An Interview with Maria Grazia Swan: Author & Realtor
Sylvia: Welcome Maria. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Maria: Hello Sylvia, so kind of you to do this. I’m Italian born and I’m lucky to have dual citizenship. Writing always was my passion. It became a little complicated when we kept moving from country to country. By we I mean my parents first and my husband later. At some point I found myself all grown up and alone, okay, sort of alone. Divorced. I filled my nights with writing and reading and critique groups. Joined Sisters in Crime and got serious about the business because, let’s face it writing is a passion, but publishing is a business. I’m still divorced and loving it. I sell Real Estate in Phoenix Arizona and many of my clients are also single, so as a hobby I try to match them and it works out swell, have 3 good matches so far. And a lot of good stories to tell. I have a non-fiction book where I collected some of my work-matchmaking adventures, but that’s not the book I want to talk about.
Sylvia: Wow, you have such an interesting life. Because of your life experiences, you are able to help others. What inspired you to write your first book?
Maria: One word; Divorce! Yes. My husband of 25 years left me for a girl younger than our kids. It didn’t hurt that he had just made a lot of money. What can I say? One can get richer, in better shape, better dressed, well read, but one cannot get younger. I was devastated. Decided to do it cold turkey, no sleeping pills, or booze, I wanted to make sure I never, ever forgot what it felt like. I ended up spending my sleepless nights writing and after about a year I had a new book and a new boy friend. The book is Love Thy Sister, it was first published traditionally, at some point the rights reversed back and I went with self publishing. I remained friend with my in laws and when my father in law read the book, he said “Is it just me or do I recognize some of the characters?” We both had a good laugh. He was correct of course. That was my revenge.
Sylvia: I commend you for finding a way to get thru such a life changing time. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Maria: Never give up. Keep the faith. My protagonist is also Italian born and at some point she feels so alone she wants to die, but she doesn’t. Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out the rest.
Sylvia: Awwww, I love that! ‘Never Give Up.’ A former boss retired and started a second career as a consultant and that is what she named her firm. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Maria: Writing is a lonely profession. However, if you want to be a writer, you must write. I think that some writers are more talented than others, or luckier, regardless I’m convinced that perseverance plays a large role on getting published. Don’t give up, you never know when lightning will strike.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Maria: With social media changing daily it is a challenge to work, write and market your books. I had great success with Kindle select until Amazon changed the rules regarding freebies. Reviews and word of mouth are the best. 99% of my readers are women and I’m building a niche among women with Italian background or connections.
Sylvia: Great! Why should we buy your book?
Maria: I tell people, look, you not only get a story that will keep you turning the pages, you’ll learn a few swear words in Italian and you get a glimpse at life in the Northern part of Italy, the Dolomites to be exact. Take a chance, you’ll like it. It’s murder Italian style.
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Maria: Absolutely.Not always the best way to live, but yes, there is something about familiarity and routines…the last time I moved I couldn’t write for about 6 weeks, I was getting pretty depressed, and then it happened… I do need complete silence. I know, I’m weird that way.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Maria: Love Thy Sister became the first book in the Mina’s adventures series. Bosom Bodies is #2. By the way Bosom Bodies just got a brand new cover because I published it when I was going through my ‘purple’ phase and the cover was a purple blob! The book did well, with women sending fan letters to Diego also known as the Mystery Man. Not making this up, and I get private messages on Facebook from readers swearing to secrecy if I tell them what happens in book #3. Book #3 is my present project, if all goes well it will be out in November and so far I have been able to keep everything secret. The title is going to be Italian Summer and it is taking place in Italy where Mina goes to revisit her place of birth.
I am often asked what is the most difficult obstacle to overcome when writing in a language that isn’t your mother tongue.
Of course spelling is hard as I grew up with the Italian Alphabet that only has 21 letters. Want to know the missing ones? X w j y k, there you have it. And also the fact that in Italian everything, is either feminine or masculine, no neutral, no IT. So a chair or a table is a she and a hat is a he and if I talk fast and get excited I get very confused and start calling your bed he and your car she…and people think I’m weird. Maybe I am a little different but that’s because I’m Italian and I often express myself with my hands…if you have questions regarding anything Italian don’t hesitate to contact me, if I don’t have the answer, I know where to find it. Ciao!
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Maria: Believe. Life taught me many lessons, but above all it taught me to believe in myself and the rest will follow.
Sylvia: Maria, it has been a pleasure, thank you! Please share your social media and book contact information.
Maria: I appreciate this Sylvia, thank you! Below is my contact.
- Website: www.mariagraziaswan.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MariaGraziaSwan
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/scrittrice