Monday, August 17, 2009

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Laura Tolomei

If you really want to know, I was born in 1965 in Rome, Italy, but soon started my travelling career. At the age of five, my parents took me to Lagos, Nigeria, where I grew up free and hot like I've never been since. I loved it there and still think of it with nostalgia. Anyway, it was also where I learned English.

After my African experience, I was ready to tackle the US. I lived in Atlanta, GA, five teen-age years, attending the Crestwood High School, where I started my writing career by publishing a short story Nostalgia on the Crestwood Journal. Very thrilled about discovering my new talent, I went ahead during college, writing for the Emory University journal The Phoenix. Three articles mark my first-and last-steps in journalism, "The peace Corps", "WAMM, Women Against Military Madness," and "Lesbism".

After my American experience, I moved back to Rome, but still kept living from time to time abroad, spending several months in Mumbay India, a country I always felt very close to me in more ways than one.

Today, I write both in Italian and English, mostly fiction of various genres, from fantasy erotica, to mysteries up to plain ordinary life stories.

For those of you who read Italian, you can simply visit the Italian sections of my website, but if you feel particularly lazy, here's a short summary:

I have a short story on line Incontro Metropolitano (Meeting at the Subway) and two books: PICCOLO CROCEVIA A CINQUE (Little Five Points, for those who know Atlanta it's a spot near Emory University), printed by Editing Edizioni and released in December 2008, and L'INVESTIGATTO (loosely translated The Cat Detective), publisher Ennepil Libri to release in 2009.

In English, I write erotica in various genres, mostly fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal, sometimes trespassing into contemporary. Feel free to look over my current and future projects by clicking here.

Visit her Facebook page *** Visit her Website *** Visit her Myspace Page

Laura talks about her new release SPYING THE ALCOVE

When my editor wrote me she’d gone through edits on only some of Spying the Alcove chapters, but I needed to change POV on chapters 3, 5, 7 and 9 from first to third person because she’d never seen something like that before, my stomach caved in just like Valerio’s when he saw Andrea’s glistening naked torso under the sun. True, Spying the Alcove has the unusual trait of combining two different narrative styles, one in third and the other in first person, but the mere thought I should rewrite one part to fit the other seemed wrong.

Pardon me, I don’t mean to sound snobbish nor did I plan to write something so unique. Apparently, the e-world does not have many examples of multiple POVs within the same book, but if Spying the Alcove does, it’s because it fits the storyline to a Tee, proving once again the characters make the story, never the author.

But let’s start at the beginning. The story centers around two Italian University teachers, the Professor and his assistant, digging for buried memories on the ancient city of Selimos, an archeological site located in southwestern Sicily. Long-time friends, the two men work amiably together until Andrea, the assistant, finds a Roman medallion, intact despite the centuries or the crumbling ruins littering the place. Intrigued, Valerio pockets it and that same night the medallion will begin to narrate a Roman matron’s erotic adventures in the privacy of her alcove, talking to the Professor as if it were the woman herself telling of her exciting adventures. Of course, it never entered my mind that this narration was anything but personal, which necessarily implied the use of first person, even if the story so far had been told in third person.

To a closer analysis, the novel’s own structure justifies the use of two different POVs. The medallion is in fact someone talking from a distant past, a time our protagonists know only from stuffy old books and boring researches. To bring such past truly alive, the narration needed to be as personal as possible, thus preserving the full enchantment that the printed words of sterile history books have trouble recreating.

If we also consider the book’s internal logic, it makes even more sense to have two different narrating styles because centuries of history separate the stories themselves, which never actually touch in either time or space if not in Valerio’s imagination.

Well, I guess I did a good job at arguing my point so in the end, both my editor and publisher decided to go ahead with it—more as a gamble, than because they were completely convinced—and for that, I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I know it’s not easy to take chances when you’re running a business, however creative it might turn out to be, and to try new paths is always risky. But I personally have a lot of faith in our readers.

Setting aside all logical arguments, I think readers need new inputs to keep their minds alert. I know it’s a trait of mine to challenge them, have done it before with Divinitas, a novel that mixes sex and religion in its own unique way—I like to think of it as a Laura Tolomei style—but Spying the Alcove didn’t seem to be very original at first. I mean, if you boil the Alcove’s contents down to their basic ingredients, they’re nothing different from the usual erotic book with a whole lot of sex and not much of a storyline. Allowing the two narrative POVs, however, gives the readers something more, a new way to enjoy a story and understand its characters, perhaps even with a greater emotional power than I’ve managed so far. And emotions are what my books are all about, whether written in first or third person.

WIN- To get your name in the hat for a free download of Laura's latest release, SPYING THE ALCOVE, leave Laura a question or a comment this week here on the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut Blog. A winner will be drawn Monday, August 24th - Good luck!