Welcome to the January 10, 2010 edition of The Fox Hole. Here’s hoping all you folks out there in the Ethernet are doing well and finding your way in the beginning of this fresh decade. Today I have as my guest the Italian born, well-traveled, and multi-published writer Laura Tolomei. I hope you find her as fascinating as I do. So, please pull up grab a pasticciotti, a Caffè latte, and join me in welcoming one incredible writer.
Welcome to The Fox Hole, Laura, I’m tickled to have you as my guest. Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
Well, Jesse, I’ve had an adventurous life from early on, a world traveller starting at the age of five when my parents left Rome, my birth city, to go to Nigeria, where I lived until I was ten. Then we moved to Atlanta, GA where I finished high school and went to college at Emory U. It was right about then I discovered my passion for writing, but it was too early to make a career out of it so I continued in my worldwide experience by living a brief spell in India, too, one of the greatest cultures on Earth, according to my modest opinion. When I moved back to Rome, I graduated in Political Science and today I work in the field of international trade so I can follow both my passions, writing and travelling. As for the former, I now have several published works in both Italian and English in a variety of fiction genres, going from contemporary to dark fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, horror, mystery, M/M, M/F & ménage. Some of my titles—maybe your readers remember, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat them—include: Trespassing All Hallows Eve, Divinitas, Sacrificial Sex, Roman Seduction, Spying the Alcove, Bloody Passion all published by eXtasy Books.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? If so when did you start writing?
Actually no, Jesse, even if I started writing In high school, I had no idea I wanted to become a writer until almost 30 years later. At the beginning, I managed to publish a short story, Nostalgia, in the high school’s journal. I continued in college, writing articles for Emory U’s Journal, The Phoenix, but when I returned to Rome, Italy, I concentrated on more “serious matters” like graduating, finding a job, blah, blah. Well, I had to live life for a long time, rather than write about it until I had to give voice to an experience that had tormented me since my American days. It came out as a novel, “Piccolo Crocevia a Cinque” (loosely translated “Little Five Points”), which will be in print December 2009. This set me right back on the writing track, although again it wasn’t a continuous commitment. I had to wait until a couple of years ago when I came to a turning point in my life, in order to decide to become a WRITER, expanding my production in English, too. So here, I am a writer or so it seems, though I still cannot believe I have a right to this title LOL
As a writer what inspires you?
Stories I either read in the thousand books I read in the past, saw in a movie, heard from friends, colleagues, but not only. History is a source of great inspiration and I often imagine how someone would live at that time and write a story on it.
Do you have any favorite writers?
Too many to count, but I’ll try listing them anyway, even if it’s far from comprehensive. Philip K. Dick, JRR Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Mitchell, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Jane Austin, Robert J. Sawyer, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Lindsey Davis, Ellis Peters, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Evelyn Waugh, Somerset Maugham, Ellery Queen, Katherine Kerr, Emilio Salgari, Umberto Eco, Elsa Morante, Alexandre Dumas, Fedor Dostoievski, Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Thomas Mann, Eric Maria Remarque, PD James, Marguerite Yourcenar, Simone De Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Miguel De Unamuno, Albert Camus, and many, many more. As you probably noticed, Jesse, they include a vast variety of genres and unbelievably, they’ve all influenced me and my writing either in the way they told the story or drew their characters. I feel rich inside for having read them all.
If you could live in any time or place–where and when would you choose?
I love these questions about time-periods because I’m a history lover, my heritage’s fault, no doubt. Being Italian and born in the city that ruled the known world of its time tends to make you look at the past with a lot of interest. That’s why many of my books contain strong historical references, even if disguised at times. In any case, I do have favorite time-periods. Strangely enough, Ancient Rome is not among them, though both Spying the Alcove and Roman Seduction are set in such era. I love Maya, Aztecs, and Incas particularly. Traces of their culture, along with their famous pyramids, can be found in Sacrificial Sex. I also love Celtic Britain, the Druids, the Arthurian myth in all the million ways it has been told, and no book tells it better than Bloody Passion, my Druid, hunter mystery release of last Halloween, even if echoes of it are also present in Trespassing All Hallows Eve. Of course, if readers really want to get into history, they shouldn’t miss Divinitas where the three stories not only happen in different time periods—from Ancient Egypt to Persia to Celtic Britain—but also they show a variety of religions that have followed one another through those particular times.
Being a professional cook at one time, I have to ask this one. Do you have a favorite food?
Unlike you, Jesse, there’s nothing professional in my cooking and I often throw together ingredients according to my fancy, taste, but mostly what’s available at home. Personally, I’m a lover of world cuisine from Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Ethiopian, and Arab to the more traditional Italian. The hotter and spicier it is, the more I like it. If we go on standard recipes, I do have an Italian one I ADORE, which is Bucatini alla Matriciana, a spaghetti recipe, which is considered a specialty of Roman cuisine. Bucatini is a very thick kind of spaghetti—usually very messy to eat, but veeery satisfying—and the sauce, alla Matriciana, is simple enough. Broil pork cubes, like bacon only thicker and shaped as cubes, in olive oil with hot pepper seeds. When the cubes have browned, add tomato sauce and finish cooking (about 20 minutes). In the meantime, boil the Bucatini in a pile of boiling water until they’re cooked, then mix everything, including also a generous amount of either Parmesan cheese or Pecorino, a dried goat cheese very popular in Rome, and serve. This is the traditional recipe, but I like to add some red wine to the sauce, before adding the tomato, which gives it an extra flavor.
Now that I’ve picked your brain, can you tell us about your latest work? Don’t hold back!
Very gladly, Jesse, because it’s one of my favorites so far. Dedicated to all those who believe in destiny and in the existence of a soul mate To Seduce a Soulmate is a delicious Christmas story, a bit off my usual fantasy/horror genre. But not to worry, like in my best traditions, it’s strictly M/M, even if it happens in modern day USA, Atlanta for that matter in the period that goes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. One month might seem exaggerated to seduce a soul-mate, someone who by definition should have no reservations about falling in love with the one person destiny selected for him, but such is life, presenting us with difficult choices to make, particularly when it comes to love. And nothing felt more upsetting than discovering Martin was Pirate Drake’s soul mate. So dilemmas about gender, feelings, connections, and sex made it even more difficult to make a choice, if Drake would ever make one. Or maybe Martin’s ability would conquer him in the end? And what about the craving, the passion, the burning desire? Well, it’s all there in To Seduce a Soulmate, my Christmas (December 2009) release by eXtasy Books.
And on that note we’ll wrap this up. It was a pleasure having you as my guest and you’re welcome back anytime, Laura. For those of you not familiar with Ms. Tolomei’s work who want to discover more check out her website below:
Note: Laura’s website is bi-lingual and you need to chose either English or Italian once you click the above link.