Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Interview with Suzanne Palmieri author of The Witch of Little Italy

I'm thrilled to introduce Suzanne Palmieri who's debut The Witch of Little Italy released just yesterday.

Here's what's being said about her debut

Editorial Reviews:
Kirkus-“In her debut novel, Palmieri has combined romance and mystery, folklore and psychology to create a jigsaw puzzle of family secrets and tragedies, losses and loves, guilt and forgiveness. Entertaining"
Romantic Times Magazine- "Suzanne Palmieri's enthralling debut will make adult readers nostalgic for beloved books from their childhoods. Abundant with secrets, hidden passageways, magic and several enchanting mysteries, it'll keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. The magic and witchcraft elements are subtle, enhancing the over-all effect of this clever, beautiful novel." 

Suzanne, welcome to my blog.
Thank you so much for having me!

Tell us about your new novel The Witch of Little Italy.
Eleanor Amore is pregnant and alone. At 22, she’s completely lost. A senior at Yale, an artist… still, she can’t seem to find her way. When she asks her mother for help, she’s turned away. Her only hope? To return to her estranged, magical family in the Bronx. She doesn’t know them well. And there aren’t many of them left. There are her two great aunts, Itsy and Fee, her Grandmother Mimi… and the bonus? A young man named Anthony (who remembers her quite well….)
Itsy doesn’t want Eleanor to come to the Bronx. She loves her, but she’s scared. All the Amore siblings have “The Sight” and Itsy’s seen something she does NOT like.
Told from two perspectives, (3rd person Eleanor chapters and 1st person Itsy chapters) the two women, one young—one old, slowly reveal family secrets, long hidden and shrouded in magic. But what will happen when the secrets are revealed? Can the family, can Eleanor, survive?
It’s a story about love, loss, nostalgia, magic, family and mystery. It was a delight to write.

This is your debut novel. Can you enlighten us about your path to being a novelist?
I was always going to be a writer. Until I wasn’t. I started losing my own way in my late teens and by the time I was 23 I had a baby and no education. Not to mention… I was a single mother. (I know, this sounds like the book. Only, it isn’t the same thing. How I WISH I’d had a lovely magical family to go to who would take me in and teach me all sorts of wonderful things!) I had to go on welfare. It allowed me to finish school and then go on to graduate school. (I attended Fordham, and lived in the Bronx, that part of the narrative comes right from my time spent there)
10 years slipped by. I got married, I had more babies. And sometime in 2008 I had a tantrum. Yes. A tantrum. I was at a job I didn’t like and I sat down at my computer and wrote. Before I knew it, there was a novel there.
I wrote two more before I wrote THE WITCH OF LITTLE ITALY. Those are my “under the bed” novels.
For two years I queried those novels and I even got an agent for one of them. But I didn’t like the book… and the agent felt ….(let’s just say I listened to my instinct) so I terminated my contract and went back to the drawing board. That’s when I wrote The Witch of Little Italy. I got a GREAT agent, and she sold the book! Dreams… they do come true.

You also have a novel coming out in late May which you co-wrote as Suzanne Hayes with Loretta Nyhan.
Tell us about that writing experience.
Did you each write a part of the novel or was this a true writing partnership?
This is a story that is stranger than fiction. Loretta and I (as of this moment) have never met. Never even skyped! She was a trusted writer friend I’d met through blogging. We both had separate projects (both witchy) out on submission with our agents and it was SO stressful we decided to do something fun for ourselves.
Writers, what strange creatures. We decided to write (email) letters back and forth to each other in character.
I sent the first one.
Then? She sent one back! And before we knew it we were completely caught up in the lives of those people! Our agents took notice and we turned the project into a novel. But the process was completely organic. Email by email. Letter by Letter. She’s Rita. I’m Glory (but I wrote Toby’s Poems….)
It was, and still is, magical when we write together.

It’s very impressive to have your debut novel already sold to an International audience.
Have your feet touched the floor?
I don’t think they left the floor! I’ve been a scrappy sort of fighter since my baby was born. (She’s 19 now!) I plow ahead. I want to give myself time to revel and celebrate. But I’m writing so much. And I love writing novels! So my mind is always on the next project. Also, I work full time as a teacher and still have two small daughters at home. There isn’t a lot of time to scream and shout and celebrate. But no worries, I celebrate every day in my MIND.

The reviews for The Witch of Little Italy editorial and reader so far have been very good.
Do you read your reviews, bad and good?
How much do they effect you?
I have a curious way of looking at reviews. If it’s a good review? Great! So happy. If it’s a bad review? (many of my author friends have told me these occur… J) my take on it is this: In order for me to get a bad review, someone has to have read my book. My published book. Which is wonderful! That was the dream. To put my stories out into the world. So, if you think about it that way…. A bad review is STILL a dream come true. Right?
I’ve been told, though, that sometimes reviews get mean and personal. I think I’ll skip reading those.

I love the cover. How much were you involved in the choosing?
Thank you!
I was sent an email request from the art department asking what Eleanor looked like. I took a second to really answer, and then answered with my gut. “She looks like Sea Glass” is what I wrote. And I waited for another email to come back telling me I was CRAZY. But that email never came. What came was a beautiful cover, which if you look closely… even though it’s a city scene, looks like sea glass.
I was sent the cover. I loved it. My editor said, “Take 24 hours and then tell me…” I emailed her every 20 minutes telling her I LOVE IT. So, there was no choosing or anything like that. I was simply, pleased.

You write a blog, you’re on Facebook and Twitter too.
In your opinion what roll does social media play in author marketing?
I think it varies from author to author. I love social media. LOVE IT. But you have to be careful. There’s a fine line between being excited to share your work and your news, and overdoing self promotion. For me? It’s been so, so helpful. But if you are an author who doesn’t particularly love social media? I’m sure it’s not so much fun. And I think that’s why sometimes we see those lines blurred.  I also love pinterest, goodreads, library thing, google +, and whatever else happens between my answering these questions and the date this interview goes up!

Do you belong to a writer’s group?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t. Formally. Like, a group I meet with. BUT I do have a core group of virtual writer friends (and readers too) who I trust and work with when I’m writing.

Do you have events planned where fans can meet you in person?
So many! Too many to list here. People’s eyes would glaze over! And more are being added everyday. Here is the link to the Macmillan page that will be updated as more dates emerge.
I’ll be in Sarasota Florida at the Barnes and Noble there on July 27th. And I’ll be in Rockport MA at some point this summer as well. So, keep checking!
Also, though… I’d like to use google + hangouts for virtual book clubs. I’m excited about that.  I have a public community dedicated to THE WITCH OF LITTLE ITALY. I invite everyone to join!

Suzanne, thanks for stopping by and letting us in on a few of your spells. Good luck with both new novels.
This was FUN! Thank you. So much. Really.
Make sure and visit Suzanne's website here

Photo used under Creative Commons from 'Playingwithbrushes'

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