Tuesday, November 07, 2017

An Interview with Annalisa Russo

Welcome Annalisa Russo to the spot in the garden where we get to know the authors. She has a new book coming soon. All Hearts Come Home for Christmas

Tell us about your writing...

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write? 
I started out using an outline, but quickly switched to plotting cards. I use 3x5 index cards: using 120 cards for my regular historical romances, divided into 3 acts, 20%, 60%, 20%. I’ve been tempted to buy Scrivener software, a project management tool for authors, but the tech knowledge required might be above my pay grade. Of course, I can also purchase “Scrivener for Dummies” along with the software if I decide to give it a try!

Do you have trouble saying goodbye to characters? 
Yes. For my Cavelli Angel Saga, I got so tied up in the characters that I couldn’t let gooooo. What started out as a trilogy became a quartet. Seth Truitt and Meg Cavelli, both children in the first three books, come back as adults in the last book of the series: Angel Boy. My fans are clamoring for more Cavelli family books. I’m considering a spin off featuring Meg Cavelli and her husband Seth in a female sleuth series since Meg got her ticket as a “lady dick” (i.e. female detective) in Angel Boy.

Do you have set times during the day that you write? 
I’m an early riser. My body clock was set from all the years of teaching in an intermediate school. My students arrived promptly at 7:25 am, so my alarm clock was always set for 5:00. My body clock hasn’t gotten the message that I can sleep later now.

How do you get to know your story characters better? 
I spend a lot of time on the external and internal profiles of the two main characters (sometimes for days). I never skip this step. I feel you must get to know your characters as real people before you know how they think and will act in any given situation. If you know what motivates them, your plot moves along briskly because plot is intertwined with characterization.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Growing up in a large Italian family, my message practically wrote itself: love of family, the defining factor in a person’s development. The Cavellis are a close-knit family with loyalty and love for one another, an important element in today’s world as well as a hundred years ago.
Now we want to know more about you...

Who do you see as a hero in your life? My mother would fill that spot. My father died at forty-two leaving a wife and five kids the youngest at five years old and the oldest (me) at seventeen. Being a stay-at-home-mother all her life, my mother struggled to make enough money to support us. She did that very well, kept a clean house, food on the table, and was a wonderful role model. How she managed to keep it together and raise all five of us on her own is an inspirational story.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Hands down, no question, a teacher. I wanted to teach from the time I could read a book. But when I found I couldn’t support myself and three children on a teacher’s salary, I switched to another field, only to come back to teaching, my first love, years later. During those years, I wrote. Anything that struck my fancy: children’s books, short stories, etc. I call them my “under-the-bed-books.” Maybe someday I’ll take them out and see if anything is worth salvaging.

Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript? No, but my cat, Buster, featured in my new Christmas book: All Hearts Come Home for Christmas, has used my writing space as a bed a time or two. He lays all over any papers I might have left there and kicks them off the desk. There is always a mess to clean up before I attack the computer for the day.

What is your favorite comfort food? Anything Italian, or from a diner, like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. My favorite Italian meal is polenta and Italian sausage. When I make it, my kitchen smells like my grandmother’s.

What is your favorite time of year and why? 
From Thanksgiving to Christmas. I LOVE the holidays and had so much fun writing my Christmas book, I plan to do one every year! Our large family has expanded significantly over the years—34 members now and one in the oven. Traditionally, we always spend Christmas Eve together for good food, comradery, and joy in the season.

      And where can we find out more about you

To purchase All Hearts Come Home for Christmas

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