So excited to be interviewing Maria Chiara Marsciani, author of Urbino, Unexpectedly. You can see a review and enter to win one of three signed copies over here, I loved this interview and Chiara’s responses and hope y’all do too!
1.) Hello Chiara, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview! I am so happy to have you here on Electively Paige and I’m sure I speak for not only myself but my reader’s as well when I say I look forward to hearing more about you. I’m sure you’ve been asked this before but when was it that you first realized you wanted to be an author? Have you always enjoyed writing?
Hi Paige, thank you for asking me to be part of your fun and interesting Blog. It’s very exciting!
I can’t remember my passion for writing having a beginning, I just know that since the day I learned how to hold a pen in my hands I started expressing my feelings through it. As a child, I wasn’t an avid reader, associating books more with homework than with pleasure, but during the middle school years everything changed thanks to “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” two of books the teacher gave us as a summer reading assignment. From that time on, a book to read, a personal diary to fill up with memories, secrets, or hopes and a notebook in which to record my stories have always been at my side (or in my big messy bag). The decision to become an author, instead, it happened very recently. A couple of years ago, when I started writing ‘Urbino, Unexpectedly’, I wasn’t planning to publish it, but then I was diagnosed with a tumor of the parotid gland and something in my mind clicked. Suddenly, there was no time to waste anymore and the only thing I could think of was ‘Why not?’
2.) I found that while reading Urbino,Unexpectedly that the book read almost like a memoir as Clara and the other characters were just so vividly created that I just couldn’t help but be swept into the story that it truly felt like I was reading from a real person’s perspective, reading about Clara. Did you have that intention when writing the book or did it just happen naturally?
It was intentional and I’m happy you noticed. I wanted the story to be Clara’s world from Clara’s point of view. In the beginning of the book, she is so choked up by family expectations and social pressure that she doesn’t even know she has a point of view. But like for many of us, everything she needs in order to find her own voice is already in her and ready to come out. She just has to find the courage to believe in herself and to let her inner-self bloom.
3.) I just find it so amazing that you were raised in Italy, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit and certainly plan to someday. Anyways, that’s one of my favorite parts of the book- knowing that you are actually from the country you write about makes the book just come alive more. Do you feel like your experiences growing up played a strong hand in the writing of your book?
Yes. I’m deeply emotionally attached to all the places where the novel is set. Not only they are the places where I grew up and that molded my personality, but they are also the places where my family still lives. I never name Clara’s town, but while I was writing, I definitely had in mind my hometown, Rimini. In Urbino, the hill town where Clara and Leo meet, I have a lot of happy memories of fun day trips with my parents and, San Leo, the gorgeous fortified town where Clara and Leonardo go for their first date, is my favorite place to visit when I am in Italy. But it’s not only about the settings because in ‘Urbino, Unexpectedly’ there are a lot of my own struggles, difficulties and doubts.
4.) What else do you feel like has strongly influenced your writing of this book? Are you the type to listen to music as you write, or do you prefer the quiet?
When I write, I try to follow a routine that helps me to get into the right mood. Usually I sit in front of my computer and I read the news, then I answer emails and I drink a cup of barley coffee (yes, it’s an Italian thing!), but what comes later can change every day and I really never know: one day I need to shut the world outside keeping the room in total silence and closing the blinds, and a few days later I need the sun to come in and music in my ears. One thing never changes though, if it is a music day, music needs to be injected directly into my ears with earphones and it needs to be the same song infinitely repeated. Sometimes even for hours. One of the songs that helped me the most, especially in the final revision, was “Eblouie par la nuit” by Zaz. One afternoon I played it 175 times (almost five hours).
5.) Can you tell us a few of your current favorite books?
From my childhood ‘The wizard of Oz’, from my adolescence ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and from my adult life ‘War and Peace’. The last one that recently left a mark is definitely Stieg Larsson Trilogy ‘The girl with a dragon tattoo’. I find Lisbeth’s personality irresistible.
6.) I have to ask… What else is currently in the works? Any future books you’d like us to know about?
I’m almost finished writing my next novel. It is about a happy family that moves to the other side of the US following the husband’s dream job, but what it is supposed to be the best time of their life turns out to be a disaster. And…in this book there is also a mysterious sudden death that upsets the whole neighborhood’s balance.
7.) Seeing as I’m still new whole interviewing process, is there anything else you want potential readers to know about the woman behind the book?
Now, you make me blush, I’m not really used to talk about myself. Let’s see… I adore my daughter and spending time with her. Looking at her growing more and more every day into a woman is an amazing adventure. I love taking care of plants even if my excessive care unfailingly kills them. I love animals, nature and have a house full of pets. My favorite food is pizza.
Let me thank you for giving me the wonderful opportunity to be on your Blog and thank you also to all your readers for listening. Ciao!