Interview with Tina Concetta Marzocca

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the very first story I ever read, because I've been reading ever since I learned how. I DO remember the first book that had a real impact on me, though. That was "A Night to Remember" (Water Lord). It was an account of the sinking of the Titanic. I couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 when I read it. I remember a lot of sleepless nights worrying about how it must have felt being trapped on that sinking ship and lots of thoughts about death and dying. Another book I read around the same age, with the same effect, was "The Diary of Anne Frank."
What do you read for pleasure?
Depends on my mood at the time. I love historical fiction, sweeping sagas, horror/thriller, fantasy, magical reality, and quirky novels like Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone."
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle or my laptop.
Describe your desk
Ha, that's funny. My desk is my lap and a comfy chair. We live in a small apartment in the south of France, but we are moving very soon to a slightly larger one... so I HOPE I can have a "real" desk!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in and around the New York City area in a large and tight-knit Italian family. I think growing up American with European parents helped me see things through a more global or diverse prism. New York City also affords you glimpses into a plethora of cultures. I think that wet my appetite for historical novels and glimpses into lives of people both past and present all over the globe as well as fantastic worlds drenched in mystery and magic... or maybe I just wanted to escape a strict Italian-Catholic upbringing!
When did you first start writing?
I always enjoyed writing for fun. As a child we would write and perform plays in the neighborhood. I loved writing stories but as I grew and entered the "corporate world" I lost the magic I felt when I wrote. Mostly because I didn't have the time. I never seemed to manage a normal 9-5 type job and usually worked so many hours I could barely keep up with the normal upkeep of a private life. Though I was in the corporate world, I did always get drawn to a position where I could use my creativity. Most of that was art and computer graphics. When I did get to do writing it was business writing. Now that I am retired and living in the south of France, I am finally able to go back to what makes me happy and fulfills me most. Writing stories for the pure joy of it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wrote and published a story about a Roman merchant who brings his wife and family to Pompeii on business. It was a business deal that would have changed their lives, but the timing of his visit was tragic... August of the year 79 AD. It's his telling of the story of his last hours, his hopes and dreams shattered by the realization that he and his wife face a horrible and tragic death. His only saving grace was that, because of the insistence of his wife's prophetic dreams, they sent the children to stay with family in Naples one day before the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius. The novel I am currently working on is the story of their surviving children, Tullia and Marcus. This story starts with their escape from Pompeii by ship and weaves the tale of the compelling turn of events which foreordains the fate of both children and propels them toward a powerful, climactic struggle. I have the first five chapters at the back of Pompeii, a Short Story ... as a nice little tease until the novel is published. Hopefully people will want to come back for the rest of it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I couldn't afford to self-publish a print book, and I didn't want to wait years for responses from traditional publishers. I was also being pressured by people who read the original Pompeii story for more about what happened to the children. I decided to e-publish the short story because many people wanted to read it on their devices. I hope that I do catch the eye of a traditional publisher because I would love these stories in print form, but if not, I'm happy to have people read and enjoy them via their Kindles, laptops and iPads.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating people and lives from thin air. I love that they come to life and become real to me as well as the reader. I also love the surprise of where they take me. For me, the story writes itself, no matter how much outlining or forethought goes into it. Once the characters are created, they take control of their own destinies. I'm just along for the ride.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow, that's kind of hard to narrow down. The ones that come to mind first are: "100 Years of Solitude" (Gabriel García Márquez). I love the sweeping multi-generational story of the Buendía family and soaking up the history of a changing Columbia through generations. His genius is his fluid tone and narration as much the use of fantasy to express reality. "The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings" (JRR Tolkien). An epic fantasy that had me spellbound! I read that as a teenager. I loved it so much I read it several times and did a thesis on Tolkien for a collage paper. The inhabitants of Middle-Earth; wizards, hobbits, men, elves, dwarfs, ents, a dark lord and ringwaiths, all in a monumental struggle for good over evil. "The Eight" (Katherine Neville). A wonderful thriller of two intertwined stories set centuries apart. The story is rooted in a chess set (a gift from the Moors to Emperor Charlemagne) that holds the key to unlimited power. A great read, if you haven't read it. "The Witching Hour" (Anne Rice). I love a good horror story (not the blood and guts kind), and Anne Rice is genius at it. Another multi-generational story that intertwines the present and the past. This is the story of the Mayfair witches, set in New Orleans. The antagonist is a wicked spirit that moves through the generations of Mayfair women. Great storytelling. "Like Water for Chocolate" (Laura Esquivel). The story is set in Mexico. Tita is the protagonist who has to endure a controlling mother that refuses to let her marry because she has determined that Tita must care for her mother for the rest of her life. It's a story of love, duty, betrayal, cruelty and defiance as Tita grows more sure of herself, using cooking and food as her emotional outlet. Another great read.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I've only lived here in the south of France for almost three years so I enjoy traveling around the area with my husband, Ian, discovering the wonderful colorful and ancient histories of the villages surrounding me. I also love photography and digital art which I have for sale on my website at Fine Art America. You can have them framed in multiple formats at http://1-tina-marzocca.artistwebsites.com/
Published 2014-06-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Pompeii, a Short Story
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,780. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
A dramatic, action-packed fictional account of the final hours of a Roman merchant and his wife caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time in the great city of Pompeii. A bonus five-chapter preview of the sequel, and soon to be released novel, “The Merchant’s Daughter,” is included.