Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
They come from a variety of sources. My first book, Not On My Bucket List, was based on an online conversation with someone in another country that got me thinking, “What if?” My third book, I Love You Ten Million Times Over, actually came to me in a dream.
And the exotic locations for your stories? Have you visited them?
Yes. I want my readers to be taken on a certain amount of fantasy, setting my books in locales, sometimes exotic, that they may not have visited. I also hope that in this way they will learn about people in other countries, how they live, how they think.
And you also seem to set your books against current events.
Definitely. They may be fiction, but I want them to have a relevance to today, to events we may still be dealing with.
Immigrants and immigrant’s rights seems to be a recurring theme with you.
Absolutely. I am never shy about reminding people that we are a nation of immigrants.
What do you want readers to take away from your books, remember about them?
That love can be found anywhere. It crosses international borders, different cultures. And that there is an absolute worth to every individual.
Here is an excerpt from the book I am currently working on, High Water Mark, set amid the historic floods in Venice in 2019.
Excerpt from High Water Mark
“That balcony doesn’t look very sturdy, does it?” said Sandro, pointing to a house across the canal, its balcony sagging a bit, supported only by a few poles leading down into the water. A small boy was riding his tricycle on the balcony, a little bundle of energy riding around in circles.
“Massimo,” his mother called from the house. “Time to come in. Time to eat.”
“Just one more minute, mama!” the boy shouted.
“Massimo, now!” But her words were drowned out by the crack of rotten wood splitting in two, the balcony collapsing into the murky waters of the canal, taking the boy and his tricycle with it.
In a split-second Sandro kicked off his boots and dove head-first into the canal. The image of the cold pond in Michigan flashed in Dominic’s mind. It was just a nano second, there and gone. Then he kicked off his waders and followed Sandro into the canal.
The first thing that came to Dominic’s mind was how dark and muddy the water was. Even in the daylight, it seemed that not a bit of light found its way beneath the surface of the water. It was just as dark as that cold pond back in Michigan had been at night, but here there was no submerged car to set his sights on. Just total darkness. Then he spotted Sandro. Fortunately, he had been wearing a brightly colored jacket. He pointed to something beneath him. It was the boy’s bright yellow tricycle.
But where was the boy? He could not be far away. This being one of the smaller canals, having a depth of only about sixteen feet, it didn’t have a strong current to carry the boy away. He must be nearby.
It was time to surface for air. They both gulped it in huge breaths. Dominic noticed that there was no one back on the sidewalk to help. No one had seen the balcony collapse. They would have to do this on their own.
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