Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi Fiona, And thank you for inviting me.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Maria Teresa De Donato. I am 57 according to my documents and 21 in my heart.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Rome, Italy where I lived, studied and worked till the beginning of 1995 before moving permanently to the United States.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
In Italy I graduated at the IstitutoTecnico per il Turismo “J.F.Kennedy”, then enrolled at the University “La Sapienza” – Dep. of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures – but I dropped out of it at the end of the second year since I didn’t feel very motivated to proceed. From 1980 to 1982 I also studied Journalism at the ScuolaSuperiore di Giornalismo “Accademia”. After moving to the States I resumed my studies in journalism and graduated at the AmericanCollege of Journalism. Later on I pursued my Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees in Holistic Health with Certifications in Naturopathy, Classical Homeopathy, western and eastern Nutrition and Herbalism.
Over the years a kept training myself both as a Coach and as a Holistic Practitioner pursuing many other certifications to keep up with my professions and meet the requirements for the renewal of my membership to the associations I belong to.
My husband and I like to keep ourselves very busy and in our free time we like cooking, traveling, reading, writing, swimming, trekking, and photography.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
At the moment I am working on a few projects: one is a fiction novel and the other is of historical-genealogical nature. I have been writing on both of them for a very long time, on and off in my free time, but recently I have intensified my efforts with the goal of publishing at least one of them by the end of this year (2018).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at a very young age when I had just turned seven and was attending elementary school. My first articles were published in 1968 on the school journal In Cammino (On My Way). I always felt very passionate about reading and writing and I was truly inspired by Louisa May Alcott and her Little Womenseries. In fact, it was not long after that I started to write a novel…which I never completed… and after a few years I just got rid of. Despite that, however, I always felt like writing was my true calling.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As I stated previously, I always felt I was a writer at heart although I started to work hard to make a full-time career of it much later in life. After writing many articles for several journals and magazines, writing and publishing my doctoral dissertation The Dynamics Of Disease and Healing: The Role That Perception and Beliefs Play In Our Health and Wellness (defended/discussed in 2012; published in 2015) and later its shorter kindle version Disease and Healing Dynamics (2016) constituted a turning point in my life: there I was looking at my published work and holding it in my hands.
It was truly a fantastic, very excitingmoment as it is every time I publish a work.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My very first book is my doctoral dissertation, that is, a qualitative, phenomenological, descriptive research paper that aims at identifying what it is that makes healing really possible. It analyses the dynamics of disease and healing and the role and the extent that the human belief system and perception play in healing. The title was inspired by my intellectually curious nature which in that case aimed at finding out the reason(s) why a placebo effect can be – at least in some individuals – as effective as pharmaceutical drugs containing active ingredients are, and at further comprehending what are the factors that might really contribute to preserving optimum health and making true healing possible.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
While working on my dissertation I changed the title a few times and customized it according to the content, the shape and the goal of my dissertation.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
A College Professor I had many years ago wrote on one of my composition “Simple and direct your writing style which expresses unique and pondered on ideas.” I cannot find a better way to phrase it. After so many years, I still believe she was absolutely spot on. I also have a great sense of humour which comes in handy in many circumstances. So far I haven’t found anything particularly challenging since I have been writing about topics I am very passionate about. And although several of my publications focus on health, I am a very eclectic person and writer and approach everything from a holistic and multi-disciplinary perspective since I am interested in a great variety of themes.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I am an active listener and a great observer of the human nature: everybody, everything, every experience I personally lived or just witnessed directly or indirectly has taught me something and enriched my life, increased my understanding and somehow enabled me to reach a higher and deeper level of consciousness and personal growth. Furthermore, each one of us is a mirror for the other; everybody and everything is a lesson to be learned or to be taught. My intention in writing my books – whatever the topic might be –
is to educate and inspire my readers. Realism is always there, at least in my works, and the extent of the experiences, personal or otherwise, fantasy, hypothetical situations might depend on the contest and on the book I might be writing at that time.
Generally speaking, sometimes – and this might apply especially to fiction – it’s very difficult to establish where the author ends and the character begins or vice versa.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Only with my imagination… although some experiences, feelings, perceptions I might have lived while traveling might come in handy at the right time…
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I personally did. And even if as a self-published author I might have used some templates, I always customized them according to my interests, preferences, personal tastes and goals. I like that my publications reflect my own individuality and uniqueness.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there is. As my aunt used to say, “Be ready for Life has a bigger imagination than we have!”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Just recently I had the chance to read the book Marital Advice to my Grandson Joel: How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night, written by author Peter Davidson. His writing style is very spontaneous, genuine, spot on and absolutely hilarious. I fully enjoyed his book.
As for my favourite writer, I have several of them, but the very first who comes to my mind is TizianoTerzani due to his vision of the world and of life at 360° and his ability to incorporate different topics and disciplines in a very harmonious, inspiring way that truly fascinates me.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
That would be Prof.Dr.Trapani, another professor of mine, who was himself an author. One day he told me he was very impressed with my writing, that, in his view, could be described as a “well qualified journalism” although, he added, I could also write as a novelist and that in that case…he “would have not tried to prevent me from doing so”and he smiled at me.
He had a strong sense of humor and loved understatements… He believed in my writing skills and in fact asked me to collaborate with him in the proofreading, correcting and reviewing of his three books, as I happily did.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I most certainly do. It’s not going to be easy but eventually you will get there if you persist. It will take time, efforts, patience, and self-discipline, but if writing is your true passion you should go for it.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The latest book I published, and that I am coauthoring with Rev. (Ret.) AnneliSinkko, M.Phil., is a work of spiritual and religious nature. Anneli and I come from very different backgrounds and despite that we were able to harmoniously write our book Hunting for The TREE of LIFE – A Spiritual Journey in the Garden Traditions (2016) in record time and at a distance. In fact, she was born in Finland but has been living in Australia for several decades, while I was born in Rome, Italy but have been living in the United States for more than 23 years, and yet we were able to write a book together, publish it, and doing so in record time. We fully enjoyed the experience and are both very happy about our work. So we wouldn’t change anything at all.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes, that it does not take necessarily years or even months to write a book. Some books might come to life within a few weeks or so or even sooner than that.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
You are probably referring to the novel I am working on right now…
I would have to think about it, but it would certainly be someone who looks very Italian or at least Mediterranean…
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes. Follow your heart and keep working on your goal. Be disciplined.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope you will enjoy my publications and find them educational, useful, and above all inspiring. I would love to hear from you and know that they contributed to change your lives for the better.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now I am rereadingVicars of Christ by Peter De Rosa.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I believe it was Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm, which was first published in 1812.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Strong sense of humor; stories that are heart felt, with much love, empathy and solidarity.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Yes, the Italian dramatist, novelist, poet, and short story writerLuigi Pirandello. I am an avid reader of all his books. He played a fundamental role in the Italian literature of the early 20th Century and can be considered a forerunner of the Theatre of the Absurd.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I have many of them: reading, writing, gardening, swimming, trekking, photography, traveling.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t have much time to watch TV and I do not follow commercial TVs. I look for programs that can inspire me, teach me new things or just help to relax. I love historical movies such as Downton Abbey, Queen Victoria, Call the Midwife, although I fully enjoy also British comedies, documentaries, and programs related to cooking, gardening, home renovation.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Salmon, caprese, tiramisu. Colors: emerald, turquoise. I like different kinds of music. I personally find classic music such as Strauss’ very inspiring and relaxing. I also enjoy music such as flamenco and tango.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would certainly be traveling a lot, taking pictures, and painting, reading and gardening when at home.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my husband, my family and a few close friends.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“She was one woman of a kind, a gentle, generous, loving spirit, a true inspiration for millions of us, who highly contributed to make this world a much better place. She changed the lives of many.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes, I do.
Amazon Author Page:
I am also very active on social media such as Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads and many others.
Thank you so much, Fiona, for this opportunity. I wish you all the success you deserve.