Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dreaming in Italian with Maria Grazia Swan

And the totally chosen at random winner of the $25 Starbucks or BN gift card (winner’s choice) is… Na!  Congrats, Na!  Email me at gemmasreadermail at gmail dot com with your contact info and we’ll get your prize out to you ASAP!



Please welcome our special guest blogger, Maria Grazia Swan! I've know Maria for years - ever since she published the hilarious BOOMER BABES, a non-fiction book about dating over 50. And now she has a fantastic mystery available in ebook that I highly recommend everyone check out.
Today Maria is giving away a $25 gift card to either Barnes & Noble or Starbucks (winner's choice). Just post a comment to be entered to win and check back tomorrow when the winner is announced.



I always wanted to be a writer. When I was a little girl I lived with my grandparents in a 3 story house my grandfather built. One rainy day I went up into the attic to look for something, not sure what. Keep in mind that was before phones, before TVs and certainly before computers. I found a wooden crate full of old books—Gialli, that’s what mysteries are called in Italy. The books had been left there by my uncle Agostino who migrated to Canada.
From then on I spent my weekends in the attic, reading. Agatha Christie, Rex Stout…I loved them all. In school my best grades were in Literature. My teachers liked my writing, often would read it out loud.
Then my parents moved to Belgium, and I said goodbye to my grandparents, the attic and the books. In Belgium I had to learn French, and I did. Soon my teachers liked my French essays.
I still dreamed of becoming a professional writer. By the time I was fourteen, not today’s fourteen, mind you, I entered a short story contest and won! A French newspaper published my story. Pretty good I guess, except, my parents didn’t read French, neither did my grandparent back in Italy. Still, I felt proud. It was a good start.
            Life has a way of playing tricks on our carefully planned tomorrows. So I met an American boy, fell in love, married and moved to the United States. I had to learn English. And I did. Didn’t have much time to write with kids, a career, Great Danes and a philandering husband. I managed to survive without writing. Then came the divorce, the kids moved out, the Great Danes went to dogs’ heaven, and I went back to write, in English, of course.
            I paid my dues, learned my craft and won an award, a national award! All right! By then my grandparents were dead, too late to make them proud,  but they always believed in me and that made it okay.
In 2001 my first book was released, a mystery, in English. Love Thy Sister was a late homage to the 3 story house, my Italian heritage, and my newly found American life.
           By then my parents were dead, but somehow I felt they always knew I would be a published writer.
            I wrote more stories, more columns, more blogs, and more books— all in English. But when I dream, I dream in Italian.
            2010 was a very bad year for me, in too many ways to even try to list them. I had to get back to writing, my true passion. That’s when a miracle happened, via Twitter. I swear, even as a writer, I can’t make this stuff up. I received an e-mail from an Italian publisher interested in the Italian rights of Love Thy Sister, my out-of-print mystery. I own all the rights, the paperback is no longer available. Of course I said yes!
The book will be released in Italy, October 2012. I’m saving my pennies to make it there for the launching! The 3 story house my grandfather built was sold after my mother died, but I still have 2 sisters and plenty of nieces and nephews and good friends to celebrate with me! I even have a growing number of Italian followers, how cool is that?
And for my non Italian speaking friends, Love Thy sister was just released as e-book in all the usual places. Okay, I’m not sure how that works, I hired Bookbaby.com to make it happen. Keeping my fingers crossed I may even get to see it in French some day.
Grazie a tutti.      

~ Maria
LOVE THEY SISTER

27 comments:

Amy S. said...

Congrats on you upcoming release in Italy! I would have loved to found some books in my grandma's attic. My aunt introduced me to romance books when I was 13. I was always a reader though. She also got me hooked on mysteries too.

amysmith98 @ gmail.com

Cheryl said...

What an inspiring story! I don't really know how the reading bug hit me. Neither or my parents nor my 3 brothers are readers but I've been one as far back as I can remember. I've added your book to my wish list - looking forward to reading it.

Erin T said...

Wow. What a great story you have. I am very sure your parents and grandparents are looking down from heaven and are very proud of you. Congrats on making your dreams come true!

krisgils33 said...

great post! congrats on the release!!

petite said...

What a heartwarming and beautiful story. I was captivated and entranced with your background and life. No wonder you can write. You are talented and special. Congratulations and best wishes for much success and happiness. I hope that 2012 is a special year for you.

traveler said...

Your talent is amazing and your determination to keep on writing is inspiring and gratifying. I enjoyed your post today since it is a true and real life story of your struggles and achievement. Continue to write since you are fortunate to have this ability. You deserve this success and I hope that you travel to Italy. I will be reading your books.

Virginia said...

Congrats on your new release. I read some when I was real young because I had to for school but when I was about 13 I got a copy of Gone With the Wind and then I got hooked on reading romance. I would go through reading sprees and then stop for a while. Now I just read all the time.

Maria G. Swan said...

Whoa!!I got Gemma's e-mail while waking up. I'm reading the comments and wiping tears off my keyboard.Thank you so much. Mille grazie. By the way, Gemma is one of the kindest most giving best selling authors I know. Honestly. By the way, Gemma is a very popular name in Italy, how about that? Thank you again.

Rebekah E. said...

congrats on your release in Italy.

mullymoon said...

what an inspiring story! You can make your dreams come true despite what may interrupt them. Always go back to your true love! Congratulations!

Na said...

That attic sounds like a wonderful place to be. Thank you for an inspiring story of having to learn the English language and being able to share stories in it. Congratulationson your recent release. I hope 2012 turns out to be a GREAT year for you!

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/FieryNa/status/158270508775915521

Stacie said...

How wonderful to have your book released in Italy! My mom always read romance. My dad is an avid reader too. I stole my mom's copy of the Thornbirds when I was really young. That was my first ever romance reading experience.

geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

Maria G. Swan said...

Thanks again. Na, I noticed you are from Canada. Uncle's Agostino family lives in Canada, small world. Thank you for tweeting, can I get a link to your blog? I tried to do it on my own, did not succeed.

catslady said...

Wonderful post. How wonderful to have learned all those languages. All my ancestors are Sicilian and they all spoke a dialect around the house but although I know some words, I never learned it. When a book is translated into another language, who does the translating? You or someone else? If someone else, do you get to approve the translation? Thanks.

Jane said...

I love the twitter story. Congrats on the book deal, Maria.

Maria G. Swan said...

Catslady, the publisher picks the translator, and the translator gets credit, in general below the title. I expect it will be a woman translating my book because I received a few e-mail from Italian ladies, with questions regarding some phrases in the book. By the way, because I have been out of Italy since the 60s, my Italian is 'dated' I still speak the way I did back then when I go back to visit. I'm reading a giallo Mondadori, by Robert W. Walker. I promised him a review in Italian on the Italian Amazon.com. Working on it.

Kristi said...

Congratulations on your Italy release. I hope 2012 is good to you. It's nice to see you on here again.

Refhater said...

Congrats on your Italian release! And, what an amazing story.. Welcome to K.F. Maria!

refhater2@yahoo.com

RedPeril said...

Wow...now that is inspiring!
I can't tell you how much I admire your grasp and apparent mastery of multiple languages. What a treat to have your book picked by your native country--everything coming full circle.

Thank you for sharing. ^_^ May your 2012 make up for your difficulties in 2010 many times over.

~Angela Blount

glittergirl said...

Wow what an inspiring tale of perseverance. Good for you. I am in awe of anyone who speaks more than one language and her you speak, read and write in 3. WOW. Good luck in the future! glittergirl54 at ymail dot com

Sarah S. said...

Thanks for the great post and congrats on the new release.

Alison said...

Congrats on the release!!

Mo said...

Wow, what a roller coaster ride you're life has been so far. Congrats on the Italian release. I starting reading mysteries with the books my grandmother shared with my in grade school. Your parents and grandparents must be looking down on you with pride.

blackroze37 AT yahoo.com said...

i always wonder what happen if you couldnt learn a mate's language, ( i so cant speak anything but southern )

Maria G. Swan said...

It's 10:52 PM in Phoenix and I'm reading all the wonderful messages and I feel so invigorated and so thankful. What a great group of people. Special thanks to Gemma who is a shining example of kindness and generosity.

eggertslp said...

Thanks for the book referral, Gemma! I just donwloaded it to my kindle- can't wait to read it!

Michele L. said...

Totally awesome blog post! I got hooked on reading because my mom always read me stories when I was kid. Then my mom took me to the library and I would get kids books and take them home. I would read them over and over.

As I got older my mom loved reading gothic romance and loaned me one of her books. I was immediately hooked! I loved Phyllis A. Whitney and Victoria Holt. From then on I have had a love affair with books.