It’s time for another candied interview. Thank you so much for visiting, Joanne. Let’s get started…
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Having lived and taught in different cities throughout the province of Ontario, I have felt free to “borrow” characteristics from friends, colleagues, and students to create composite characters in my novels.
That was the modus operandi for the first five novels I wrote: Between Land and Sea, The Coming of Arabella, A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, and A Different Kind of Reunion.
While writing No More Secrets, I followed a different path.
Angelica Delfina, the protagonist, is also a composite character. But this time, I borrowed from the Italian women of my mother’s generation. And, yes, I did include bits of my mother’s life. Before she died, Mama read an early draft and commented, “I can see myself here, as well as…” and then she mentioned several relatives and friends.
The three nieces—Velia, Nora, and Teresa—belong to Generation Y. While sketching their characters, I considered former students but also thought back to my own experiences.
How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?
While sitting in high school English class (circa 1973), I dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. At the time, we were reading Margaret Atwood’s early novels. While I followed the conventional advice of the times and pursued a teaching career, I knew that someday I would resurrect the writing dream. In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement and devoted my second act to writing.
What is your favorite book? Favorite author?
I have eclectic tastes and love to curl up with women’s fiction, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, memoirs, psychological thrillers and self-help books.
As for my favorite all-time favorite book…I tend to have favorites for each season of my life. During my cancer journey, I gravitated toward You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I still refer to this book during challenging periods.
A recent favorite is The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little.
We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?
“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” Sarah Ban Breathnach
In this quotation, Sarah reminds us that the seasons do change, and we should expect our prayers to be answered. Comforting thoughts as we navigate the uncertain terrain of COVID-19.
Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
While writing occupies the lion’s share of my time, I also enjoy reading, yoga, blogging, scrapbooking, movies, artist dates, and meeting friends for leisurely brunches and lunches. These hobbies and pastimes provide an excellent distraction from the writing. Afterward, I feel refreshed and ready to start again.
Blurb – No More Secrets
Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.
Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.
But one heartbreaking secret remains untold…
Tupperware in all the pastel shades. Head-to-toe clothing and accessories in the same hues. Who does that? Bellastrega shook her head at the avalanche of plastic that accompanied Velia Russo into the kitchen. She was already on her third trip back from the car, puffing and panting as she placed her food gifts on the kitchen table. Bellastrega could feel her jaw clenching at the thought of all those white devils—heavy sauces and creams and pounds of sugar—contaminating the kitchen.
Velia held one finger. “One more trip,” and then she was gone.
Bellastrega turned her attention back to the hearty vegetable stew that had been simmering on the stove. She sighed contentedly as she breathed in the aroma of the rosemary and Italian seasonings. Angelica’s favorite. As she glanced at the appetizing array of vegetables, she mentally calculated how long it would take to finish cooking. Everything was on schedule, and dinner would be on the table at six o’clock. Why had Velia decided to arrive three hours early?
From the start, Bellastrega had her misgivings about this all-girls weekend. She had listened while Angelica lovingly described each niece and shared her concerns regarding their unhappy lives. At first, Bellastrega had humored her, not realizing Angelica was intending to help her nieces get back on track. Her duty as aunt, she had explained.
Bellastrega had formed her own judgments regarding the three younger women. Usually right on target, Bellastrega had been surprised when this particular incarnation of Velia Russo arrived, laden with her food gifts. From Angelica’s descriptions, Bellastrega had expected a younger version of her mother, Rosetta, a heavy-set hausfrau and gossip, not this glamour-puss who could pass for a younger Martha Stewart. But first impressions could be deceiving.
“Help. I need your help.” The whiny voice interrupted Bellastrega’s thoughts. Sighing, she lowered the heat and made her way to the living room.
Bellastrega resisted the urge to laugh as she took in the comical sight before her. To save herself another trip, Velia had decided to lug in a large Pullman using her left hand, carry a pastry box in her right hand, and use her teeth to hold on to her purse.
All this for a weekend get-together? What would she have packed for a longer trip? Bellastrega forced a smile as she took the pastry box from Velia.
Amazon (Australia) – https://www.amazon.com.au/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX/
A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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