Thursday, 26 January 2012

Kimberly Menozzi, Italy & Writing!

Today I have the lovely Kimberly Menozzi sitting around my pool, originally from the USA, Kimberley now lives in Italy. Author of two publications, she is talking about the influences her new home has on her writing.... take it away Kimberly!

"I'm frequently asked if living in Italy has any influence on what – or how – I write. Naturally, the short answer to this is 'Yes, it does.' Of course it does – how could it not? I live in a country which I'd never even considered living in until I was actually here and preparing to do so.

The truth is, when I arrived here eight years ago, I knew nothing about Italy aside from a few menu items and a multitude of stereotypes. More importantly, since I've lived here, I've found myself viewing the world – not to mention my own home in the US – a bit differently, perhaps even a bit more clearly. Distance will do that for you, and I'm grateful for that.

The ability to look at things with some objectivity and clarity is a precious thing, I've found. This shift of perception is the thing which has had the biggest influence on my writing. I have always had a desire to educate and to entertain, and what better way is there than through a novel or short story?

When I started writing Ask Me if I'm Happy, I didn't intend to educate my readers about Italy. I just wanted to tell a story. As I wrote that story, though, I discovered certain themes and threads appearing in the narrative. I realized I was writing about people I knew in real life, and not the stereotypes I'd read countless times before. Along with the characters populating the novel, Italians and Americans alike, the Italy I described was as true to life as I could make it.

Early on, I understood this meant I would have to write about an imperfect Italy, and that, in turn, meant writing a story which might disappoint some readers. To say, albeit indirectly, that Italy is not the paradise we've come to consider it – particularly if you live here permanently – might not go over too well.

I'd already separated this story from those of many other writers by setting it in Bologna. While this is a city I love, it isn't a city most people think of when they think 'Italy'. I continued in this vein, writing as realistically as possible and doing my damnedest to make that city live and breathe as vividly and deeply as I could.

Any time I walked through my new hometown of Reggio nell'Emilia, I drew from the resources it provided: snatches of conversation, whether cheerful or heated; the clothing of the residents going to and from work; the way the gold-tinged sunlight slants downward on an early February afternoon; the fog which hangs low over the tops of buildings, never quite burning off before descending once again as night falls.

Just crossing from one end of town to the other could give me both a world clad in grey mist and a fragile, sunlit instant, depending on how close I was to the plain or to the mountains. That shift from one aspect to another is as mercurial as an Italian's disposition – perhaps even explains it – and it's something I'm still learning to get used to.

All of this made it to the page in one form or another, creating the atmosphere in which Emily and Davide meet, connect and, yes, fall in love. And in keeping with the story, they do this somewhat imperfectly. Which was only natural, I thought, since we're all affected by our surroundings – be they environmental, or cultural, or familial.

Ultimately, I wrote the story I wanted to write. I told the story I wanted to tell, the way I wanted to tell it. So far, it seems to have worked. I hope my readers are inclined to agree."

Thanks Kimberly for sharing this with us and wishing you great success with your life in Italy and your writing.

Kimberly is also an group member at Famous Five Plus for Indie Authors

Here are Kimberly's links
Website -
Blog -

Books: Ask Me If I Am Happy
US -

UK -

Alternate Rialto
US -

UK -


Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Oh I've always wanted to go to Italy. I think it would definitely filter into my writing.

Inger said...

An interesting post for me, who was surrounded by stereotypical Italian men who came to Sweden in the 1950s, only to chase us tall, blond, Swedish girls, or so it seemed to me. Since I love art and antiquity, I decided when I was young that I would wait until old and then I would visit Italy. Well, as with so many plans, that didn't happen, and it is not likely to now. So I enjoy reading about that beautiful country and it was really nice to meet an author that is new to me.

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Michael, thanks for stopping by and I hope you one day visit Italy. I have been and it is a wonderful place.

Hi Inger, thank you for calling by and leaving a comment, delighted you enjoyed meeting Kimberly. Have a great day.