Today I am proud to be one of the stops on Barbara Conelli’s blog tour celebrating the release of her latest book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore. Read on to learn more about travel writing and journalism–and stay tuned for the chance to win a lovely journal.
Without further ado, let’s begin:
1. Can you tell us a bit about your book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore?
I’d love to! Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore is a sequel to my previous book Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita. In these two Chique Travel Books, I guide readers through the city of Milan and the surrounding areas, and I show them the country I’ve always been in love with, through my eyes: my favorite cafés and restaurants, my friends and neighbors, delicious food, intoxicating tastes and smells, all those lovely hidden nooks and crannies, and even ghosts and mysteries. Everything that has been a big part of my life for so long, and everything there is to love about Italy.
With these books, my intention is to capture the real face of Italy, its soul, the character of its people, the passion, and especially the art of living and loving your life. Italians know that the key to a passionate, long-lasting love affair with your life is to be open to the magic of life, to the little everyday things that matter the most: friendship, good food, the charm of ordinary life that we so often ignore. And this is what I want to convey. The real dolce vita is not grandiose, and you can live it even in your own backyard. (Although I admit that in Italy it’s definitely a little bit more delicious.)
2. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
I learned to read and write at the age of four, and I’ve never stopped. Writing has been such a natural part of my life that for a long time I didn’t even think of pursuing it professionally. When I wrote Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita, I thought it would be a good Christmas gift for friends and family. But this book baby soon took off, and I realized that although I was many things, I had always been a writer first and foremost.
3. How did you break into the travel writing market?
The travel writing market found me! I have never written a query letter, yet opportunities constantly seem to be flowing into my life. It’s like magic. I believe in doing good work, in working hard and with passion. It always pays off.
4. You’ve said that you’re on a mission to bring “Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun” into women’s lives–what exactly do you mean by “Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun”?
When you live in Italy, you realize that Italian women are absolutely amazing. They are smart, self-confident, they live with zest and gusto, they are pretty carefree and know how to think big and live large. Their joy of life is almost palpable. To me, Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun means just that: appreciating every minute of this magical gift called life, and making the most of it. Sometimes we cry tears of laughter, and sometimes we cry tears of pain, but life doesn’t necessarily need to be easy: it only must be lived to the fullest.
5. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
This is an interesting question because I don’t find writing hard at all. It energizes me, and it’s the most natural, authentic thing in the world. I always say that to me, writing is like breathing, and it’s true. I have never experienced writer’s block. Writing is my calling, my purpose, and it makes my heart sing.
6. How is travel writing different from other kinds of writing?
I write narrative travel non-fiction, which basically means travel stories that are real but written in fiction-style. Although I’m working on a novel in my spare time, I still love and prefer to write about the things I know and the wonderful adventures I’ve experienced. It’s amazing to be able to take my readers with me through the pages of my book, and show them the beauty of this world.
7. Who are three authors you admire and why?
Simona Sparaco, a young Italian author who has written two fabulous novels so far, and her style is extraordinary. If I ever start taking fiction seriously, I want to write like her. Mamen Sánchez, a Mexican author whose novel “Agua del limonero” is totally captivating. And Marina Mayoral, a Spanish author as well. I read her book “Recóndita armonía” when I was sixteen and I was deeply touched by the story and her writing.
8. What do you think is the most important piece of advice for aspiring writers to remember?
Actually, there are three things. One, don’t talk about writing, write. Two, take your writing career seriously but always have fun doing it. Three, don’t let anyone ruin your dreams for you, and create your own definition of success.
9. If you could go back and do one thing in your writing career differently, what would it be?
Nothing. I believe in the divine timing, I’m grateful for the “failures” and “mistakes” because they help me be a wiser person and a better writer. I never look back – I learn and move on. I live in the present and I look forward to the future.
10. What are you working on that readers can look forward to?
Right now I’m in Rome doing research for my next book. (Research basically means trying out new restaurants, talking to fascinating people, and discovering enchanting places off the beaten track.) My next Chique Travel Book is going to be about Rome, and I can promise this book has many surprises in store for you. I feel it’s going to be extraordinary. Also, later this year I’m going to publish a wonderful travel anthology that contains stories written by amazing, very talented authors. And I’m getting ready to create my own magazine, which is an exciting new venture and a challenge I’m very enthusiastic about. Life’s good!
Keep scrolling to find the giveaway…
Barbara Conelli is an internationally published bestselling author, seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy, and Chiquenist on the mission to bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women’s lives. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world. http://www.barbaraconelli.com
You can purchase a copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore here.
Barbara has kindly offered to give away a beautiful Italian journal to one lucky reader here at Dianna’s Writing Den. For a chance to win the contest, comment below and leave me your name and email address.
To get a second chance to win the contest, Tweet about it and send me the link in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the hashtag #Chiquebook in your Tweet.
The contest will be open until the end of this month, at which time one lucky winner will be contacted via email so the journal can be transported to them.