Wednesday, March 10, 2010

EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY: PREVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, & GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY

BY FRANCES MAYES

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this sequel to her New York Times bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, the celebrated "bard of Tuscany" (New York Times) lyrically chronicles her continuing, two decades-long love affair with Tuscany's people, art, cuisine, and lifestyle.

Frances Mayes offers her readers a deeply personal memoir of her present-day life in Tuscany, encompassing both the changes she has experienced since Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany appeared, and sensuous, evocative reflections on the timeless beauty and vivid pleasures of Italian life. Among the themes Mayes explores are how her experience of Tuscany dramatically expanded when she renovated and became a part-time resident of a 13th century house with a stone roof in the mountains above Cortona, how life in the mountains introduced her to a "wilder" side of Tuscany--and with it a lively engagement with Tuscany's mountain people. Throughout, she reveals the concrete joys of life in her adopted hill town, with particular attention to life in the piazza, the art of Luca Signorelli (Renaissance painter from Cortona), and the pastoral pleasures of feasting from her garden. Moving always toward a deeper engagement, Mayes writes of Tuscan icons that have become for her storehouses of memory, of crucible moments from which bigger ideas emerged, and of the writing life she has enjoyed in the room where Under the Tuscan Sun began.

With more on the pleasures of life at Bramasole, the delights and challenges of living in Italy day-to-day and favorite recipes, Every Day in Tuscany is a passionate and inviting account of the richness and complexity of Italian life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

FRANCES MAYES is the author of four books about Tuscany. The now-classic Under the Tuscan Sun–which was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years and became a Touchstone movie starring Diane Lane. It was followed by Bella Tuscany and two illustrated books, In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home. She is also the author of the novel, Swan, six books of poetry, and The Discovery of Poetry. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. In addition to her Tuscany memoirs, Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, Frances Mayes is the author of the travel memoir A Year in the World; the illustrated books In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home; Swan, a novel; The Discovery of Poetry, a text for readers; and five books of poetry. She divides her time between homes in Italy and North Carolina.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Frances Mayes Interview: EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY
Frances is busy promoting this wonderful new book but took time to send me this great interview. Please read and enjoy...it will be important for your entry for the book giveaway


1.) Q: Every Day in Tuscany is your third book set in the small town of Cortona. What attracts you to the memoir form?


FM: I love the immediacy of present tense writing. Italy equals happiness to me and I like the challenge of writing about that state of being. In the books of poetry I wrote before my Italian life began, I was exploring the dark side—and that went on for many years. Yeats says that when he changed his syntax he changed his world. When I changed my world, my genre quickly shifted. This was a big surprise and gift.

2.) Q: Since Under the Tuscan Sun you’ve written two photo-texts, a novel, and a book of travel essays. So, you don’t exactly stick to a genre. Why is that?

FM: Instinct. And I don’t like to fall into habits of writing. After all, I’m trying to entertain myself in these books! My novel Swan is set in Georgia, where I grew up. I’d long wanted to steep myself in that place again. And A Year in the World allowed me to stay in places where I’d dreamed of living. There is a thread: all my writing involves that Southern obsession—a sense of place.

3.) Q: In Every Day in Tuscany you are shocked to encounter a side of Italian life you’d not seen before when you received a frightening threat due to your stance on a controversial local issue. Is this because you wore rose-colored glasses?

FM: [laughs] I always wear those, Versace if possible. No, seriously, I don’t romanticize Italy—if only I had the words to do justice to life there. This incident you refer to did shake me to the foundation. The roots of it always were present; I just never had known because I’d never publicly challenged anything, had never needed to.

4.) Q: How were you able to pick up and move on after this event?

FM: I hope I’ve written the answer in the book. What do you do after anything ugly happens? Pick up, move on. I think my relationship to the place deepened but it’s complex. After a betrayal, you may be wiser but you don’t necessarily want that wisdom.

5.) Q: What are the greatest joys you experience in your Tuscan life?

FM: First, that it always seems new. Second, that I know I’ll never, ever reach a point where I’ll say, Now I know Italy. I love the light and the sound of bells. Then there’s a whole crowd of peak pleasures: friends, food, art, wine, striking out in the Fiat and traveling thirty miles where I’m sure to find a new landscape, pasta, cheese, piazza, dialect, and fresco. Oh, and listening to stories, especially from the old Italians.

6.) Q: And in America?

FM: My family and friends. The rich, fecund smell of the South, its balmy—sometimes almost congealed--air. The jolt of contemporary art and architecture. Southern beaches seem sublime to me, as do the little towns with towering trees and front porches. The South is looped in my DNA so the metabolic connection feels right and profound.

7.) Q: You’ve written that although your house in Tuscany is not a dream house by magazine standards, it is “like a house in a dream.” What does that mean to you?

FM: Your secret dream house will correspond to your inner fantasy of what life might be. When I found Bramasole, I’d looked in several parts of Tuscany over a period of two years, bumping over rough roads to find collapsed houses overlooking raw quarries, or almost windowless houses guarded by nests of snakes and a thousand blackberry brambles. Two attracted me strongly–a roofless house with a tower built by the Knights Templar, and a sweet farmhouse in a ring of chestnut trees. Both were owned by contessas who balked the moment they realized someone might really want to buy the old family plots. One, through her tears, doubled the price on the spot. Then I encountered Bramasole. Be prepared for your dream house to look totally unlike anything you imagined you wanted. Recognizing the house is a mysterious and immediate moment, like falling in love at first sight. I stepped out of the car here, looked up, and said, “This is it.”


8.) Q: What is it like to live in two cultures, the American South and Tuscany?

FM: The yellow shoes, the particular spatula, the reference book–when you want them–will be at the other house. The journey to and fro is a drastic commute. I have missed my friends’ daughters’ weddings, an aunt’s illness, and I constantly miss my daughter and grandson. Mail goes astray in both places. Otherwise, touch iron, touch wood, living in each place, especially when one of them is foreign and new, throws the other into high relief. The political foibles, the table, style, everyday life—the contrasts make me take nothing for granted. This is a great boon when sometimes we come to a point of knowing, perhaps too well, how to do what we do, how to live as we live. I love the contrast of living here and living in the South. And, oddly, there are so many similarities—hospitality, manners, tolerance of eccentrics, even the sense of time being long and forgiving.

9.) Q: I’ve heard that foreigners are never really accepted when they settle in European countries. Is that correct?


FM: Well, I can speak only of Italy and NO, that’s absurd. It was a shock to find that we made friends before we spoke much Italian. My mother always said that attraction is based on smell; perhaps she was right. Maria Rita at the fruttae verdura was giving me a hug before I could talk to her. A neighbor asked us to dinner right away. We dreaded going–long awkward silences with only the sound of chewing in the air. “Ask us later, please, because we don’t speak well,” we got out in Italian. He looked incredulous, his eyebrows shot up and he said, “You eat, don’t you?” And that is the way it has gone for us. Other ex-pats around us have plenty of Italian friends, too. The key is to learn the language. If you don’t, your new friends will become bored while you cast around for the correct indirect object pronoun.

10.) Q: What are your favorite recipes in this book?


FM: All! One of the most interesting is the duck breasts from Il Postale’s chef. It may not seem Italian but actually the spice mixture is typical of Renaissance cuisine. Be careful not to overcook the spice mixture, as I did the first time I tried it. Nothing burns hotter than sugar and mine turned solid as it cooled. Note that “slightly caramelize” in the recipe and make sure it’s a sauce not instant quartz crystals! Another favorite is Ed’s kale and sausage soup, a rainy day masterpiece.

11.) Q: What’s your next project?


FM: I’m in that delicious period of contemplation. Another novel? A cookbook? A Southern memoir? In the kitchen, it’s fun to have all the burners going at once and maybe that’s a good model for writing.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO JULIE AND THE FINE PEOPLE
AT RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING,
I HAVE ONE COPY OF THIS AMAZING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT
YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN!



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE INTERVIEW WITH FRANCES OR SOMETHING YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE ASKED HER

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING IN FRANCES MAYES' WEBSITE HERE. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE THAT YOU MAY WANT TO SPEND A WHILE THERE!

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR LINK

BONUS ENTRIES: WATCH FOR MY REVIEW AND BONUS ENTRIES COMING UP VERY SOON WITH MORE CHANCES FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO WIN THIS WONDERFUL BOOK!

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MARCH 31

51 comments:

Colleen Turner said...

Very nice interview. I would have liked to hear where she would settle if she had to stop traveling: Italy or America?
Colleen
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

uI enjoyed the recipes on her website: I am definitely going to try Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup!
Colleen
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I enjoyed the recipes on her website: I am definitely going to try Kale, White Bean and Sausage Soup!
Colleen
candc320@gmail.com

Carol W. said...

I found the interview interesting, especially the author's explanation that the theme of her writing comes from "that Southern obsession- a sense of place".

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol W. said...

Recipes! That's the first thing that attracted me to the website. Steamed chocolate cake with vanilla sauce sounds terrific.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

g.g. said...

I think she seems happier since she started novels in Italy as she was writing very dark poetry. I would ask her why she wrote that kind of poetry

anjamie4 AT gmail dot com

g.g. said...

She had an interesting recipe for "chicken under a brick"

anjamie4 AT gmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

I loved finding out that Mayes grew up in Georgia and still has some roots in the South. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

I love the picture in the author's web site's header and I love that she includes recipes on her site! milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Libby's Library said...

Oooooooooh - she might do a cookbook.
That would be a winner!
I loved UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (both the book and the movie), an I would really enjoy the chance to read EVERY DAY IN TUSCANY.
Thanks for the giveaway.

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

traveler said...

Her variety of recipes are wonderful. A lovely website. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Libby's Library said...

Chicken Under a Brick...heading out to a Home Depot, to buy a couple!

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

traveler said...

I enjoyed this informative and interesting interview. Fascinating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Libby's Library said...

Tweeted @Libby'sLibrary

@BookinBingo Author Interview & Giveaway http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2010/03/every-day-in-tuscany-

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Kristen said...

Great interview. I'd have asked her if she would come to my house and cook for me since I'm in North Carolina too. OK, I wouldn't have, but... I would have asked how life has changed for her in the village since writing her books and if the people there had read them.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

Kristen said...

Those recipes at her site are now duly printed out and up in the kitchen so I can try them out. The website is quite appealing and very user friendly.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

Book Dilettante said...

I liked her comment on the importance of learning the language when living in a foreign country like Italy!

harvee44 AT yahoo DOT com

holdenj said...

I really enjoy food and finding new recipes is always nice. Her webiste houses some yummy ones.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

Great interview! I liked that she is involved in the local business/issues/etc.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

She really seems to have fallen under the spell of Tuscany.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Her website includes a Tuscan feast of recipes from this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

justpeachy36 said...

justpeachy36@yahoo.com

Please enter me in the giveaway.

I thought the interview was great. I like to find out more about the people who write the books that I enjoy.

Wickdogg said...

I enjoyed all the interesting links she had that you could explore and read

wickdogg at gmaildot com

Wickdogg said...

I enjoyed reading how the people were friendly even when they first arrived and said no to dinner because they didn't speak enough Italian yet and the lady said "you eat don't you"..I thought that was funny

wickdogg at gmaildot com

Pricilla said...

She has a busy few weeks coming up:
My book tour travels begin this week. Durham NC, Boston, Atlanta, New York, New Canaan, Portland, Marin County CA, Menlo Park CA, La Jolla CA, Newport Beach CA, Napa, University of GA at Athens, University of FL at Gainesville, Miami, Boston again, Toronto, Minneapolis

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Pricilla said...

Your interviews are always very thorough.
thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Pricilla said...

I tweeted
thank you
http://twitter.com/BrokenTeepee/status/10337013394
kaiminani at gmail dot com

The Girl from the Ghetto said...

Oh, this book looks great Bingo! How exciting that you got to interview her as well.

I would have asked her to tell me in great detail her favorite Tuscan meal she ever ate. And then proceed to have a two hour conversation about it. I can seriously remember what my favorite meal was in Italy from 2005, so I'm a bit of a foodie, lol!

thegirlfromtheghetto@gmail.com

The Girl from the Ghetto said...

I was excited to learn that our author had a good eye for photography. I really enjoyed looking over her photos, and my favorite was the one with all of the intersecting clothes lines. My Italian family hung clothes out to dry my whole life.

thegirlfromtheghetto@gmail.com

The Girl from the Ghetto said...

I tweeted your giveaway.

http://twitter.com/NerdGirlBlogger

thegirlfromtheghetto@gmail.com

Margie said...

I thought the photos on her website were fascinating...such beautiful country.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

I found it interesting that she renovated a 13th century home in the mountains.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Pamela Keener said...

I am a follower via e-mail and google reader just in case I miss something.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290@comcast.net

Pamela Keener said...

I love the author's sense of humor in the interview particularly looking thru Versace glasses.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290@comcast.net

Lacey said...

I would want to ask if she is ever going to leave the states completely and live in tuscany.

Lacey914 at sbcglobal dot net

Lacey said...

she has been in tuscany for two decades

Lacey914 at sbcglobal dot net

Lacey said...

she has been in tuscany for two decades

Lacey914 at sbcglobal dot net

Lacey said...

http://twitter.com/HtxAstrosFan/status/10580830971

tweet

Lacey914 at sbcglobal dot net

nfmgirl said...

Nice interview! I'm usually not very good at reading through interviews, but I loved this one. I love reading her thoughts! And sausage and kale soup? Yum!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I love her pictures on her website: the clothes stretched on clotheslines between buildings, the plazzas, the tiny cars that look like "clown cars" that allow them to get through tight streets that look like little more than alleys. Her photos bring Italy to life.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

MiscMayzee said...

Why I don't live in two countries, I can definitely relate to the feeling of transplantation she describes. I live very far away from my family and the disconnect is there.

MiscMayzee said...

I love the photo album feature...lovely scenery. Makes me want to grab a passport tomorrow.

ashleymaymott(at)aol(dot)com

nfmgirl said...

Blogged:
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/2010/03/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-03-20-10.html

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

LoveMyCoffee said...

I want to try her chicken under a brick recipe from her website.

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

LoveMyCoffee said...

Very nice interview. I thought it was cute that when worrying about being invited to dinner and not speaking the language it was resolved with "you eat don't you."

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

Amy said...

In her interview, Frances Mayes comes across as a very warm, humorous, intelligent woman. I really enjoyed the idea that she writes in several different genres because she's trying to entertain herself in her books, I think that's the first time I have heard an author express that reason for their writing. I think itputs a different spin on the idea of writing!
I would really like to talk to Ms. Mayes more about living in 2 very different cultures, more about the similarities and differences, does she think her relationships have suffered or improved because of it and if she foresees a day when she will settle completely in one place.

Thank you for a great interview!

~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Amy said...

I loved the pictures on Frances Mayes' website, they're so beautiful and it's fun to see bits of daily life!
My favorite part of her website is the journal. So far my favorite entry is March 2nd about her new book coming out, how the cover was done, about Bramasole including a beautiful picture of the house and yard. Frances Mayes is honest, funny and so refreshing in her journal entries that they are a joy to read!

DarcyO said...

Great interview! I found it interesting that people in the South and Italy are so similar. I'd love to read this one.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/11332025925

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

What are some of the other countries you have travelled to? What types of experiences have you had?

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I think the steamed chocolate cake sounds pretty interesting.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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