Monday, 30 July 2012
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Joan Leotta
Her first book with Desert Breeze came out on July 1.
The title is Giulia Goes to War. You can learn a little more about it on Joan's Facebook page.
It would be a great help to her if you could give it a "like" while you are there.
Here is my interview with Joan:
STEPH: I don't Know much about Giulia Goes to War--what is it about?
JOAN: The novel is set in World War Two and is a romance, a bit of a spy story and the tale of a young girl setting out to find her way, honoring her parents, but also finding her own self and independence.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
JOAN: This one is hard to judge. It was a short story that became a book so I had a lot of research done and simply expanded the descriptions of characters, added characters, and gave full play to themes I had to shorten in the brief version.
STEPH: How much research did you have to do?
JOAN: Probably more than necessary! I am an obsessive researcher. Need to stop myself sometimes. I read a lot about the era I am writing about, research various topics that will be included in the book, and study any documents I can about individuals in that time period.
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?
JOAN: My cover artist, Gwen Phifer, of Desert Breeze, did a marvelous job. She found a photo of a young woman who IS Giulia--and set her face into a train window. Everyone who has seen the cover loves it and marvels over how it captures the essence of the book. Giulia is looking forward with fear and anticipation to her work for the war, leaving home for the first time and the future she will face.
STEPH: Describe the heroine.
JOAN: Giulia is the heroine. You can see what she looks like by taking a look at the book cover. She is strong and intelligent, independent and resourceful but still a bit too dependent on tradition and worried about what others think about her.
STEPH: What does the hero like about her?
JOAN: The hero, John, finds her attractive because of her intelligence and love of family. Of course, he does not miss that she is lovely as well!
STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?
JOAN: Independence and honor. (Two themes) The book explores girls going to work in what was a man's world and also the issue of people marrying outside of their ethnic groups--something which began to happen in America during and after WWII to a much greater degree than before.
STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?
JOAN: From my own life, my family history, stories friends tell me, historical research, the beauty and majesty of place, and objects. Yep, quote a few of my stories are built around my curiosity about an object or tell the story of how a group or person or event is influenced by food. I am also a food and travel writer and general topic journalist.
STEPH: Do you have an e-book reader?
JOAN: Indeed I do--a Nook.
STEPH: What is your favorite summertime fruit?
JOAN: That is a hard one because I love fruit!!!! Summer is a procession of fruits--late spring is strawberries, then blueberries open the summer season followed by peaches, peaches and more peaches. Elderberries and blackberries come in there but it is peaches that dominate the summer for me, along with melons (cantaloupe and honeydew and watermelon) but I guess I have to go with peaches. There is a farm fruit stand nearby and each week she brings a different kind of peaches to the stand. One year I wrote down the names of each kind and rated them for myself.
I do prefer freestone, but any kind is great. Mostly I eat them plain, but I do make pies, cobblers, jumbles and even savory dishes with peaches. My husband and I have a favorite memory of our first trip to Italy together than involves peaches, My favorite Garcia Lorca poem involves peaches and I have written several pieces of poetry about my grandmother's peach tree and my daughter's August birth, in the height of peach season. Hmm, I guess I should not even have bothered to mention the other fruits. Peaches do seem to take the cake ( served along with peach ice cream, of course!)
Find Joan at: