Robert James Connors is an award-winning writer and journalist, experienced public speaker, and author of more than 1,000 human-interest, feature, and news stories during a career spanning 40 years. He is a contributor to publications covering topics ranging from environment to classical music and history.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Romancing Through Italy almost wrote itself, because everything in it is true. The events were so memorable and varied, that it was like a throw-back to my reporter days. "Just the facts, Ma'am." We spent years, in total, visited hundreds of places, from little hamlets to big cities, castles, churches, and farms. We met hundreds of people, and had dinners in dozens of private homes, getting to know their families, how they cooked, the things they talked about and the lifestyles they enjoyed. Italy was absorbing. All I had to do was recall the details. Photos helped. Getting stopped by the military police, of course, we couldn't take photos then, but most of the places we went, we still have photos of. Those of the memorial services with the veterans, now almost all gone, are the ones I treasure the most.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small central Florida town, and because there wasn't a lot of entertainment available, I began reading at a very young age, and devoured books by the hundreds. I would read perhaps fifty over the course of a summer, and another hundred or so on top of my school work. I would read everything in an entire genre at my school library, and then go on to a new interest. Animal stories, science fiction, eventually and history books and stories of the sailing ships and explorations. I guess because I read so much, it seemed natural to write, and I ended up on the school paper, and then was hired as a news reporter for a daily. I made $60 a week to start. I was 18 when my editor told me that a story I wrote was the best human-interest feature he had ever seen in a newspaper. He inspired me to keep after it.
Readers will delight sharing a journey of discovery that reveals not just the places, but the people and mysteries of an ancient land.The world's most desired destination, Italy provides a colorful and scenic background to adventures and misadventures. Emperors and cave-dwellers, elderly goat-herds and ghost towns come to life in visits to the hidden corners of the cradle of modern civilization.