybe most importantly, I wanted to write about
kindness in a world climate that struggles with embracing different cultures.
Excerpt from All the Way to Italy:
“This is a
story for the third generations (the fourth, the fifth, the sixth generations),
for the not-so-lost generations, for the hybrids. For the people who feel more
at home in an airport than they wish they did, who yearn for one place to call
home but also always, inevitably, long for something they do not know, miss
places they have yet to behold, people they have yet to meet… For the ones that
see Rome everywhere they go—or Tunis, Paris, Dublin, Aleppo, London, San
Francisco, you name it, it’s yours. You bring your home with you.”
What exciting story are you working on
next?
At the moment
I’m focusing on my city blog on Rome, Which Way to Rome. I love writing the
Instagram captions, which very often end up being mini-stories, paired with my
favorite pictures from an afternoon stroll through the city. I want to start
working on a sequel to All the Way to Italy soon: either exploring Little’s
story a few years down the line when she’s graduated and moved to a different
country, or a flashback to Sira’s youth. Which would you guys like to read
next?
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
My aunt still has my very first attempts at poetry,
when I was a tiny girl in Rome learning my letters. Writing has always been a
constant for me, through all the changes, and it’s been both a challenge and a
great comfort.
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?
In my “day
life”, I work for an international humanitarian organization. I used to think
that this had nothing to do with my writing, but in truth, it’s allowed me to
travel, see places, and live in cultures that I possibly otherwise wouldn’t
have run into, and that has been the source of a lot of inspiration (and the
urge to write about transnationalism!). Finding time to write… Balance, I think,
is tricky in most situations, and I don’t always manage it, but I do my best.
What’s worked the most thoroughly for me is breaking down what I need to do
into smaller squares through a to do list; if I’ve had a long day at work, I’ll
get through at least one thing on my writing to do list. And if I need a break,
I take it!
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I wouldn’t
classify this as interesting, but… I have a really hard time writing without
eating, even if it’s just nibbling on something. White chocolate-covered
raisins, and the little Reese’s bites, are my kryptonite.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
For a very
long time, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and this was a dream from when I was
a little girl all the way up to high school when I realized two things: the
first was that I did not have a proclivity for either math or science, two
subjects a doctor needs to be good at; the second was that, at times, I’d have
to put animals down. So there went that (especially for the latter reason,
since I think the former could have been won, since we can do anything we put
our minds to!), and lots of dreams came after that. But, in all honesty,
through all of the dreams, writing was always there, from the beginning until
today and, I have no doubt, for the rest of my days
J.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I’m
passionate about Rome and Italy, but also about traveling and adventures in
general, so I’m thrilled to hear from readers about their experiences – I’m
always reachable through my blog Gmail, whichwaytorome@gmail.com, or you can
find me on my blog and social media.
Links:
Buy page:
Amazon | Also available on most
other platforms, both in print and e-book formats
Thank you for being here today, Flavia!

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