Please introduce yourself and your book
After a successful career at the front end of industry I decided to spend my so called retirement writing a series of novels.
I have always had a fascination about social history, and as a Scots Italian, in particular the lives of the emigrant Italian diaspora to the UK and to the US.
Early last year I stumbled on the life of a distant cousin, whose name until then meant nothing to me. He was a fragile but tough and brave 19 year old who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross during World War 2, the most prestigious award for bravery and gallantry in the UK. In fact he was the youngest recipient of the award during World War 2. The story didn’t end there. I discovered that his older brother had survived the Dunkirk evacuation and another sibling had served out the war in a German concentration camp in Poland. His father had been interned as an enemy alien and three of his cousins had been shot down in cold blood by the Gestapo in France. His sisters also had served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
This incredible family story touched my soul and I was determined to bring it to life in a fictionalised novel, ITALIAN BLOOD BRITISH HEART.
Since my brain had already been buzzing with similarly amazing emigrant stories of other relatives and ancestors I sparked on the idea of a trilogy of similar themed novels, JEWISH BLOOD ITALIAN HEART and ITALIAN BLOOD AMERICAN HEART.
You can visit my website for more details at www.robertrossiauthor.com
The story behind my first book
ITALIAN BLOOD ITALIAN HEART is the epic tale of an immigrant family’s torment and resilience in overcoming the traumas that threaten its livelihood.
Part One, ITALIAN BLOOD narrates the family’s experiences from 1897 through to 1939 amidst the Ice Cream and Fish and Chip Shop businesses in Scotland and the North East of England. It covers the period when Italians were not welcome generally and explores the Italian community’s dilemmas when Mussolini assumed power in Italy.
Part Two, BRITISH HEART contains individual stories of 9 members of the extended family, the concluding chapter ending with the final irony.
Fredo is repulsed and angry when his mother discloses a family secret.
Living conditions in a previously prosperous hilltop village in Tuscany have worsened since the unification of Italy. Fredo follows the path of many compatriots before him and emigrates to Scotland.
Harsh times await Fredo in his new home. Earning a living amidst the poverty of a coal mining town is not easy. He is determined to shun his Italian heritage and integrate himself fully into a new culture. He manages to build a small business while raising a large family. But both world wars impact heavily. During the Second World War each of his six children plays a vital role in defeating the Nazi machine, despite the personal anguish of his internment as an enemy alien.
Fredo’s crowning glory is the acceptance of the ultimate award for bravery from King George in Buckingham Palace. The honour is laden with a heavy heart.
Tell us about the other books in the Blood Heart Trilogy
Also inspired by true events JEWISH BLOOD ITALIAN HEART fictionalises the story of the Abrami family who are required to continually relocate from home to find safety and security. The family’s travels span all the continents of the world until they find solace back home in Italy. The novel covers the period from the 1880s to the 1970s. The book is a work in progress.
The final part of the trilogy ITALIAN BLOOD AMERICAN HEART narrates the story of an emigrant to the US who promises to reimburse the money he borrowed from his impoverished parents. Similarly inspired by true events Henry endeavours to scratch a living in the big cities of Boston and Chicago at the turn of the 20th century before he finds his peace in a new religion in a far off place. The elements of the story are still in my imagination.
Inspiration for my Creativity
My books are biographical fiction. I study real events in the time frame of the story and I find the challenge of weaving fiction into these real events stimulating and exciting. I have been inspired by more renowned experienced authors who have perfected this technique.
Of course this is a common occurrence. I limit my writing to a fixed amount of time. I am a morning person. By lunch time I have usually been distracted and I have downed tools until the following morning.
Emotions in Creativity
In any book it’s crucial that the reader connects with the story. This comes through emotional attraction. I can openly confess that even after several revisions and given the fact that I know what is coming next, there are parts of my novel that continue to bring a tear to my eyes.
Personal Satisfaction or Serving my Readers
What satisfies me is whether my readers are thrilled with the experience. Obviously I believe there is a great and exciting story to be told. If I know that my readers also feel that the story is great and exciting then I consider my job complete.