Enjoy this interview with Barb Conelli who understands exactly how to help everyone experience la dolce vita.
Congratulations on the publication of your delightful novel Chique Secrets Of Dolce Vita! I think a lot of readers are going to be making plans to visit Italy once they read it. Tell us what you have been doing in the past two months.
First of all, I’d like to thank you, Patricia, for inviting me to your wonderful blog! The past two months have been beautifully, amazingly hectic. The Kindle edition of my book has become an Amazon.com bestseller in the travel category (#8, but I hope to get to #1 during the book tour thanks to the support of my fans), and I’ve been receiving wonderful feedback from my readers. I’ve been humbled by their encouraging words. Also, I’ve been working on this book tour, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity to get closer to my readers.
How did you first begin writing about la dolce vita and all things Italian? Obviously you have a family history.
Yes, my grandma was Italian, born in Milan, and the Italian influence has been big in our multicultural family. My Grandma made sure I knew and loved everything about Italy – the culture, the architecture, the nature, the history, the people, and of course the food! I keep and treasure Grandma Lily’s book of family recipes and each time my friends come to visit me, we have a real Italian feast! I’ve been writing short stories, essays and articles about Italy for as long as I can remember, and last year I decided to write a book where I could share my personal, intimate, passionate encounters with Milan.
Have you spent much time in Italy?
Yes, my Dad did lots of business with Italy, I spent there a large portion of my teenage years, I studied there later on, and I’ve always loved coming back to see my friends and family. Of course, I also had my heart broken in Italy a couple of times – in a very Dolce Vita way (wink). Those lost loves belong to my favorite memories.
There are some wonderful characters in your book. Are they real?
Yes, the characters are very important because they create the stories, the atmosphere, the zest and the vibe of the book. They are real – I just changed a couple of names to protect the privacy of my friends and relatives. I wanted to bring Italy into the homes of my readers through the hearts of real people, especially women, who have been creating the face of Milan without being famous or living in the spotlight. I love talking to people when I travel, and for some reason strangers love chatting with me! Which is a great asset when you’re writing a book – it makes research very easy and fun!
And the restaurants? Can they in fact be found by visitors to the areas?
Yes, the restaurants are actually my favorite restaurants that I visit each time I find myself in Milan. I love the people and the food and the atmosphere… And of course, the personal memories that come with them. But honestly, I think Italy is the only country in the world that has no bad restaurants. Whether it’s a family trattoria or a Michelin restaurant, you’ll eat like a Chique queen. So whenever you’re hungry, just open the door of the nearest ristorante, and you won’t be disappointed.
I was surprised to discover that Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita is a book to be enjoyed by everyone but particularly anyone planning a trip to the areas on which you focus. It’s a “must” to take along on travels as you share so much great information that most people would never discover on their own. Were you aiming at any particular reading audience?
Thank you, Patricia! I was definitely aiming at women who love to travel and explore the world, but also at those who dream of traveling the world and who are in love with everything Italian. I didn’t want to write a travel book, and I don’t consider myself a travel writer. Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita is not a travel guide, it’s a book that reveals the secrets of Italy and allows you to indulge in your own Dolce Vita no matter where you are in the world. It’s a book about sunny days, kind people, values that we sometimes seem to forget in today’s hectic world, and the art of finding pleasure in little everyday things.
Your blog is such fun and informative and leaves readers in a very upbeat frame of mind. Has this always been your approach to life?
Absolutely! You know, I believe that life is too short to worry about what may happen, and to be blue about what has already happened. I’ve had a fair share of disasters in my life but I always try to look at the sunny side of everything and look forward to the future with optimism and expectancy. I’m an adventurer, and I’m also very spiritual. I believe we are the creators of our own life, and everything that happens is here to teach us something. Life is beautiful, and I dare to say I’m happy even when I cry. And I know that when life feels like too much to handle, I can always catch the first plane to Italy.
What are some future plans you might share with us?
Lots and lots of travels, of course. I’m working on my new book that’s going to be published in October – my readers can look forward to another passionate dose of Dolce Vita. To me, writing is like breathing, and Italy is a place I can’t live without. Put these two together and you have a very Chique life purpose. I love my life, and I hope my joy and passion shines through the pages of my books and turns my writing into a highly contagious happiness bug! Patricia, thank you very much for this interview. You are a very Chique woman, and I’m honored to know you. I love The Bridge Club and I look forward to your new novel!
My thanks to you, Barbara. Your bright outlook and philosophy on life shine through in everything you do! It’s a pleasure to know you. Keep those blogs coming so we can continue to enjoy all the fantastico information you share. Can’t wait for your next book!
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