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Conclusion of Interview with Grace Mattioli
Do you plan out the entire book before you begin writing? Or do you just sit down and write?
For my current novel, I had the theme, plot and subplot planned out. I had a rough outline that followed the traditional three act dramatic structure. Having a rough outline allowed for surprises that came along the way. That is, my characters would often do things without me having prior knowledge of what they would do. This made me know that I had created really dimensional characters that came alive off of the page, and this may have been the greatest joy that I got from writing my novel. I will definitely follow this same plan for my next novel and all of the novels thereafter.
Do you have a set time that you write each day? Or do you wait to be inspired?
I definitely do not wait to be inspired. I was able to complete my novel by setting a quota of words to complete each day. Many days I would exceed that quota and that was icing on the cake, but I was always sure to make my quota at the very least. My quota was 400 words which was not very high, but because I work full-time, I knew that I needed to be realistic and keep my goals within reach. I always attempted to finish my words during the day, but sometimes my days were too busy so I would finish them at night.
How long did it take you to complete this book?
It took me approximately one year to write and edit my manuscript.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
I knew that I wanted to use Italian names, but not names that are typically used for Italian-American characters. I also wanted to pick names that I liked, and of course names that would fit the characters. The melodious name, Silvia, was perfect for my main character because she is a free-spirited artist, but is also old-fashioned. Cosmo is a rational scientist but is also somewhat of a goof. Vince is serious and strong and determined. The name Frank could not be more perfect for the patriarch of the family, who is crass and honest and comical all at the same time. Angie seemed great for the older beauty queen sister, and Donna was just fitting for the matriarch, who is outwardly mature and serious, but inwardly youthful and somewhat confused.
Has your writing opened up any new doors for you? Were there any opportunities that you had never considered before?
Yes, writing has opened doors for me. I never considered writing a novel as I didn’t think that I would be able to complete one. I had written a short story and workshopped it with a group of fellow writers, a couple of whom urged me to make the short story into something longer. This short story later became the first chapter of my novel!
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
In writing my current novel, I did get bored at times, although those times were very infrequent. If I did get bored, I would simply let it pass by not clinging to the feeling of boredom, and so the bored feelings never hung around for long.
What type of books do you like to read?
I like to read beautifully written and or humorous fiction, and favorites include Flannery O’Connor, Douglas Adams and Ernest Hemingway.
How do you manage to balance your time between family, friends, and writing?
I am super organized and efficient at getting things done, and I do not have children so even though I work full-time, my free time is basically my own. I have plenty of quality time with my husband, my cats and my few friends, and visit with my relatives over the phone as they live far away from me.
If you could spend one hour with just one person, whom would you choose? Why?
I assume that you mean living or dead, in which case I would probably chose Lewis Carroll because I would love to ask him about his process for writing Alice in Wonderland, as I believe it to be one of the most incredible and highly imaginative stories ever written.
Do you prefer self-publishing to traditional publishing?
I am only experienced in the world of self-publishing, so it may not be possible for me to comment on this question as fully as I would like. I imagine that there is much less freedom in the world of traditional publishing, but that there are also many perks, such as having assistance in editing and promoting.
In what ways do you promote your book?
I promote my book through my blog, Twitter account and Facebook fan page, as well as doing interviews such as this one, and guest posts on book blogs.
Do you have any advice for writers who are striving to be published?
Never leave home without a pen and paper. Write everyday. Don’t give up, and don’t let rejections get you down!
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