Interview with John & Nancy Petralia

Which topics do you enjoy writing about most and why?
We enjoy commenting on life around us. Living abroad, your perspective is quite different. You can’t help comparing the foreign place to what you know in America. And the insights it gives you--about culture, family, relationships, and yourself--are things we like to share.
What inspired you to write Not in a Tuscan Villa?
We figured out how to have our dream of living in Italy for a year, as ordinary citizens. When we came home, the experience had so changed the way we wanted to experience the rest of our lives that we wanted to share it. We NEEDED to share it.
What draws you to Non-Fiction?
Nancy, because she's no good at making up stuff, and John because it fits his commentary style.
What do you think your book offers that others in the same genre do not?
It’s not a travelogue. It is our recollections of things we experienced during our year in Italy. We like to call it “adventure learning.” The adventure certainly changed us, and we take the reader on our journey of discovery.

It’s not like Under the Tuscan Sun or some other book about buying a run-down house in the country and fixing it up with humorous anecdotes about the workmen. It’s not about picking grapes and olives and eating out under the stars. It’s about real life in Italy, where you have to negotiate the everyday mysteries of train ticketing, public and private bureaucracy, getting the cable fixed and the internet installed, and you might end up in the hospital--twice. It’s about looking for ways to make friends and become part of a local community, and the rewards of rediscovering your romance.

We take turns with the chapters which is something different.
Who are your favorite authors? Why do they inspire you?
We love and are inspired by Bill Bryson. What travel writer wouldn’t be. He’s adventuresome, insightful, irreverent, and hilarious. He’s also a VERY skilled writer who knows how to weave a complex story and deliver a punchline. We learned a lot about writing by reading and analyzing his work.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
We love connecting with readers. We meet folks at book signings, book fairs, speaking engagements and library events. The programs we offer are listed on our website. Not in a Tuscan Villa has a Facebook page where we converse with fans across the country. And we really like joining book clubs...either in person or via SKYPE.
Describe your desk
Nancy's is a mess, but she can find anything. John's is neater because he keeps track of less.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Hearing from readers. So many people have said, "I was THERE with you." It's extremely rewarding to know that we could accomplish that.
What do your fans mean to you?
They're our psychic food--and our best advertisement. Whenever we read something we like a lot we recommend it. And the fact that so many people have passed on a recommendation for our book, written a review, or bought it as a gift, is tremendously gratifying.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
We live in downtown Fort Myers where we pretty much enjoy all the things we did in Italy. Walking and biking around town, entertaining friends (Nancy loves to cook), theater, the occasional opera, reading, music at concerts or in the square, art shows and museums, sports events and of course traveling. Especially back to Italy. Nancy can't wait to get her hands back into some kind of art creation and John's researching another book, this one about Garibaldi.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle and iPad.
Published 2013-12-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Not in a Tuscan Villa
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 98,650. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » By region, Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
Newly retired, looking for more than a vacation, the authors head to the “perfect” Italian city for a year. Within days their dream becomes a nightmare. After residing in two Italian cities, negotiating roads & health care, discovering art, friends, food & customs, the Petralias learn more than they anticipated--about Italy, themselves, what it means to be American, & what’s important in life.