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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Interview and Review 'Love on the Back Burner'

Welcome to my blog Barbara.  Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself and your book Love on the Back Burner.

Q. Tell us about your latest worktitle, genre, etc. and why you wrote it?
A.  I wrote “Love on the Back Burner” because I felt that young women needed romantic comedy novels available to them that raised the level of the genre and could tell the story with good dialog and plot rather than relying on sex and crude language.

Q.  What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
A.  I outline the story and create “personas” for each of my characters. After I interview each of the personas, I start to tell the story. Sometimes my characters lead me in their own paths and I let them – and the story is better – and sometimes I have to take them back to my original plan.

Q.   What kind of research was involved in writing your book?
A.   Since the main character is the daughter of Italian immigrants – which I am – that part didn’t require much research. I did have to research a few things such as how a priest interacts with his own family when he is at home and how a plant nursery is run.
Q.   How much of YOU makes it into your characters?
A.   In this novel, the main character has a fleeting resemblance to me and many of the other characters have inherited my turn of phrase, otherwise they are composites of people I have known through the years.

Q.   How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A.  Despite what the movies show you, writing is not the effort of waiting for a muse to strike. I gave myself a daily deadline of word count and stuck to it, in a timeframe, treating it as if it were a job – which it is! Sometimes I would need to go back and rewrite those words, sometimes I kept writing because the ideas kept flowing, but I met my goal for the first draft and it worked out very well.

Q.   Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
A.  I have been inspired by every author I’ve ever read – and I started reading when I was 4 years old. For this particular book I was inspired by Jane Heller, Susan Isaacs and Marian Keyes.

Q.   Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
A.   I believe that no one should live beneath their giftedness – which is the lesson that Alexandria learns in Love on the Back Burner. If you live a value-driven life, follow your heart and do the right thing by people then good things will happen.

Q.  What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
A.  First: read, read, and read. Nothing is more important for someone who wants to write than for them to read. You will learn from the good and the bad. Second: Keep at it! If you have an idea, follow it. And third: Own it. When I told myself I was writing a little bit, it didn’t work out well, but when I started identifying myself to all as a writer then I owned and embraced my calling – and I didn’t feel so apologetic about it.

 Book Readers Review

Romance, comedy, and food are an ingredient of 'Love on the Back Burner' by Barbara Oliverio.  The main character is a young Italian-American girl who loves to cook and is in search of a meaningful relationship. Alexandria D'Agostino comes from a close Italian immigrant family  and  brought up to appreciate good Italian cuisine.  She has a successful marketing career but is struggling to find a balance in her life.  Her grandmother is her primary influence and teacher of cooking.  Unfortunately, Alex has tried to win her way into several men's hearts through their stomachs with her grandmothers recipes (these are included at the end of the book).  The men she dates are introduced to her culinary skills on the first date.  Some of them enjoy her talents, while others are not impressed.  Her friends are all too happy to relish Alexandria's talents, even finishing up any left overs.  But will her joy of making a delicious meal capture a mans heart and romance for Alex?

Barbara Oliverio's novel is light-hearted and entertaining.  The characters are interesting.  Alexandria's brother, Damian, a rock-star-turned- priest, her best friend Keira, and her 'nonna' or grandmother, are the favorites.  The story is mostly written in dialog so moves fast.  I do not often choose romance novels but found this one held my attention.  Barbara has done a great job in writing a clean, enjoyable romantic story.  People who enjoy cooking will love the recipes Barbara shared at the end.  I recommend Barbaras book to anyone who is looking for an entertaining read.

 About the Author

Growing up as the daughter of Italian immigrants in North Central West Virginia, I learned to appreciate hard work, the Faith of my ancestors, and the healing power of a plate of pasta at an early age. Given a natural love for learning and a passion for the written word, it was only natural that at some point I become a full-time writer.
I followed a winding path to reach this conclusion, however, spending my early career collecting traditional bullet points on my resume by being a teacher and developing computer science curriculum when computers were not the miniature accessories we all have today. Switching into the business world, I moved up the ladder in the high tech marketing world, always looking for the challenge in traditional marketing, product and project management.
It wasn't until a corporate merger coupled with a wholesale layoff that I took the leap of faith and started the book that had been rattling around in my head for a couple of years. While completing it and in the midst of much prayer, I took project work doing free-lance writing and editing, and suddenly realized that all my life experiences neatly had led me to exactly where I need to be. Eureka! Now when people say "what do you do?" I am overjoyed to say: "I'm a writer". Better yet, I can answer the follow-up question with conviction: "Do you like it?" --- "No. I LOVE it. I wouldn't do anything else."

Again, thanks Barbara for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work. Good luck with your current and future publications.

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