On the first Friday of July 2016, we are having breakfast with women’s fiction author Janet Simcic. Janet is a freelance writer, novelist, and non-fiction writer residing in Southern California. Her articles have appeared in the Orange County Register, and various travel magazines. Her novels, The Man at the Caffé Farnese, The Man at the Rialto Bridge, and her non-fiction “An American Chick’s Guide to Italy” are available on amazon.com.
Janet has made her brand “All things Italian” and focuses all her writing on this subject. She graduated with a B.A. in History and Literature from The Master’s College and did her graduate work at Eastern Michigan University and Pepperdine.
For this hot July breakfast, I’m having a a sixth of a papaya topped with cottage cheese, chia seeds, and basil. And a cappuccino, of course. Janet, what are you having?
I am a late-breakfast person. I need to be up about an hour before I can even think about food. I drink two cups of coffee, read the paper, and about an hour later I have yogurt mixed with Cheerios. Not very exciting in the real world or virtually.
More like three to four hours for me! So tell us about your writing process from concept to draft to revision.
My writing process usually starts with a nugget of an idea…maybe something I saw or heard. In the case of The Man at the Rialto Bridge, I actually was on a Med cruise and started to think about families who are dysfunctional. I noticed several odd mixes of people on the cruise and my imagination went wild. I began to write descriptions of people I observed. My husband began questioning officers on the ship about terrorism…since cruise ships are sitting ducks.
The answer he received gave me the idea to have a terror plot. I had to throw in some romance, so made Tony handsome and mysterious.
I also visited the quarters for all the working people on the ship. Not an easy task. I used my Italian charm. Ha!
I write in my journal sentences and ideas for plots. I then plop myself in my office, door closed, and start writing and see where the muse takes me. I do mostly dialogue first, then fill in with descriptions. And my critique group helps me a great deal when I read scenes for them each week. After the first draft, I race back to the beginning and start the difficult work of editing.
When I have the manuscript ready, I send to my editor. When he returns it, I bury myself in my office and seldom move from the computer until I fix everything. Then I submit.
My grandfather (paternal) was from Italy. He was the light of my life. I am part Italian and other part is British. But in my heart, I feel Italian and travel there often. I have also learned to speak the language.
The first book, The Man at the Caffe’ Farnese, was written after I had battled breast cancer. I wanted to show aftermath of things women face following treatment. I had just returned from a “Villa vacation” in Sorrento, Italy with my friends and thought…Aha…here is a story. And believe me, there were plenty of people I met on that trip who “look” like the people in my book.
So naturally I wanted to do a series. Rialto Bridge is the second, I am submitting the fourth book, The Man at the Spanish Steps which is a sequel to the first book, in August.
I also wrote a non-fiction book…An American Chick’s Guide to Italy about all the dumb tourist mistakes I made and how not to do them along with some adventures (ahem) I had while there. And recommendations for restaurants, etc.
My last book in the series will be titled, The Man at Ellie Island, and it is an historical novel in the early 1900’s.
More coffee, Janet? What did you find fun/intriguing about writing?
The fun part of the Rialto Bridge novel was actually being on a vacation and writing the seeds of the book while on the cruise. The difficult part is always polishing the descriptions of place, sights, sounds, and people. Giving the people characterization.
Tell us about your next project and when it may be published.
The Man at the Spanish Steps comes out in August. The historical novel will take a lot of research. It’s based on the love story of my grandmother and grandfather. It’s going to be a lot of work.
Thank you for visiting with us, Janet. I’ll now serve us all a virtual cappuccino before we head for Amazon and your books.
Let’s have another cappuccino…and good heavens, not Starbucks. It’s pure foam. There are very few places where they make it correctly…one of them being Lucca’s Café in Orange, CA
Learn more about Janet Simcic at:
You can order her books on Amazon at: