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City in which you reside: Martinsburg, W.Va.
Day job: I taught at Shepherd in the English and Language Department from 2001 to 2009. At the moment I work with the Education Department as a student teacher supervisor.
Book title: "Forgotten Objects"
Genre: historical fiction
Quick synopsis of book: "Forgotten Objects" traces the life of Anna d'Amio, daughter of opera singers Louis and Francesca d'Amio, from Mussolini's Italy to the city of Pittsburgh during the mid 1960s. She eventually becomes a mother of two daughters and must make sacrifices for her children. It is after her passing that her daughters discover a box containing objects from their mother's past.
Publisher: Portilla Publishing
Price: $25 for paperback; $8.99 for Kindle edition
What inspired you to write the book?
I have no idea. As with my other novels, it just appeared one day. I never plan to write a book about anything; the book chooses me.
A native of Cuba, your cultural background is often seen in your books. Was it important that Cuba was included in "Forgotten Objects"?
I do not believe that my cultural background is reflected in my work. I consider myself a writer, not a Cuban writer. If you look closely at my novels "Orpheus' Blues" and "Secret Memories," you see right away that they have nothing to do with Cuba in particular or with Latin America in general. Further, "American Triptych" (a trilogy of satirical novels) is just that, an American work that explores the obsessions that we find in this particular culture.
But getting back to your original question, Cuba is one of the locales where "Forgotten Objects" takes place, so it was inevitable that I would use my familiarity with Cuban history and culture in that work. On the other hand, the other sections of the novel take place in Italy and in the United States. I also used my familiarity with those places to make the settings more believable.
In "Forgotten Objects," the main character Anna d'Amio is the daughter of opera singers. Are you a fan of opera? Was there a particular opera singer you listened to while writing this book?
No, I do not consider myself an opera fan, but a lot of research went into that particular section of the novel. Italians do take opera very seriously; I am very much aware of that. While writing, I usually listened to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons. "
What type of woman do you see Anna as being?
I see Anna as an average woman, but life in general and certain specific historical events made her grow up very quickly.
What themes did you want to present to readers?