You can find out the answer to this and other questions in an interview recently posted by the Italian American Press, an online resource listing dozens of books about Italian American topics. They include fiction, history, biography, memoir, mystery, romance, sports, travel, children/teens, cooking, and much more.
You can read my interview below, or access it on the website where there’s so much more to explore and discover. This is your chance to support writers of Italian American topics or find more ways to celebrate this vibrant culture.
What inspired you to write your books?
The city of Venice inspires me to write. When I can’t be there physically, I am instead there vicariously by reading and writing about it. When I walk through Venice’s streets or glide down her canals, I always wonder what is behind the doors and walls of these beautiful old buildings, so I began researching these places to find out their stories. I also love to learn about history through the lives of individuals who lived through it, and that’s easy to do with Venice because so many interesting people have lived there. I was inspired to learn more about the lives of the gondoliers and got to know them personally, which became the book Free Gondola Ride. Hearing their stories about Casanova’s house made me want to find out where Casanova really lived or visited, which sent me into a couple years of research to discover over 90 Venetian locations he had been in. The result was the book Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps. Though dozens of books have been written about Venice’s history, it’s almost always from the male perspective, so I was curious to discover what women had done in the city and launched into research about them, producing A Beautiful Woman in Venice. When I learned about all these remarkable lives, it just makes me want to learn even more and to share their little-known stories with others.
What is the most important attribute of your books?
I strive to write books that are engaging and help the reader care about the people I’m writing about. Particularly when I write about historical figures like Venetian women or Casanova, I want the writing to be accessible so that anyone will enjoy picking up the book and be pulled into these stories or find some way to connect with the subjects, whether it’s through humor, sympathy, shock, astonishment, admiration, or some other emotion. I also always hope that readers will finish one of my books with a greater love for and interest in Venice, to preserve it for future people to enjoy.
Why should someone read them?
History is composed of millions of stories, yet despite that, many people’s voices are missing, such as the women of Venice. People should read A Beautiful Woman in Venice to learn about the ways women were such an integral and necessary part of Venetian society, even though they don’t appear in most history books. Women’s lives add layers of beauty and complexity to our understanding of Italian history. I hope that people will read my book Seductive Venice for two reasons: to begin to see Giacomo Casanova as a full human being, not just a stereotypical gigolo, and also to see Venice with new eyes that will reveal the stories that happened in Venice’s streets, churches, theaters, and drawing rooms. Reading Free Gondola Ride will allow readers to get to know the gondoliers as real people, with all their playfulness, knowledge, and generosity. My books will help readers see a side of Venice beyond the crowded squares and the gift shops, peeking into Venice’s rich and delicious history and people.
Buying books directly from my website is often faster than shopping on Amazon, and for books that I sell directly, I donate fifty cents of every sale to Save Venice or Venice in Peril. You can access all the books from my main website at www.kathleenanngonzalez.com.