More About the Author
I've been a wordsmith all my life, starting as an avid reader. I was the one in class with an exciting novel open in her lap while the teacher droned on about quadratic equations, which I do not understand to this day. One summer I read so much I lost a dioptre of sight, but what can you expect when you live across the street from the county library? It's like an addict having access to a building chock full of crack cocaine. It's right there, the doors are wide open and all you need is a card.
Though I always knew I'd end up writing, the road there was long and fairly tortuous, as there was this tedious business of earning a living that had to come first. I'm not a starving-in-the-garret kind of person.
I moved to Florence, Italy from a small, provincial town in Central Oregon in my late teens and it took me years to get over the culture shock. I think everything about me, down to the molecular level, changed, definitely for the better. I learned that I loved language and languages, which led to interpreter's school. Being an interpreter is just about the best preparation I know of for becoming a writer, besides being a lawyer. More fun, too.
So, for more years than I care to tell, I traveled and interpreted. Simultaneous interpretation requires very close and careful listening to what the speaker is saying, to the choice of vocabulary, to the register of language, to the hidden meanings. It's intensely stressful and it burns language into your brain. Couple this with constant travel to sometimes interesting places (and sometimes not-interesting places--to wit, eight long damp years in Brussels), and with thousands of pages of translation work and you have a viable path to becoming a writer.
After traveling the world, another culture shock--marriage at a late age and residence in a small, provincial town in southern Italy, a little like circling back to square one. Matera, the unknown beauty of Italy, with its spectacular Sassi and incredible isolation from the mainstream of Italian life, became my new home. It's been an enormous privilege watching the city open up to the world like a blossoming flower.
At the age of forty, the new mother of the world's most spectacular son, it was time to finally try to achieve that lifelong dream of writing. I knew I wanted to write mainly genre fiction--romantic suspense and mysteries. I like to read exciting fiction and it's what I like to write. With a lot of help from my friends along the way, I've published 8 novels and now have a two-book contract with Berkley Publishing (Penguin USA). I'm also working on a women's fiction set in Florence.
Part of that help with becoming a writer was attending writers' conferences in the States. It was such an overwhelming experience that--again--with the help of friends, I established a literary festival and spectacular international writers' conference in Matera, the International Women's Fiction Festival--womensfictionfestival.com--where members of our tribe of writers meet, bond, talk shop, listen to top editors and agents, sell novels, overeat and get drunk on the finest food and wine this side of heaven.
I can be contacted at e.jenn...@tin.it and elizabethmj...@gmail.com.