What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I’ve got brothers I’ve always been close to, my earliest neighborhood playmates were boys, I’m married and have raised 3 boys, so they aren’t a mystery to me. Plus my mother explained from her point of view how I should deal with my brothers. She also joked that raising boys was like raising puppies and that girls were much more difficult. I suppose this was because boys weren’t supposed to express their emotions whereas girls were expected to be more expressive. To some extent, this is still the case in many families. Besides that, the whole world I grew up in, everything was from a man’s point of view – what a woman should look and be like, what a leader should look like, what’s good entertainment, what’s proper behavior. I think it’s much more difficult for a man to get inside a woman’s head.
Since the book is from Sylvie’s point of view, I delve into her consciousness much more than into Enzo’s, but we get clues about why he is the way he is.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I want to focus my full attention on writing. I love all kinds of music so when it’s on, I can’t help focusing on it, so to be most productive, I keep it off.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Because I begin with the adage “write what you know,” mostly I do research as I go along. In “Sylvie Denied,” I researched material that isn’t prominent but that I needed to know for its details about 1960s geopolitics, political demonstrations, local cuisines in Italy, cities, geography and distances, weather conditions, laws, commercial apple-picking, local vegetation, local hangouts, the back-to-the-land movement..