No sex, please. We are Italian

•July 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I never set out to avoid sex as a main ingredient in my novel. It just happened. Yet, and without giving much away, sex is very much the real subject of the matter. Unspoken, and unfulfilled. There is an attempted rape, but that does not count. As for the lack of saucy, steaming hot scenes, to appeal to the reader’s imagination is to tap into an unending source of prime material. We all perceive sex (or lack of) in our own ways. The beauty of the written word vs cinematic exercises is the former’s ability to conjure up more fantasies, and deeper desires. ‘Sex’ is yet another ghost in my novel. ‘Clay’ is our primeval instict towards it.


Dangerous liaisons

•July 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have always preferred writing to talking. I wrote letters to imaginary and real friends when I was a young girl, did some junior reporting when I still lived in Sicily. That was quite a challenging job, given the circumstances, and did not last long.

I joined a very unpopular political party when I was 18. I drove fast and did not wear a seat belt. I chose boys on the strength of the car they owned rather than looks or brain, or even wealth. One or two people I knew were shot and left in the countryside, under lemon trees: the romantic side of some dirty business. I hid on the passenger footwell of my Alfa Romeo during a shooting with Police. My father was robbed and laughed that he pretended to have a heart attack in order to hide his wallet. There is a widely-spread resignation to crime, where I come from.

In short, Sicily was an exotic, slightly dangerous place to live in and I went along with that. In comparison, moving to the UK, alone and just after university, had no biting edge.

BBC Bedford Radio interview

•July 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The Italian Drive Time programme, today. I feared I’d be asked questions in Italian, as I wrote my novel in English and therefore my ‘forma mentis’ is in a different language.

I needn’t have worried: Roberto Perrone sounds infinitely more British than me.

Radio Interview

•July 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

BBC Northamptonshire, at 3.15pm. Clay Ghosts in Sicily.

Tune in. I hope not to stare blankly and silently at the microphone.

Something about the weather

•July 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Perhaps, before writing posts after posts about my book, I ought to explain how I ended up in the UK. It was the weather.


The weather.

When you spend most of the year cooking under an unforgiving tropical sun, and being whipped by the Scirocco, a wind so hot that it takes your breath away, you end up dreaming of fireplaces and rain’s many fingers tapping on the windows. You dramatise the image of all Northern countries which, in your desiccated fantasy, are made up of stone castles, romantic moors and luxuriating parks. Children hop and skip, laughing and eating icecreams. Adults sip endless cups of tea, and read the Daily Telegraph.

Oh yes. This is what Sicilian girls think they will find when they move to the UK.

A Jewish question

•July 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I am fascinated by anything to do with the Jews: their religion, older than mine; their values, so close to those of my people and my country; their desire to better themselves; the fact that they are acutely aware of their identity, and strongly feel they ‘belong’ to their own community.

Their history, and their story.

Plenty of Jews in Italy, and in Sicily too. It is a geographical, logical conclusion to their movement across Europe.

At some stage, in Clay Ghosts in Sicily, the Jewish question will be raised. I asked my Jewish friends for advice, when it came to one or two descriptions, as I wished to be as accurate as possible.

La Sicilia Americana

•July 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

My book is barely out, and not quite ‘in stock’. Yet there are four copies on their way to the States. Four copies does not sound much, but in relation to an unknown, anonymous little novel by an obscure writer in the UK, they tell a story.

There has always been a bond between Sicily and the USA. When poverty’s tight belt struck the bolder generations, before WWII, young people tied their cardboard suitcases with the famous string and left on the ‘vaporetto’, the steam boat which took them to the land of freedom and plenty.

Mafia links were established much in the same way. With firm contacts back at ‘home’, American mafiosi had a stronghold which stretched across the ocean. The American government knew that. And so did the Italian government.

The Americans came up with the more appetising deal.

When they arrived, victorious and singing with that 32-teeth smile of theirs, the American soldiers brought chocolate and an end to the war. Clay Ghosts in Sicily hints at something else they brought with them. Something which is not immortalised by the contemporary photos of winning tanks and losers in chains and tatters.

Another clay ghost.