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Archive for November 19th, 2008

rk_romeoromeo

Rosalie Ronaldi doesn’t have a domestic bone in her body …

All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch …

Nick Romeo is every woman’s fantasy—tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean …

He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he’s cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog …

So what’s the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort …

I’m a Brooklyn Italian girl. I was born there, my family lived in or around NY most of my life. Is it any wonder I set my novel, Romeo, Romeo in Brooklyn? It’s truly a character in my book.

I grew up in a real-life version of Moonstruck. Every Sunday morning my Nana would take me to early Mass 45 minutes before it started so she’d have time to say her rosary, and every other day of the week, she’d walk with me to the market on 13th Avenue. My uncle Richie owned the neighborhood butcher shop, we’d visit the bakery down the block for bread, and explore every vegetable stand, dragging a metal pull-cart to carry our purchases home. In our neighborhood, the milkman delivered twice a week and the fish man delivered every Friday.

My Sicilian Italian grandparents played a huge part in raising me. I always lived with them or within a mile of their house. They spoke broken English, listened to opera, Lou Monte, Jerry Vale, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, or Dean Martin on the stereo, and made their own wine they called Vino Fino. Like every other Italian family I knew, their lives revolved around food.

When my grandparents moved to Florida, my family and everyone else our block in Brooklyn followed—even the mailman and UPS man. Most of the neighborhood was within a few miles, so other than moving our picnics to the beach, not much about my life changed. I may have lived outside Brooklyn much longer than I lived in it, but Brooklyn has always been home and if I had the opportunity, I’d move back in a heartbeat.

Writing for me is magical; it brings me back to my grandparents’ dining room table on a Sunday afternoon. I see the family gathered passing the wine, pasta, and the other six courses, being careful to avoid hitting anything while talking with their hands, and my grandfather cutting the skin off an orange in one piece, and transforming the orange peel into a pair of eyeglasses the youngest child would wear through dessert. I hear the voices of the people I loved raise in volume as the level of the wine decanter decreases, and feel the plastic covered lace tablecloth under my elbows and the eventual smack upside the head I received for putting my elbows on it. But most of all, I feel the love that flowed as freely as the prayers, opinions, and arguments.

Brooklyn was a wonderful place to grow up, and is an amazing setting for a book. The neighborhoods have an energy to them that breathes life into me. I go there to recharge and when I write, it feels as if I’m there again. I can feel it, breathe it, and smell it, and, for a few hours a day, I’m home.

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of ROMEO ROMEO. Good Luck! 🙂

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