Meet a friendly new face in the world of contemporary fiction … Welcome to Grace Mattioli.
I was contacted by Grace herself, as an independent author, looking to promote her debut novel:
‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’
The enthusiasm with which she talks about the book is an inspiration to all new authors looking to promote their work.
Her website is still fledgling, yet gaining momentum all the time and the desire to ensure that the book is edited and published in its best possible light, is obvious to see.
Grace has kindly sent me a free kindle download of ‘Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees’, in return for an honest and unbiased opinion and I can’t wait to get started on it, just as soon as my backlog has cleared a little!!
Originally from New Jersey, Grace currently works as a librarian in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and two cats.
She started writing from an early age and recalls that one of the first stories she wrote was called “The Magic Pen.” In this story, the main character had a pen that, when used, would create stories as if by magic.
In college, she studied English literature, and gravitated towards contemporary fiction. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include: Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Edward Abbey and Douglas Adams.
She loves beautifully written prose and humorous fiction. She has also taken several writing workshops, including some in fiction writing and screenwriting, and has written several short stories and some flash fiction which can be found on The Short Humour site: http://www.short-humour.org.uk/.
Grace had always dreamed of one day writing a novel, but was not sure that she had it in her until recently. She says that she thoroughly enjoyed writing “Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees” and plans to start a new novel very soon.
‘OLIVE BRANCHES DON’T GROW ON TREES’
Imagine you are asked to plan a gathering for a feuding family of six that has not been gathered together in over six years. Add to this the fact that the parents of this family are newly separated and that your own life is falling apart. This is the challenge that befalls twenty-three year old Silvia Greco when she is drafted into helping her mother plan a party for her younger brother’s high school graduation. She takes it on, and in doing so, must negotiate with each member of her family, appealing to their individual needs and interests, in order to get them to go. Through this process, she learns that peace is not something that is easily achieved or freely existing. It is something that needs to be created, cultivated and nurtured. In other words, she learns that “olive branches don’t grow on trees.” Her passion for reuniting her family grows when she realizes this gathering may save them all from devolving into the families that her parents come from- families in which siblings sue and despise one another. Her passion grows more when she realizes the connection between her own restlessness, and her growing up in a house in which peace is nonexistent and fighting is the norm.
This story is filled with insight, humor and lovable, quirky characters. Although they are Italian-American and from New Jersey, they are nothing like the cast of Jersey Shore or The Sopranos. The father, Frank, works as a judge in a local courthouse, and spends his spare time drinking, cooking food that no one eats and maintaining the most perfectly manicured yard in town. The mother, Donna, is a college professor, and is giving single life a go after spending almost all of her adult life with Frank. Angie, the eldest child, married rich and devastated her father by moving from south Jersey to north Jersey, which as far as Frank is concerned, might as well be another planet. Silvia’s older brother, Cosmo, is brilliant and great at everything he does, but is also a classic underachiever. Her younger brother, Vince, is bursting with energy and is on his way to save the world. And then there is Silvia: Energetic, idealistic, and young, striving to bring her family together, while also struggling to settle down and find a career in which she may utilize her artistic talents. She is extremely independent as she can drive across the country and move from place to place alone. She is highly adaptable and does whatever she has to do to get by, whether that be working as a nude model for art schools or a candy store manager at a mall. Last but not least is Grandma Tucci, who Silvia loves fiercely. She has passed away years ago, but remains with Silvia in spirit, almost as if guiding her through her adventures in the lessons of life, love and peace.
In this day and age, this story could be about almost any family, in any street, anywhere in the world.
I have also witnessed first hand, the deception and subtle cajoling which is needed to bring all the members of a family together, for a special event or occasion.
I can’t wait to read how Grace is going to empower Silvia to achieve this mammoth task, however I am certain that there will be plenty of sparks flying and tears shed before she reaches her goal!!