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Published in Author Interview

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Published in Author Interview

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Writing a biography is difficult to write in some respects

According to Mario, Research and gathering facts about writing any non-fiction involves great hard work than the fiction. Read full interview including important topic about writing a biography. Mario Dell’Olio is the author of several books: Letters from Italy is the love story of his immigrant parents. A memoir, Coming About: Life in the Balance, is about a sailing adventure ...
Mario

According to Mario, Research and gathering facts about writing any non-fiction involves great hard work than the fiction. Read full interview including important topic about writing a biography.

Mario Dell’Olio is the author of several books: Letters from Italy is the love story of his immigrant parents. A memoir, Coming About: Life in the Balance, is about a sailing adventure going terribly wrong. Body And Soul, is an LGBTQA+ fiction that explores the strife of coming out during the 1980s.

This talk is about in details of his journey writing his latest non-fiction book, “Letters from Italy” and covering many other important things

Do you think writing non-fiction is easy? Tell us more about your experience of writing a biography and how hard or easy it was from writing fictional characters?

All of my stories feature characters searching for deeper meaning in their life experiences. Non-fiction is more difficult to write in some respects. The research and fact-checking take a great deal of time. Getting the timeline correct was a constant struggle. Another challenge I found after I had all the facts written was writing the narrative to frame the story. Facts can be very dry. I needed to get into the hearts and minds of the characters in order to re-create dialogue. Making it come alive was my greatest challenge. 

Writing fiction has different challenges. The writer has to come up with a viable plot and arc to the story. In non-fiction, the story is already in existence. I love writing both fiction and narrative non-fiction.

Could you please tell us in details about the book, ''letters from Italy'' and how special this book is for you?

Letters From Italy is narrative non-fiction of a love story about my immigrant Italian parents. My mother and father were always storytellers. Framed by letters written from the 1930s to the 1950s, I recount the experiences of my parents, who emigrated from southern Italy to New York City. Nicoletta was orphaned at a young age, and her position in life changed dramatically. Her family struggled to make ends meet after the war, and her dreams of higher education were dashed.

Orazio Dell’Olio was born into a poor family split between Italy and the United States. Half of his siblings grew up in New York, while he and three of his siblings remained in Italy. His dream of joining his family didn’t come to pass until he was twenty years old.

Tales of their childhood in a little town on the Puglian coast beget images of a fishing village, families from different socio-economic classes, and of love born out of chance.

Their romance began in 1950 when my uncle sent a photograph of his new fiancé to his parents in New York City. Orazio spotted an attractive young woman in the photo. What ensued was two years of correspondence. The letters he received from Italy were his life-line. Eventually, they led to their first encounter in the town of Bisceglie, Bari. Married nearly sixty years at the time of my father’s death, theirs was a love story like no other I have known. 

The most difficult scenes to write were those where my mother or father left family and friends behind, risking stability in hopes of a better life, a dream of the unknown. Reaching deeply into their struggles and fears, I tried to communicate the intensity of their experiences.

The easiest parts to write were scenes that described their longing for each other, and their two-year courtship through expressive love letters. One of my favorite chapters was when they finally meet. The connection between Nicoletta and Orazio is palpable. There was such adoration and heartfelt emotion in their first encounter.

My mother, now 90 years old, is very special to me. During the four years it took to write letters from Italy, I came to know my parents as young, romantic dreamers. Most of us know our parents solely from the perspective of a child. The many hours spent with my mother, listening to her story and reading the letters she and my father wrote, gave me an intimate perspective into who they were/are as complex individuals. This book means more to me than all the others I've written.

How did you feel on the day of the NYC Book Launch at Bryant Park? Was it a dream coming true? Moreover, tell us one of the inspirational stories every writer should know from the book launch.

Having my book launch at Bryant Park Grill in New York City was a dream come true. The setting was quintessential NYC, flanked by the New York Public Library, 42nd Street, and the beautiful Bryant Park. It couldn't have been more beautiful. The gathering included a journalist from “La Voce di New York,” parents of my students—past and present, and friends from many stages in my life. They were all there to support me and celebrate my accomplishment. Having some of the most important people in your life at a book launch makes it all the more special. The party was filled with love.

Have you come across any other love story? Furthermore, is there any other book you are writing at the moment? If yes, please tell us in short for your readers.

My life’s journey has been imbued with the lessons I’ve learned through the challenges I’ve overcome. Each significant person in my life has taught me more about myself and my ability to love and be loved. This theme is present in all my books, whether they be fiction or non-fiction. Reflecting on one’s life and experiences yields a profound understanding of self and can help guide the individual as they continue their journey. Ultimately, each of my main characters follows a path of self-discovery. My next love story will be published in December 2022 by Black Rose Writing. It is called, Tilting Toward the Sun. It is about two men who fall in love. They face the tumultuous 1980s and 90s. Amidst the AIDS crisis, they navigate a world of fear and uncertainty as they seek not only to survive but to thrive. Tilting Toward the Sun is a journey of undying devotion and love through the decades. As youth turns to maturity, they grapple with life’s challenges, reaching for the elusive happily ever after. Tilting Toward the Sun is an #OwnVoices story.

What are your favourite genres for reading. Please enlist the recent books you have read and one good thought from them which will help the aspiring writers.

I love reading historical fiction, coming of age stories, and contemporary fiction. I prefer realistic plots where the characters discover more about themselves. I enjoy complex relationships within a story, conflict, and resolution. I also enjoy stories that don't follow a formula for a particular genre, such as romance or fantasy. I like writers who think outside the box and do their own thing.

Join us in celebrating the power of #storytelling

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