Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: The Tale of Lucia Grandi and Interview with Author Susan Speranza

We love to read here in our little corner of the world.  The girls and I especially are always on the lookout for new books and new favorite authors.  We are pretty selective about the books to which we devote our limited, leisure reading time.  A few weeks ago, something drew me to The Tale of Lucia Grandi:  The Early Years by Susan Speranza.  Rarely do I select a book without research or having read previous work from the book’s author.  The Tale of Lucia Grandi had my interest with its title and cover art alone.  I was not only able to read and review this book--but, I also had the opportunity to interview the author, Susan Speranza, as well.

  I received a complimentary ebook copy of this book for use in my review. All opinions are my own. 
We were not paid for this post--but, may receive affiliate compensation if you make a purchase from  links within our posts.

About the Book  

A quick summary of The Tale of Lucia Grandi:  The Early Years The book follows elderly Lucia Grandi as she recounts the events of her early years in telling her life story to a college student.  While Lucia Grandi felt there was nothing of any interest in her life, her tales depict quite a story. 

My Review

The Tale of Lucia Grandi is a wonderfully written book that leaves readers anxiously awaiting Lucia’s sequel.  My grandfather was a story teller--and his life stories filled many of my childhood days.  Perhaps this is why I so enjoy books that take readers down characters’ memory lanes.  Speranza tells Lucia’s story in such a way that readers are drawn through every emotion of her far-from-uneventful, early years.  The novel reads more like a short story collection--which is wonderful for those of us with short attention spans or those reading longer works in short bursts of time.  Speranza tells Lucia’s story so well that she leaves readers anxiously awaiting a sequel.  I personally cannot wait to hear what Lucia has to share after her early years!

I enjoyed this book so much, that I was very excited to discuss it with its author, Susan Speranza, and learn more about the writer and her book.

Buy the Book

Author Interview

Interview with Susan Speranza, author of The Tale of Lucia Grandi:  The Early Years

Book Corner News and Reviews (BCNR): What was your inspiration for The Tale of Lucia Grandi?  When did you begin writing it?  How long did it take to write the book?

Susan Speranza (SS):  I had so many stories I wanted to tell, but I’m not really a short story writer. A few years ago, while I was waiting to have my car repaired, an 83-year-old woman came into the waiting room where I sat by myself. She began talking to me — and before I knew it, she was telling me the story of her life. I thought of that afternoon when I searched for a framework in which to set the stories I wanted to tell. It seemed very compelling – an old woman looking back on a life she claims was not very interesting; yet, as the novel progresses, the stories she is telling are very interesting indeed.
I wrote the prologue in 2001, then set it aside and didn't pick it up until 2006, when I seriously began working on it. It took me until 2010 to finish it because I could only write on weekends and vacations. I spent a year rewriting it.

Book Corner News and Reviews (BCNR):  Tell us about the cover art for The Tale of Lucia Grandi.  Who designed it? Why did you choose it?

SS:  The story takes place in the 1950's and '60's suburbia. I came upon a photo of a painting by the artist, Leonard Koscianski and thought the painting was perfect. It's called "Suburbia". He was kind enough to give us permission to use it.

Book Corner News and Reviews (BCNR):  Who are your favorite/least favorite characters from The Tale of Lucia Grandi and why?

SS:  This is a difficult question in the same way that I find it difficult to answer people who ask me if I have a favorite dog. I always say no — I love them all (and I do!); but I am closer to some than to others. The same with my characters. I love them all, but some I had more fun with, and some were more challenging, harder to get right. With the mother, Ruth, it was difficult to find that balance; it’s easy to characterize someone as evilor selfish, but even such people as these occasionally have some redeeming qualities. Ruth was characterized as hard, cold, domineering; but there are many moments when her vulnerability slips through. I had to make sure that I didn’t make her one-dimensional. I had a lot of fun with Lucia’s sister, Lynn – the eternal drama queen. Again, I had to work hard at preventing her from becoming a one-dimensional character.

Book Corner News and Reviews (BCNR):  Which character, if any, are most like you in The Tale of Lucia Grandi?

SS:  I think they all share some of my characteristics - I tried to embody the full gamut of human traits and emotions. As a writer I need to experience all of them.

Book Corner News and Reviews (BCNR):  What is something interesting about The Tale of Lucia Grandi that your readers and ours would like to know?

SS:  I normally don't like sequels, but this book requires one, which I'm working on now. As a writer I don't like giving things away blatantly. I prefer to leave clues along the way. If the reader is careful, she will see those clues, which will take the story in the direction it needs to go. Basically, I tell the readers to simply - pay attention!

Book Corner News and Reviews (BCNR):  Tell us a little about Susan Speranza when she is away from writing.  What hobbies, talents, and adventures are we most likely to find you involved in when not writing?

SS:  Most writers have day jobs — and mine is a high school librarian. The advantage is that I get a summer vacation when I can write every day. Writing a book seemed a natural extension of being a librarian; after all those years of being the keeper-of-the-books, I finally wrote one. I also show and breed dogs as a hobby. And I love to travel; I've taken a few cruises in recent years and this past summer, I spent a few weeks out west - in Reno, NV, Lake Tahoe, Yosemiteand California.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my book. If you haven't done so already, I'd really appreciate it if you could post your review on Amazon and Goodreads. Thanks again for your thoughtful review!