On April 30th, I had the opportunity to interview E. Graziani, author of “Jess Under Pressure”, “Alice of the Rocks”, and “War in My Town” during her online Facebook launch party. Not only is Ms. Graziani an author, she is also a teacher, wife, and mother. Knowing a bit of her history, I thought I’d dig a bit deeper, to find out what inspires her writing, and how she manages to create such compelling works.
J: What was your inspiration for “Jess Under Pressure”, and what prompted you to write it?
E: I was lucky enough to meet up with some old (sorry guys!) friends from high school. Of course, we know how busy we all get and our lives go in different directions. Well, we reunited at a (you guessed it) high school reunion. It made me think of how lucky I was to have friends that made me feel like 25 years didn’t really make all that much difference. And that maybe some people may not value that – then, I thought of Jess.
J: You’ve written two books for younger readers – “Alice of the Rocks” and “War in My Town” – what made you decide to write for adults?
E: The idea just struck me – actually after I heard the phrase “do more”, which is the title of Dr. Jessica Britton’s book. I wanted to explore the women’s fiction realm with this idea for a short story, which blossomed into a novella. Plus, I hate routine!
J: This novel is emotionally charged. What was the most difficult emotion for you to capture?
E: I think the parts where she is in the depths of depression over her loss were the hardest. The dialogue with her daughters having arguments was the easiest – it happens all the time around here!
J: Why did you choose Gananoque as the primary setting for this book? Do you have any ties to the area?
E: Yes. I have family up there. It is a beautiful spot, and the island and areas surrounding it are charming.
J: Did you find writing for adult women easier or more difficult than writing for younger audiences?
E: I found writing for adult women much easier because that demographic is where I am right now. I feel an affinity to women’s issues, which of course, are unique to each woman but are still rooted in the same premise: being successful at whatever you choose to do, especially those surrounding family, job, marriage and juggling all of the above. I am a child of the sixties – bra burning, Gloria Steinem, women’s lib and MS. magazine – all that is something that I now see some of the young women of today, throwing away as ‘feminism’ as if that’s a bad word! Feminism may have taken on different layers as it progressed and evolved, but it is still based on equality to our male counterparts for equal work – and as far as women have come, we are still not there. So in answer to your question (sorry I got side tracked!) Jess Under Pressure was very easy for me to write – though I don’t have poor Jess’s issues (well, maybe I do argue with my daughters just a little) there are many women out there who are putting on a brave face, yet are in deep need of some support because they put too many demands on themselves. I see it all the time in coworkers, friends and family so I know all about it. Plus, writing for an adult audience is extremely cathartic!
J: Are you considering writing any more novellas or novels for adults?
E: Novellas are awesome because you really don’t need to invest that much time in any one character or topic or plot line. And writers can hit on many subjects and experiment with different characters in a relatively short space. I would love to write more adult novellas or short stories, particularly for women, and perhaps have it published as a collection one day. I am one to write from inspiration, so if a good story pops into my head for an adult book, I will definitely run with the idea. As for now, I am seriously buckling down to complete the sequel and conclusion – Part II of ALICE OF THE ROCKS… I am dying to give Alice and Claudio the completion they deserve! They will always be my favourite characters, because they were my first!