TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery.
Suzanne: Thank you for having me!
TQ: When and why did you start writing?
Suzanne: When I was little I wrote all the time. Then... life happened. I began writing in earnest in 2008. I just sat down one day and began to type.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Suzanne: I use all caps a lot. And I like staccato sentences. But mostly? I can't do what other writers do... eat certain foods or wear certain clothes. When I'm writing? I'm writing until my fingers cramp up. Literally. Curl up.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Suzanne: PANTSER. Sometimes I don't even know where the story is going and then a character says something and I'm like "OH!" But: Note: When I revise? I am fixing the plot. Filling the holes. So I guess I plot when I revise.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Suzanne: TIME! And insecurity. And a feeling of being lost in a vast ocean with all the other wonderful books out there. How to make your own novel shine? Should it? It's a terrible, wonderful feeling.
TQ: Describe The Witch of Little Italy in 140 characters or less.
Suzanne: A young woman in trouble moves in with three magical old ladies, unearthing 50 year old secrets that will heal or shatter their family.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Witch of Little Italy?
Suzanne: Being lost. Wanting to find what Elly found. Summers at the beach. My own great Aunts. Living in the Bronx. Also? A newspaper story, years and years ago about two spinster ladies who died, and what did they find in the house? Yeah. THAT'S A SPOILER. So I can't tell you!
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Witch of Little Italy?
Suzanne: I had to do some research on Far Rockaway and the amazing vacation destination that it once was. It's gone now. The historic buildings and boardwalks. The amusement parks. Also, a little history about WWII, because part of the book, the "Back Flashes" happen during that time. But I'm a history teacher by day... so that makes it easier.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Suzanne: Eleanor was the HARDEST character for me. We fought constantly. She woke me up at night telling me things. I'm still not sure if I explored her the way I should have. Or could... if I were to write the book now. I've learned so much since I finished that book.
Mama, Margaret Green, was the easiest. Because I loved her. And she loved me.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Witch of Little Italy?
Suzanne: I love the scene when my three old ladies come back from church through the garden gate and find Elly without shoes on, in the snow. I LOVE the scene when Elly and Liz visit the graveyard. I adore the whole part of the novel that involves "Fairview" (Where Mama's people came from)
TQ: What's next?
Suzanne: Due out in 2014 from Saint Martin's Press/Griffin is THE WITCH OF MAGNOLIA CREEK, a southern gothic, magical, murder mystery. It is a stand alone novel, but readers who enjoyed THE WITCH OF LITTLE ITALY will enjoy the subtle connections and recurring characters. I am very proud of that novel. It was hard work. But I felt... like an author when I finished it.
ALSO: I write under a pen name: Suzanne Hayes: The Novel "I'LL BE SEEING YOU" Mira Books, that I co-authored with Loretta Nyhan will be in stores MAY 28th! (Back to back book releases from two publishing houses is an experience, let me tell you!)
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Suzanne: Thank you for having me!
About The Witch of Little Italy
The Witch of Little Italy
St. Martin's Griffin, March 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
In Suzanne Palmieri’s charming debut, The Witch of Little Italy, you will be bewitched by the Amore women. When young Eleanor Amore finds herself pregnant, she returns home to her estranged family in the Bronx, called by “The Sight” they share now growing strong within her. She has only been back once before when she was ten years old during a wonder-filled summer of sun-drenched beaches, laughter and cartwheels. But everyone remembers that summer except her. Eleanor can’t remember anything from before she left the house on her last day there. With her past now coming back to her in flashes, she becomes obsessed with recapturing those memories. Aided by her childhood sweetheart, she learns the secrets still haunting her magical family, secrets buried so deep they no longer know how they began. And, in the process, unlocks a mystery over fifty years old—The Day the Amores Died—and reveals, once and for all, a truth that will either heal or shatter the Amore clan.
You may read an excerpt from The Witch of Little Italy at the Macmillan site here.
Her debut novel THE WITCH OF LITTLE ITALY will be published by Saint Martin's/Griffin on March 26, 2013, and has sold internationally. Her co-authored novel, I'LL BE SEEING YOU (written as Suzanne Hayes) will be published by Mira books on May 28, 2013, and has also sold internationally.
She lives by the ocean in Connecticut with her husband and three darling witches. Suzanne is represented by Anne Bohner of Pen and Ink Literary.
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