Our Military Life Blog

Author Interview with Camille di Maio

Hello dear readers!! I am super excited to bring you this  new author interview! I first connected with Camille through a book group on Facebook, and we hit it off! I have enjoyed getting to know her. She is one of my favorite authors. I have read her first book three times and it feels like the first time each time! Her second book was released just recently, and while I am behind in my reading, I have started it and fallen in love with the characters already. If you follow the book club closely, then you will see that we have done one of her books, The Memory of Us in our book club! Now is your chance to get to know this awesome lady just a little bit more! I look forward to meeting up with her in person soon, and getting to visit the afternoon away!
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
     I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember. As a teenager, I had twenty-two pen-pals at one time. I just loved to write! I recently left an award-winning real estate career to write full-time. I’ve been married for twenty years to Rob, and we have four children. I almost can’t say “children” anymore, though. One is heading off to college, and the other is right on her heels! I have homeschooled them all since kindergarten, and we have had many travel adventures in that time. Travel is my passion!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
     I would love to publish about one book a year. Right now, I am really enjoying historical fiction, and have several more in the works. According to my eight-year-old son, I should “write something written about modern times”, so maybe I’ll have a contemporary one in me someday.  If I can continue doing this full-time, I would say that that’s the dream.
Which writers inspire you?
     Agatha Christie and Kate Morton are the most inspiring writers to me. I have read nearly everything Agatha Christie wrote and I never, ever guess the culprit. I just don’t know how she does it! So, for her ability to keep readers guessing, I’m in awe. Kate Morton is my favorite writer overall. She has the most gorgeous word choices and her stories are so compelling. I hope to be half the writer she is! I had a chance to meet her last year, and she’s just as lovely in person.
What have you written?
     My first big effort as a writer was to keep a blog called My Hidden San Antonio. (No longer active) It astonished me that people would move to the area and just go to all the big box stores and chain restaurant when we have so many amazing and unique places in the city. So, I let people know about those gems. I jumped from that to writing my first novel! I wasn’t sure I had it in me, but my husband believed in me and gave me the support and space I needed to do it.
What are you working on at the minute?
     I have a June 15 deadline of turning in my third book, THE WAY OF BEAUTY. It’s set in New York City from 1900-1963 and follows three generations of women with the backdrop of Penn Station. After that, I have a contract for my forth book, which will be set in Coronado, California. I consider myself an atmospheric writer – I really get into the sense of “place” – at least in my head – so I like writing about different places. (My first book, THE MEMORY OF US is set in Liverpool and London, and my second book, BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS is set in Texas.) I have an idea for one set in Hawai’i, so maybe that will turn into #5!
What is is about?
     The one I’m working on, THE WAY OF BEAUTY, has Penn Station in NYC as the background. It was magnificently built – fashioned after the D’Orsay in Paris and then doubled in size. There is so much drama from its building, its heyday, its decline and its destruction. The loss of Penn Station (as it was) triggered historical preservation in the cities, and over seven hundred buildings in New York City alone were spared because of it. That’s all backstory, but the characters are three generations of women whose lives all intersect with the station in different ways.
What genre are your books/What draws you to this genre?
     All of my books are historical fiction. I love the research and the discoveries I make along the way. I have researched everything from the right way to harvest broccoli to the Welsh version of St. Valentine. My writing is pretty clean – or “low heat” in romance-speaking, and I feel that a historical setting allows me to do so authentically. There were just different social dynamics in the past.
Where do the ideas come from?
     I think a writer is an observer. Story ideas come to me just from living and keeping my eyes and ears open. I get a zillion more story ideas than I could ever right. But the inspiration is only a tiny part of it. Fleshing out the seed of a possibility and turning it into a full-scale novel with all the character development and sub-plots needed is the big challenge.  Specifically, though, THE MEMORY OF US was inspired by the Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby”, BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS was inspired by my grandmother, and THE WAY OF BEAUTY was inspired when I was just searching for pictures online of old train stations.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
     I am totally a pantser, meaning that I write by the seat of my pants. I see authors post photos of these elaborate, chapter-by-chapter, color-coded planning boards and that is just definitely, definitely not me. I get excited about where the story takes me. Of course, I need to write a synopsis for my publisher to consider, but they give me good leeway to have tangents if something comes to mind during the process.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
     The hardest thing about writing is finding the time. I would really like to get structured about writing a certain number of words per day or for a certain number of hours, but I can’t meet them with any regularity. Homeschooling four kids is its own full-time job! (And one that I would never change.)
What is the easiest thing about writing?
     The easiest thing about writing is that it’s a great excuse to read more! I find that being a voracious reader makes me a better writer. So, I get to consider reading part of my “job”!
How can readers discover more about you and your work:
Visit my Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/camilledimaio
Visit my website:  http://camilledimaio.com/
Follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CamilleDiMaio
Follow me on Instagram:  https://instagram.com/camilledimaio/
Book Links:
If you want to win a FREE COPY of one of Camille’s books, just answer this question! If you could spend an afternoon with Camille, what would you ask her first? Either comment on the blog, or send your answer to bookclub@mymilitarysavings.com