Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was an Army Officer, a business executive in the power engineering and construction field, and an entrepreneur. By the time I retired, I had already published three business books based on management systems I had developed. I found out soon enough that retirement was boring. I looked for something interesting to do, and I had a brainstorm. I had an exciting life, traveled all over the world, and met many fascinating people, some accomplished enough to qualify as Renaissance men and women. The more I thought about it, the more I wished to use my treasure trove of experience and write about them in some fashion. I could have written an engaging memoir, but I concluded that writing a novel sounded more fun. The first book, Tess Awakening, broke many conventions of storytelling, and I acquired a small but devoted group of fans. That encouraged me to make the Tess adventures a series, so now I have five published novels and more on the way.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I often weep real tears at the opera and classical concerts. I don’t know if I can attribute such behavior to extreme emotional sensitivity or perhaps low testosterone.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
You don’t want to know.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I am obsessed with punctuality. To do otherwise is to show a lack of respect for others.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Eritrea, in East Africa, to Italian parents. The country borders Ethiopia, and it’s a fascinating place. Asmara, the capital, is a world Heritage place due to the Art Deco architecture inherited from the Italians when they invaded during the Mussolini years. Ethiopia was a monarchy until 1974. Ethiopia and Eritrea use the ancient Ge'ez script, which is one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world. A majority of the population is Christian, and around a third follows Islam. The country is known for Coptic churches dug into the earth, and Axum for its obelisks. The country is the purported keeper of the Ark of the Covenant, and local lore makes it the ancient kingdom of the Queen of Sheba. A Jewish population going back a thousand years lived in isolation and developed against modern Jewish practice, yet align perfectly with rituals from the time of the Second Temple, described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Between 1979 and 1990, most of the population was transported to Israel.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Sitting in front of a symphony orchestra with a glass of brandy and listening to music.
Who is your hero, and why?
I admired my late beloved wife, a renaissance woman who I used as the model for Tess. I also much admire two exceptional classical pianists: Martha Argerich and Juja Wang. These artists define perfection and spectacular skill. I modeled Tess’s playing the piano as a homage to them.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Probably a benevolent dictator with no heirs. They generally mess things up afterward.
What are you passionate about these days?
Anyone that read my books will soon find out that I am passionate about strong women, music, arts, architecture, fine cars, and gourmet dining. I am also passionate about books of all kinds, including history, which regrettably repeats itself.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I listen to music and stream French, Spanish, and Italian murder mysteries just to challenge myself.
How to find time to write as a parent?
My daughter is grown up and on her own.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Pragmatic, low key, skeptical, discerning, and respectful.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing business books and articles, but I came into my own with my novels. Not only are they more fun to write, but they provide me with an outlet to express who I am.
Do you have a favorite movie?
The Da Vici Code, Angels and Demons and Gladiator, mostly because Hans Zimmer composed the soundtracks.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them. My fans keep saying that Tess would make a killer TV series. I started writing a script, so who knows?