I'm sure most of you agree with me: the Net is a treasurable place for interesting acquaintances. It has got its pros and cons, of course, but ,so far , I can say I've just enjoyed lots of pros. Meeting talented, active, interesting people has enriched me so much! It is like being part of  what once was called  literary circle, usually in rich private homes. This online one is boundless and  opened to the whole world and  you can host, be guest, meet,  discuss and learn. Today I'm glad to introduce you one of my latest acquaintances, Maria Beatrice Panico , with whom I share my love for the English language and Mrs Gaskell's works among other things. We don't live far, we are both Italian ,but we only got in touch thanks to my blog. She's published a short novel she wrote both in Italian, as Cara Isabel, and in English, as Dear Isabel. I've read it, liked it and decided to ask her some questions. Here's our chat in English(! ) but we are both Italian ( ! ). 
Maria Beatrice has even granted you the chance to get a free copy of her book in English if you leave your comment and e-mail address after reading . The winner will be announced next Sunday, October 24. The giveaway is open worldwide.

   First of all, tell us something about yourself, Maria Beatrice
First of all let me thank you, Maria Grazia, for this wonderful opportunity. I’m so happy to speak with you and with the followers of your blog about my first novel. In the everyday life I’m a neurologist and a researcher in neuroscience, meaning that I work both with patients and animal models of human diseases.
          How comes that a doctor and a researcher starts writing novels?
     Writing is such a part of me that I cannot remember when I started writing. I have always been writing something since I was a child: my journal, poems, short stories, even a little novel. I often say that I was born with a book in one hand and a pen in the other!
         Rebecca, the protagonist of your book is a very  sensitive contemporary woman. Does she resemble you anyway?
There’s something in Rebecca that reminds me of myself. But she’s also her own self. She’s beautiful and she speaks several languages and has travelled a lot. Well, let’s say that she takes after some of my dreams, too.
 She writes letters to her friend, Isabel.  We don’t know much about her but she is Rebecca’s dearest friend. What is this mysterious character like? I mean, what should an ideal friend be like in your mind?
You see, when I wrote the first letter I was actually thinking about one of my closest friend. She lives quite far from Rome (where I live) , and we’re always missing each other and struggling to find a way to meet. Then, things began to change. I heard Rebecca’s voice and she started writing through myself. But Isabel is just the friend I have in my heart. Isabel is the true friend, the one we can tell everything, the one who cares so much for us to tell us the truth, the one we can always rely upon.
Letter writing... has it got sense in our times?
5.      Though she lives in our time, Rebecca writes letters and uses rather old-stylished language.Why? What are the reasons of your choice?
At first Rebecca is a suffering creature. Her heart is broken and she finds herself a stranger in this world where most people are rude, superficial and ignorant. She is a delicate, sensitive, passionate human being and she writes accordingly. Therefore, this elegant, old-stylished language is the language of her soul.
6.      Your male protagonist (AndrĂ©)  is incredibly romantic. He reminds 19th century heroes with his polite manners, elegance and gentle attitude. Is he inspired to anyone in particular?
 I’m in love with 19th century. I love the literature, the music, the art. I wanted Andrè to be a dream coming true, to be a ray of light in Rebecca’s life. So, yes, he’s the heroes of our favourite readings.

(Ugo Foscolo 1778 - 1827)
 What are your favourite writers?  The ones who most influenced you and your writing? 
How hard to name only some and not all the authors of the books I’ve read so far. But let’s say that I adore Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Tolstoj, Dante Alighieri, Giacomo Leopardi, Ugo Foscolo and Shakespeare and...oh how much time do we have??? For example, I have recently discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and David Nicholls. 

  What kind of reader are you? What are your favourite genres?  I read everything from poetry to history, from science to novels. The fact is that no matter how busy I am, I need to read everyday! It’s a sort of addiction, but as a doctor I’m not worried about it in the least!

David Nicholls

David Nicholls in Rome, September 2010. Maria Beatrice was there!
9.      Your novel was also published in English as Dear Isabel. Did you translated it yourself? How and where did you learn English?
I wrote it in Italian as Cara Isabel; then, I asked a professional translator, Mollie Wilson, to help me with the translation because, although I love English, I’m not a mother tongue and the novel required a high-level English language. I’ve been learning English since I was a child and I love this language. English is the language of the scientific community and the language of many of my beloved authors.
10  Now, present your book to our readers in less than 50 words.
Dear Isabel is the story of the return to life and hope of a beautiful person; it is the telling of what friendship and love can do in our lives. Moreover, it is my humble tribute to the magical powers of writing itself. 
Maria Beatrice in the mirror. Getting ready for ... success?
  Are you working on a new project these days? 
I’m working on many projects, but let’s say that there is one character who is really urging me to tell her story. Her name is Manon. Again a woman, but so different than Rebecca! I have other drafts, too. I’m always full of ideas and images and sensations. The only problem with me is finding enough time for writing.
12  What would you like to achieve as a writer?
I used to write for my eyes only. When I decided to publish something, this was my only wish: how I wish my words could help people to relax, to dream, to think, to express their own feelings in a clear voice. This is still my goal.
 Thank you, Maria Beatrice! Good luck, "in bocca al lupo!"  for your future projects and great success to your Dear Isabel! 

 Now it's your turn, readers and friends, to contribute your "words" to our pleasant chat, leave your e-mail address and have the chance to win Maria Beatrice Panico's book. Giveaway ends October 24th. Dear Isabel can be bought online at Amazon  or lulu.com  It can also be downloaded at a very cheap price from lulu.com 


buddyt said...

It sounds like a delicious mix between a modern story (based in the present day) and a historical (set in an earlier era.

If the author gets it right it should be a lovely read.

I would love to try it, so please enter me in the giveaway.

Thanks for allowing International entries.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

I have always liked stories in the form of letters. They imply intimacy, emotion, even secrets. I would love to read Maria's book . . .


John said...

Lindsay Rosenwald http://knol.google.com/k/lindsay-rosenwald/biography-of-lindsay-rosenwald/1o9w67occ8qjz/1 Biography Of Lindsay Rosenwald and various many achievements credited.