Our latest Lit IT Girl: Rosanna Chiofalo Why we love her: We heart discovering fabulous new authors!
Her debut: Bella Fortuna
The Scoop on it: Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice.
But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna--good luck--isn't what you're given, but what you make.
Our thoughts: Liz lent this one to her friend Jean, who said it best: Bella Fortuna is a novel about friendship and family. Chiofalo writes a beautiful story about the struggles, fantasies, luck and second chances that come along with finding true love. Bella Fortuna is a wonderful portrayal of Italian-American life and a compelling story about destiny!
Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! We'll choose the winners on Monday, September 3rd after 3pm PST.
Fun Fact: Rosanna met her future mother-in-law while on jury duty. She then introduced her to her hubs! Cute!
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...LIT IT GIRL:DEBUT AUTHOR ROSANNA CHIOFALO
1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I worked in publishing for twenty years as a copywriter/copy director and developed a few contacts. I was able to connect with an editor through one of my publishing contacts, and after submitting an outline and four chapters of my novel, my publisher bought the submission.
2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? That would be the token "Although your writing is very strong, we can't accept your submission at this time." I never quite understood that; however, I did realize it's important to offer some constructive criticism along with the rejection!
3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? The first thought that comes to mind was that I was working full time while writing my debut novel on weekend mornings. Since I hadn't seen my characters or was in their lives for a week, I'd have to reacquaint myself, so to speak, with what had happened in their lives when I last wrote. Also, making sure that what I had written in the earlier parts of the novel was consistent with what I had written in the latter half of it.
4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? My best advice was staying true to myself and writing about what I loved and knew best. My worst advice would have to be something that's told to many aspiring writers, which is to follow whatever writing trends are hot at the moment. Many aspiring writers write based on whatever genre is the hottest or selling the most at the moment, and if you aren't already a fan of that genre and/or reading it on a regular basis, your writing can come across as very stilted.
5. How did you celebrate your book deal? I went out to an ultra fancy restaurant with my husband. We're big foodies and love having special occasions to celebrate at one of our favorite restaurants or at a new place we haven't discovered yet. I also treated myself to a beautiful necklace. Jewelry is my weakness!
6. Who is your writer crush? There are so many. It's hard to choose just one. I love the novels that Cathy Lamb writes, which are often about the strong bonds of family and friends in women's lives. Her favorite novel of mine is HENRY'S SISTERS. Although I discovered Judy Blume as an adolescent, I still love to reread some of her novels. And I especially love her adult novel SUMMER SISTERS. I had heard about Daphne DuMaurier's REBECCA for so many years and last year, I finally read it. I still get chills down my spine when I think about that book and how brilliant it is. And two of my favorite classics are Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES and Charles Dickens' DAVID COPPERFIELD.
7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? Oh, you're going to make me choose just one again? Okay. I'd have to say LUCIA, LUCIA by Adriana Trigiani. I cried for Lucia during and after I finished reading the book, and she still pops into my mind now and then. I love, love, LOVE that book, and if I were stranded on a desert island I'd want a book that is as engrossing as that book is.
8. What's on your iPod right now? LMAO, Cristina Perri, Lady Gaga, U2, Adele. I'm also a big '80s child much to the chagrin of my husband!
9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Massages, especially an intense deep-tissue massage. I get the worst knots in my shoulders and upper back probably because I'm a Virgo who over-analyzes everything! But even when I don't have knots that need to be worked on, I love how relaxed I feel after a massage. I make sure to get one every time I go on vacation as well.
10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? My recipe for Palline di Limone Biscotti (Glazed Lemon Cookies). Once you pop one of these flavorful lemon cookies in your mouth, you'll be telling everyone how good they are! But even if EW doesn't put my cookies as their bullseye, you can get the recipe in the back of Bella Fortuna!
Thanks Rosanna! xoxo, L&L