Today we have author Roberta Capizzi for an interview. Roberta is the author of Hugged By An Angel today’s book blitz. I would like to thank Roberta for making the time to stop by today and answering some questions. Sit back and find out more about this wonderful author.
Where are you from?
I was born and still live in Italy, but I keep saying that I was born in the wrong country. I have a real passion for Ireland, I’d really love to move there one day.
When and why did you begin writing?
Writing essays has always been my favorite subject in school and something that came easy to me. I started writing fiction (fan fiction to be precise) in high school, using the members of my favorite boybands as characters and I concentrated mainly on learning how to plot a story. After a few years, I decided to move to the next level and create characters from scratch. Writing has always been a way to unwind and pour onto the pages all my thoughts and emotions. It was a very good therapy during a tough period of my life (that’s when I wrote the first draft of Hugged By An Angel) and it helps me escape reality for a little while, taking me to a whole new world where I can decide what happens next.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I held my first book in my hands and saw my name on Amazon. It was one of the most exciting moments in my life. I’ve dreamed of being a writer for years, so seeing my name on the cover of a book was a dream come true.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Michael Bublé! Lol. No, seriously, he was part of the inspiration for my debut novel, The Melody In Our Hearts, but only because he inspired the musical theme in the book. I’m a big fan of his music so when it was time to pick a genre, I decided to use oldies rather than rock or pop, and I sort of created Ryan with Michael in mind. But the main theme in the book is the strong friendship between Ryan and Valerie. I’m an only child and I’ve always wanted an older brother. I used to look up at my older cousins and find in them a sort of brother figure, so I turned this desire into a story, wondering what it would be like to have a male best friend who’d act like a big brother, and if it would be possible to be only friends.
How did you come up with the title?
Choosing a title for my books is always the hardest task for me, because people judge books by their covers but by their titles, too. The perfect title has to capture the whole essence of the story, the deepest meaning. Summarizing it in a few words isn’t easy. The first title of The Melody In Our Hearts was The Sound Of Love. I changed it just before the publication, because I’d found a few books with the same title, so I wanted mine to be unique. It took me a while and lots of brainstorming to come up with a new title, but I was happy about the final decision and I think it actually sounds better. As for Hugged By An Angel, the first title was Angel’s Touch but, again, I found other books with this title, so I thought that, since Kathleen (the heroine in the book) gets hugged a lot by her guardian angel, this would be the perfect title for the book.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Although Hugged By An Angel is a work of fiction, I’d like people to believe that sometimes even through tragedy we can find happiness and that when bad things happen to us, we must try to see the glass half full and somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel. After all, even after a terrible storm the sun will shine again eventually.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Rosamunde Pilcher was the writer that really turned me into a bookworm. Although I always loved studying and reading, it wasn’t until I discovered her books that I turned into a real book addict and I started buying books and re-reading them more than once. So if I had to pick only one, I’d say she’s the one. But Nicholas Sparks and Maeve Binchy also played a big part in my love for books and helped me understand I wanted to be a writer.
What are your current projects?
After publishing two books in a little more than seven months, I’d hoped I’d be able to rest a little and dedicate a little time to other hobbies I’ve been neglecting, but I’ve come up with an idea for a Christmas novella, although I don’t know if I’ll eventually manage to have it ready in time, and I’m also half-way through another novel, which I’m hoping to publish sometime next year.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Hugged By An Angel is a story of angels, tragedy and miracles. But it’s also, and mainly, a story about the power of love and how it can heal the most shattered hearts. Kathleen and Colin are wounded souls and neither of them wants to let the other heal the wounds. But as they embark together on a journey of physical healing, they’ll end up discovering that faith and love can heal broken hearts and shattered souls.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Since English is not my first language, sometimes I find the language gap the biggest challenge. Although I read a lot of books in English and I check out online dictionaries, trying to enrich my vocabulary with new words and slang, I know I still make mistakes and there’s still a lot that I have to learn. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to write a whole novel without one single mistake and with readers thinking I’m a native English speaker!
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Like I said, I love Rosamunde Pilcher’s books. I love the way she describes the settings (she made me fall in love with Cornwall even though I’ve never been there) and how she can create beautiful, real and totally relatable characters. I love the way she manages to weave a beautiful love story without needing graphic sex scenes to convey the emotions and pull the reader into the story. What I love of Nicholas Sparks’ books is the way he can get inside a character’s mind and make the reader feel the emotions. I love Maeve Binchy’s characters because they feel real. They don’t need to be tall, dark and handsome to pull the reader in: their flaws and fears make you instantly connect with them.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I wish I could say that I do, but unfortunately I never leave my room to write my books. I lived in Ireland for a few months and I’ve visited the country many times; since I tend to set my stories in Ireland, all I have to do is close my eyes and remember where I was and what I saw. Sometimes I set my stories the United States too but since I’ve only been there once (and didn’t see as much as I would’ve liked to) I need to research and find out as much information as I can using the internet. Maybe one day I’ll be able to travel to the places where I want to set my next novel and carry out my research on the spot. That would be a dream come true.
Who designed the covers?
For the cover of The Melody In Our Hearts I used Createspace cover creator, since I’d already found the perfect picture that captured the whole story. For Hugged By An Angel I had an idea of how it had to look like, but I couldn’t find the perfect picture. When I did find a picture I liked, I knew I’d have to hire a cover designer because it still needed a few changes, so I let Stephanie Mooney at Mooney Design create the beautiful cover that you see now.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Since Kathleen is in a wheelchair, I had to try and imagine what it would be like. Sometimes I had to stop and wonder if she would be able to do this or that while sitting in a wheelchair, and how she would feel about it. I know it’s fiction, but it had to feel as real as possible, so I really had to put myself in her shoes and try to feel the way she would feel.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’m not sure if this answer is off topic, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned ever since I’ve become a published author is that I simply love writing. No matter how many people will buy my book or if I’ll never become a best-selling author, I’ll keep writing stories for myself, because writing is who I am, is when I feel totally and undeniably me and I love creating new stories, meeting new characters and helping them find their happy ending.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be yourself; don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do; write what you want to read and, if you ever get a bad or nasty review, try to see the good in it and use the criticism to become a better writer.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have a day job so unfortunately I can’t spend all day writing. I usually write whenever I have a little free time, in the evenings or over the weekends. Or whenever I have a new idea-no matter where I am, I always carry a notepad in my bag so I can jot down new ideas. An unusual writing habit? I can’t follow a plot. I try to sit down and outline a story, but then I always end up writing scenes as they play in my mind so maybe I can write chapter fifteen, then chapter six, the epilogue and chapter one and eventually I’ll put them together like pieces in a puzzle.
What was your greatest moment since becoming an author?
When I got the first five-star reviews. It was amazing to hear strangers say such wonderful words about my book.
About The Author -
An avid reader since her childhood years and being an only child, Roberta always enjoyed the company of her fictional friends from the children’s books she loved reading, while she dreamed of writing her own stories one day.
It was when she discovered novels by authors Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy in her teenage years that she realized it was time she put down in words the stories she had kept well hidden in her mind until then.
What started as a hobby, soon turned into a real passion and a way of life, until she could no longer keep the stories to herself, and decided to get over her fears and share them with the world.
Roberta lives in Italy, but her dream is to move out of her country and live either in a thatched cottage in the Irish countryside or in a country house with a swing on the back porch, somewhere in the United States, where she would love to spend her days writing novels as a full-time job, and maybe one day even get as far as writing a screenplay for a movie.