Category Archives: Interviews

Author Cassandra Clare Discusses Her Audiobooks

Watch a short video of Cassandra Clare talk about the Clockwork Angel audiobook and narrator Jennifer Ehle

Simon & Schuster Audio

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By: Cassandra Clare  • Narrated by: Jennifer Ehle

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Interview: author, PC Cast

Mills & Boon Nocturne

Visit Author, PC Cast on~line

  • *Can we expect the same mix of ancient and modern mythology that have become such an integral part of your other novels?

Yes, sort of.  In THE AVENGER my modern heroine travels back to 60 AD Briton and Boudicca’s time.  I very loosely follow historical events, with a touch of magic and mysticism.

  • *Would you call yourself a student of ancient history and myth? Do you enjoy the research necessary to keep the characters “honest?”

I would call myself a fan of mythology.  I am intrigued by certain periods of history, and I do enjoy researching, but I would by no means call myself a historian.  I think history translates more easily onto the page through mythology, and much can be learned about a people through the myths they tell.  For instance, what you learn about me through the myths I create is that I believe in empowering and valuing women.

  • *The Avengers is hotly anticipated – many writers have said this type of anticipation makes them very nervous – fear of not measuring up to the “hype” – how do you feel?

I’m used to being a bestseller and have found that it works for me not to pay attention to hype or critics.  Every time I write a book I set out to tell the story I’d most want to read.  I believe in doing my best each time and letting the cards fall where they may…

  • *The series centers around strong, female lead characters that return to ancient periods to retrieve pieces of a medallion that could alter history – how did you come to select Briton?

I was approached to write one of the Time Raiders novels for Nocturne because I am a military veteran (all of the authors of the TR series are vets).  I was interested because the idea of vets writing with military heroines sounded fun, and then when I saw that Boudicca was one of the choices proposed for time travel I was intrigued as I had been researching her because I decided her daughters would begin the House of Night Dark Daughters.  So I happily signed on!

  • *Do you find it easier to write as part of a team or solo?

Actually, I don’t really co-author with Kristin.  She serves as my teen voice editor.  I do all the writing, and when I’ve finished she goes through the manuscripts and comments on voice and pop references

  • *If you had a chance to work with any writer (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Ray Bradbury!  He’s a genius and I’d love to observe his writing process.

  • *What’s the best advice you have ever been given by another writer?

Just sit down and write the damn book.

  • *Here’s the: “on a deserted island question” – If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have 3 books to read for the rest of your life, what three books would you select?

Well, first of all, three wouldn’t be enough so I’d have to write lots of my own.  But let’s pretend like a series counts as one book, so I’d choose:
1) Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER books,
2) All of Christopher Moore’s books,

  • *Can you give us a hint about what is next for PC Cast?

Beginning in December my Goddess Summoning Series will be released in the UK, starting with GODDESS OF CAMELOT.  I love this books and hope my UK fans will enjoy them, too! I’m working on pre-production for a film adaptation of one of my Goddess Summoning Books, GODDESS OF THE ROSE, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Thank you, for stopping by The Den and sharing a few minutes with us – Can’t wait to dive into “The Avengers!”

Visit PC Cast Online

Visit UK Publisher Mills & Boon

“You are about to enter a place of power, a place beyond imagining.”

Alex thought communicating with the dead was the worst of her troubles. She couldn’t have been more wrong!

She’s just been sent to 60 AD by a secret army unit to recover missing pieces of a medallion that could change the world.

Alex must use her gifts to entice Druid Caradoc into helping her. Yet soon she’s torn between duty and the man who’s been haunting her dreams. Returning to the present is the noble thing to do, but her heart tells her to stay in this enticing new world of goddesses and warriors.

Only they can cross the boundaries of time; only they have the power to save humanity.


Celebrating 50 Years of Literary Excellence To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – pick up your copy today!

To Kill a Mockingbird



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Interview: author, Barbara Worton

Friendly Fireside Chat with Barbara Worton, author of 
BedTime Stories, the short, long & tall tales of a sleepwriter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview: Shannon Rumple (children’s author)

WELCOME FRIENDS – Kick off your shoes & come on in! The coffee is on, grab a seat, get comfy & stay awhile —
book-circle.jpgGood Morning Reader’s:
Thanks for visiting the Reading Den this morning – We are pleased to be joined by Shannon Rumple author of “Elwood’s Crown” a bilingual children’s book, that introduces us to a fiesty, young frog named Elwood.

SPECIAL APPEARANCE:  October 27th, Shannon will be hosting a bookfair at Barnes & Noble, located in the Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota) It will be a fundraiser for Paul & Sheila Wellstone Elementry.

          Visit Shannon’s website  

rj: Shannon , thank you for taking the time to join us & answer a few questions, this morning – we are so excited that you have taken time out of your busy schedule to stop by the Reading Den.

SR: I am excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

rj: What was your favorite book as a child?

SR: I loved all of the Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary books. I also read R.L. Stein Goosebump books as well.

rj: What books are in your TBR pile at home?

SR: Well, I just finished reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, by JK Rowling and “A Thousand Bones” by PJ Parrish. Both really good, they both had surprise endings. I am not sure what is next on my list.

rj: What inspired you to write children’s literature?

SR: A couple of things inspired me to write. When I was in second grade we were given an assignment to write a story about a turkey. I won a price for my writing and I loved the feeling of accomplishment. The second thing that inspired me to write was that I came from a family that did not have much. So, I would write skits for my sister and two brothers to act out for my parents. I love seeing the smile on people’s face when they read. It may sound corny but my heart melts when I see children enjoying one of my stories.

rj: One of the first things I noticed about the book, was the equal division bilingual presentation, for which I applaud your innovative and refreshing approach.
Tell us about your decision to make Elwood’s Crown bilingual.

SR; My daughter was in a bilingual kindergarten class. They would send home these books we were suppose to read with our children, but they were only in Spanish. I would read it to her and she would ask me what the story was about. I would go and get my Spanish/English dictionary and decipher the little book. I thought to myself there has to be an easier way. I found out that her teacher was a licensed translator. I talked to her about translating “Elwood’s Crown” into Spanish. That is how it was born so to speak.

It’s a wonderful way to introduce children to different cultures, as well as, teach acceptance and equality.

rj: Two school’s of thought with writing: One, you have most of the book out-lined, from the beginning knowing exactly where it’s going or Two, you begin with a general idea and let your imagination take it from there… which would you say best describes your writing style?

SR: For me it is a mixture. How I came up with “Elwood’s Crown” is very unique in the way that I made it up on the spot. My family and I were moving from Oregon to Minnesota. We were traveling by RV. All of my daughter’s books were backed away in the moving truck that would meet us at our new house. My daughter kept begging me to read her a story. I have read to her every night since she was born. Well thinking about how she lost the crocheted purse her grandmother made her. I told her the story of Elwood. Now, when I told her the story the frogs did not have a name nor was Sam the turtle in it. But, when I finished telling her the story, my husband told me that I should write it down. The interesting thing is I didn’t write out until 2 years later.

I do outline most of my stories to keep me going in a general direction. Some of my stories I just wrote without any idea where it was going. I found that the stories with no outlines I ended up revising a whole lot more. Knowing the message I want to convey and how the book ends helps a lot.

rj: While writing “Elwood’s Crown” did you ever find yourself thinking….’gosh, how did that happened – that’s not at all what I had planned?

SR: Throwing in the Owl was interesting. That was not planned but mostly it went the way I wanted.

rj: How did you select the title? If there were other titles you considered, how about sharing one or two with us?

SR: The crazy thing about me and story titles is I stick with the first thing that comes to my head. A lot of the time I have the title first. With “Elwood’s Crown” I did not have a title. My husband gave it it’s title. At first I was afraid it gave to much away but then I thought that it was the best title for the book. My husband does not like to admit it but he can write too!

rj: Do you think about your characters, even when you aren’t writing?

SR: Yes, all the time. When I am watching my children, I think okay now how can Elwood learn something from this. Or I will see something that interest me or I will meet a interesting person and I will think I have the perfect story for that personality or event.

rj: Reader’s are curious about what author’s like and dislike the most about writing…
(1)Which part of the process was the most enjoyable for you?
(2)And the least?

SR: (1) The initial spark of an idea, especially when it hits me in the weirdest times. That is what reminds me that I am a writer. I can not tell you how many times I have ran out of the shower searching for a pen in end table drawer to write something down. It is crazy sometimes. The rush of seeing a story unfold in my mind and transferring it down to paper is amazing. JK Rowling and I have something in common, I write everything by hand then type it into a document on the computer.

(2) Having someone pick it apart lol. I know it is necessary to make it the best it can be but to have some just rip it apart it stings sometimes. To be a writer you have to have tuff skin and you can not take it personally.

rj: If you could spend the day, talking with and receiving advice from any author, who would chose?

SR: That is a hard question. I have three I would really love to talk to. Silver Ravenwolf, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary.

rj: Do you have any new projects in the works? – might we see Elwood again?

SR: Actually, yes you will defiantly see Elwood again. I have finished the second book. I have it already translated just waiting to hear back from the publisher. I am working out a few things with the third one. I have the fourth one outlined. I am also working on a chapter book series for 8-12 year olds.

rj: Now, here are a few silly questions that several readers submitted a few months back – saying they never see in an interview – So here we go..
1-Favorite color?
2-Favorite food?
3-Pet Peeve?
4-Favorite Disney Movie?
5-Favorite animated character?

1- Dark Blue
2- anything Italian
3- People who cut themselves down. I am a firm believer that you can do anything if you put your mind to. I do not like the words “I Can’t”
4- Mulan
5- Bugs Bunny

Thanks for being a good sport!

rj: Any advice you would like to share with aspiring writers?

SR: Read, Read, Read, write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite….. Never give up and join a good critique group. Make sure you write down any and all ideas even if they sound silly. Get a digital recorder it helps when ideas come at the most inopportune times.

I am attending the Institute of Children’s literature. My instructor is Author Rhea Ross and she is awesome.

rj: Are there any special children/youth books you would recommend?Dragon

SR: A book I would recommend for those that like to read children books would be “Dragon” By J.G. Eastwood. She is a wonderful Author and a great friend she has given me mountains of advice.


rj: Shannon, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for participating in Saturday Spotlight here at 3Rs – I have enjoyed talking with you, just as I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewing “Elwood’s Crown”. .. I will be anxiously awaiting your next book!

SR: (closing) It has been a pleasure chatting with you and thank you for having me.

That’s all the time we have today – I want to thank Shannon Rumple for stopping by the Reading Den and talking with us. Elwood’s Crown is available at all on-line retailers, as well as, your local brick & mortar booksellers.

newspaper.jpgDon’t forget to mark your calendars if you will be in the Bloomington Minnesota area, on October 27th – Shannon will be hosting a bookfair * Barnes & Noble, located inside the Mall of America!

Also, check out 3Rs full review of “Elwood’s Crown” herealot_of_work_emoticons.gif. Click the book cover to order your copy today from Amazon and share this heartwarming tale with the special children in your life! elwoods-crown-by-shannon-rumple.jpg


Visit Shannon at

Here at Real Reader Reviews we enjoy reading and reviewing, but most of all, sharing our love of books with other readers is by far what keeps us turning pages and posting entries. As summer begins to fade into fall and children head back to school, mandatory reading will become a part of many households. . . . . It’s so important during this time to include “pleasure reading” – and don’t forget children are always watching the adults in their lives…. silent clues, behaviors, attitudes, and so on are being communicated everyday, via our daily routines. When children see their parents enjoying a book, that sends a message that no amount of parental persuasion or educational rhetoric could ever equal. So, if you are looking for a good book – check out our full review section… honest, unbiased opinions from real readers.   

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Posted by on August 11, 2007 in Interviews


Interview: Bob Avey

starbucks-mug.jpgGood Morning Reader’s, Thanks for stopping by the Reading Den this morning -for our Saturday Spotlight… this week, We are pleased to be joined by Bob Avey, author of “Twisted Perception”


rj: Bob, thank you for taking the time to join us & answer a few questions, this morning –BA: I’m happy to. Thank you for your interest.

rj:  What books had the most affect on you, as a reader and/or writer?

BA: The most important book for me, as a writer, was A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. L’Engle’s book fascinated and inspired me, and I knew after reading it that I, too, wanted to write. Other than that, anything by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris, James Lee Burke.

….I think all our readers would agree with you, sitting down with a good Koontz, Harris or King book is a wonderful reading experience.

rj:  Two school’s of thought with writing: One, you have most of the book out-lined, from the beginning or Two, you begin with a general idea and let your imagination take it from there… which would you say best describes your approach “Twisted Perception”?

BA: I fall into the second category. I’ve tried outlining but it just doesn’t work for me. What works best for me is an idea, a yellow legal pad, a good mechanical pencil and a quiet place where I can be alone.

rj:  While writing “Twisted Perception“, did you ever find yourself thinking….’gosh, how did that happened – that’s not at all what I had planned?

BA: Not really. Since I didn’t outline, I didn’t know where the book was going, or even the next chpater until I wrote it. It’s kind of scary, like walking highwire without a net, but it’s immensly satisfying when the story comes to life as it comes out of my pencil. 
rj:  When did you decide “Twisted Perception” would be the title?

BA: It happened during the last rewrite. I had several working titles, all of which involved the concept of an unusual way of percieving the world, but during the rewrite, number four by the way, I began to understand how twisted my villian really was and the title just fell into place.
rj:  Do you think about your characters, even when you aren’t writing?

BA: Yes, and the deeper I get into the novel, the more alive they become. In fact, Twisted Perception began when a character, not fully developed yet, spoke to me one night. He said, “You know, Bob, you can’t fill out a homicide report, indicating the suspect to be a ghost.” I liked the idea, and…

rj: Reader’s are curious about what author’s like and dislike the most about writing…
(1)Which part of the process was the most enjoyable for you?
(2)And the least?

BA: (1) Bringing the characters and the world they live in to life satisfies me in a way that nothing else can. When a story begins to happen and drags me in, it’s just about all I think about. It consumes me.
(2) The actual typing of the manuscript into the computer.

rj: If you could spend the day, talking with and receiving advice from any author, who would chose? BA: Dean Koontz. The man is a genius.

rj:  Do you have any new projects in the works?

BA: Yes, I’ve just completed, Beneath a Buried House, the second Kenny Elliot novel, which is actually a prequel to Twisted Perception. I’ll be sending the manuscript to an agent within the next two weeks.

rj:  Multiple installments featuring Kenny Elliott… that will give mystery lovers a new detective series to follow. That’s what I’m hoping to do. Hopefully Beneath a Buried House will be out within the year.

rj:  Any advice you would like to share with aspiring writers?

BA: The best advice I can give is to write because you love the process, not becasue you want to get rich. After that, write the best book you are capable of then rewrite it at least two more times. Be true and trust your ability, and don’t resort to tricks of gimmicks.

    Closing: I’d like to ask those who have not read, Twisted Perception, to please visit my website where chapter one can be read online. In addition, you can register to win a free autographed copy.

rj:  Bob, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for participating in Saturday Spotlight here at 3Rs – I have enjoyed talking with you, just as I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewing “Twisted Perception”… I will be anxiously awaiting your next book!

BA: (closing) Thank you for the wonderful review of, Twisted Perception. Knowing that people enjoy reading what I write is what keeps me going.

twisted-perception-by-bob-avey.gifThat’s all the time we have today – I want to thank Bob for stopping by the Reading Den and talking with us. Twisted Perception is available at all on-line retailers, as well as, your local brick & mortar booksellers. If you’re looking for a fast paced, character driven novel filled with everything from the painful scars left by child abuse to brutal murders, zodiac like clues and the constant twinge of corruption hanging in the air, Twisted Perception delivers on every level.  Pick up your copy today! 

You can read 3Rs full review of “Twisted Perception” by clicking here alot_of_work_emoticons.gif

Visit the author’s website:

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Posted by on August 4, 2007 in Interviews


Interview: Cheryl Kaye Tardif

 Good Morning, Den~Friends–
   Early this morning, with hot coffee in hand, I sat down to talk with Cheryl Kaye Tardif,  about her new book Whale starbucks-mug.jpgSong.  This book has been creating quite a buzz online and we are honored to have been Cheryl’s first stop on her brand new Virtual Book Tour!  So grab a cup of your favorite ‘joe’, kick back in a comfy chair and check out my one on one talk with Cheryl –                          (interview conducted: August 1, 2007)


Cheryl Kaye Tardif author of Whale Song

whalesong-from-cheryl.jpgISBN: 1601640072
ISBN-13: 9781601640079
Format: Paperback, 208pp

Publisher: Kunati Incorporated

Click cover to purchase from 
Welcome to 3Rs Reading Den, Cheryl, I am so glad you were able to join us this morning – it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with you, and give our visitors a sneak peek at Whale Song.
CKT:  Thank you, RJ, for hosting me on your site today. I am very happy to be here…virtually…in spirit.  🙂

rj:  Let’s start off with talking about characters – the creation of & the relationship the character has to the author.

CKT:  Characters are often created as extensions of the author. Sometimes, when I write, I visualize a purely fictional character, someone appealing with their own set of flaws, quirk and talents. Those are the things that make a character interesting, compelling and someone you want to cheer for…. or hate. Only once have I created a character that is in many ways me. And that was Sarah Richardson in Whale Song.

rj:  Tell us more about Sarah.

CKT:  In Whale Song, my newest release, Sarah is a young woman (in the prologue) who flashes back to her childhood (age 11 to start), to a time that was filled with challenges, chaos and tragedy. When Whale Song first began to “haunt” me — for that’s how I always think of it — I immediately visualized Sarah at age 11. I saw her as an extension of me at that age.
  As she grew, I realized there were so many similarities between us. Sarah had to move from one country to another because of her father’s job; I had to move a lot when I was young too, since my dad was in the military. Sarah had to leave some of her belongings behind; I had to do the same when we moved from Canada to Bermuda for three years.
  Both Sarah and I had to leave best friends behind and learn to make new ones, probably one of the more difficult challenges for a young girl. After a while the letters from your friends stop coming, they move on and so do you. But then there are those special friendships that last a lifetime. Sarah and I experienced that as well.
   Sarah moves to a very remote part of Vancouver Island, BC. Since I spent many childhood years in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC, I know exactly what it feels like to be so isolated. I’ll admit, some of my own experiences were not happy ones. The racial tension between natives (Haida) and whites — particularly military whites — was strained. There are some scenes in Whale Song where Sarah is horribly bullied. Those come from my ow experiences. And like Sarah, time has taught me understanding, tolerance and even forgiveness.

rj: Wow – Whale Song sounds like an incredible journey, both for you as an author, and for the reader. 
  On a lighter note – readers are always curious about the personal favorites of writers… Did you have a favorite book as a child?

CKT:  I can’t really say I had just one. I share with Sarah a particular fondness to a very popular series. Because you are my first stop on the Whale Song Virtual Book Tour, AND since you unknowingly selected a Prize Day, here’s something just for your visitors….

*The first email I receive that correctly tells me what series Sarah was reading in Whale Song will win an autographed copy of Divine Intervention – a psychic suspense/romance.   
CONGRATULATIONS TO:  Melba J – she was the first to email  Cheryl with the correct answer, she will be receiving an autographed copy of Divine Intervention.   Again – Congratulations! and a big thank you to Cheryl.

By the way the correct answer is:  Nancy Drew !!!

                                                                      One prize. no returns, no cash value.

rj: That’s Fantastic! Good Luck everyone!
 Which two books have you recently enjoyed reading?

CKT:  This is an easy question to answer. Mothering Mother by Carol D O’Dell and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  Mothering Mother is a heartwarming, and heart-wrenching memoir of a daughter coping with the care of her mother who has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I laughed and I cried. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is also a poignant story, this time a fictional story set in early China. It is a beautiful story of Chinese tradition, like old sames and foot binding, and a tale of friendship.

rj: Is there anything you hope readers will discover reading Whale Song? A message?

CKT:  As an author, I strive to reward my readers with characters they feel they know. I want readers to miss Sarah, her mother Daniella and father Jack. And I want each reader to come away with a message that life is too short to hold grudges or to hate. I believe Whale Song is the novel that will make you change the way you view life… and death.

rj:  Cheryl, thank you, so much, for taking the time to stop by and talk with me this morning. What an enlightening and heartwarming talk! Is there anything you would like to say before you go – .

CKT:  Thank you for inviting me to be here, in The Reading Den. This month I am giving away free books at some of my virtual book tour stops, so be sure to check my schedule and drop by. 16-member-profile.png

Host Closing:
   We want to thank Cheryl for chatting with us this morning and hope you, the reader, have enjoyed this interview. We want to thank all visitors to The Reading Den – Don’t forget you have a chance to win an autographed copy of Divine Intervention — just send Cheryl an email with the answer to her question: what series was Sarah reading? Good Luck!

A quick note, frequent visitors to the Den will realize that my review of Whale Song hasn’t been published. Due to a mailing issue, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy of the book.  After talking with Cheryl, I must admit, I am even more excited about reading the book.   Check back soon for my full review of Whale Song!

Available at all online bookstores, as well as, discount chains and your local brick & mortar.whale-song-by-cheryl-kaye-tardif.jpg
Whale Song
Cheryl Kaye Tardif

ISBN-10: 1601640072
ISBN-13: 978-1601640079
Kunati Inc.

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Posted by on August 1, 2007 in Interviews


Int: Maria Liberati, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking

 spot-light-interview-pic.jpgSPOT LIGHT INTERVIEW
featuring:Maria Liberatia author of
“The Basic Art of Italian Cooking


  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: art of Living,PrimaMedia, Inc.; 1 edition
  •  ISBN-10: 1928911005
  •  ISBN-13: 978-1928911005


     RJ) Today we are thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with
    Maria Liberati, former international supermodel, turned celebrity chef and
    best selling author. Maria will be talking with us today about her new
    book entitled, “The Basic Art of Italian Cooking” and the charity that
    will receive a portion of the proceeds, as well as, telling us a little
    about herself.
    Maria – thank you so much for joining us today, for Saturday Morning
    Spot Light

    [Maria L.] Thanks so much for having me it is so nice to be
    doing an interview here since I have heard from many of your bloggers
    already. They are such an eclectic and talented group of bloggers!!

    [Rj] Transition from modeling to cooking? The two worlds seem to be almost
    at odds with each other, as shown by recent headlines – Was this a
    difficult transition for you?

    [Maria L.]  You mean from- fashion diva to kitchen diva…. Well, I always
    tell everyone that food is related to fashion and style. The vibrant
    colors of fresh foods- red tomatoes, fresh lemons, fresh basil, berries
    and radicchio and so many others have such beautiful colors- albeit
    created naturally by nature. The style in the way the food is presented
    from the plates, silverware and table linens. I found the kitchen
    another way of expressing my love for fashion using foods. And oddly
    enough my cooking style reflects my fashion style- uncluttered, high
    quality, simple yet elegant.

    [Rj] That’s true – even the simplest of family get-togethers are centered around the
    food & the presentation of the food. Sophisticated simplicity.
    The stories throughout the book are beautifully written and heartwarming – Tell us a bit about
    your family….

    [Maria L.] While I was modeling in Italy, I also began studying my family history.
    I spent time at my family’s vineyard in the mountains of Italy when I
    was on vacation. At the vineyard (that was started by my great
    grandfather) my family produced and sold wines and cheese typical to
    that region, fruit and vegetable preserves, sweets and more. I began
    studying with my family there the production of the different things
    they made. Everything was always made from the freshest ingredients
    grapes produced there, fruits and vegetables grown there. And producing
    foods in Italy from cheese, to wine, to breads is really an art.
    Everything-foods, methods of production have a history to it that is
    related to the ancient Romans or the monks that began civilizing and
    teaching growing and producing of foods to the Europeans. It really
    intrigued me.
    I began attending a culinary school, and then also began researching the
    recipes of one of my great aunts who was a personal chef to members of the
    royal family. She had to earn a living to support her and her sister. Her
    parents (my great grandparents) died when her littlest sister (my
    grandmother) was only about 4.
    I never met my great aunt Angelina- she died before I was born, but
    after reading her hand written recipes I feel really close to her and
    enjoyed ‘feeling her presence’ through her recipes. It is hard to
    describe but Italians can be so sophisticated but yet so earthy and have
    a complicated but yet simple approach to things. They always have a way
    of making something special out of something simple.
    For instance in some of her recipes, because way back in the early 1900’s
    people didn’t have the luxury of an electric timer to time things- so in
    some of her recipes you are directed to sing a specific number of bars of
    a song to time the cooking of an item-probably a more accurate way of
    timing then the modern appliances of today.
    But something else you felt in those recipes was a love and a passion for
    the special recipes she created. I worked through the recipes with some
    and brought them up to modern ‘speed’.

    But back to my story.. I set up an office in the mountains of Abruzzo for
    writing and researching and compiling- and I began writing. Stories about
    my life about beautiful experiences that happened while modeling, learning
    to cook and just my daily life in the mountains of Abruzzo. One thing led
    to another- I was asked to sit for a painting by a famous painter in
    Italy- his name is Sergio Terzi but his moniker is Nerone.
    He has painted portraits of Luciano Pavarotti, (International recording
    artist) Zucchero and some other Italian celebs.
    As Italians are always concerned about food and hearth and home, I was
    invited to spend time there in the little town he is in – right near
    Parma- where they produce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. So I ended up
    studying with an artisan cheesemaker the process of making
    Parmigiano-Reggiano on days I wasn’t needed-it was like studying another
    art and it is really an art. They still use today almost the very same
    process invented by the monks back in medieval times to produce the
    cheese. So this became another chapter in my book.
    Upon returning back home to Abruzzo- I began working on perfecting my
    cooking method. Word spread like ‘wildfire’ in our town and I soon had
    people in Italy asking for my recipes-that was when I knew I had something
    . I began getting requests from different vineyards and farms to design
    cooking programs for their tourists- especially the tourists from Germany,
    England and Japan-since I speak both Italian and English and most of these
    tourists do also speak English.
    And from the popularity of the programs overseas I was asked to do some
    programs and special appearances at food conventions, events here in the
    States. And then came the book series that was developed from my cooking
    approach and finally trademarked. Many national and international
    magazines have featured me and/or my recipes and get emails from all over
    the world of people asking for recipes or tips on cooking. I was so
    honored that 2 well known chefs endorsed my book- TV chef- Jim Coleman and
    Executive chef- Michael DeGeorgio of Il Cortile restaurant in NY City.

    The cooking method that I developed, aptly titled Maria Liberati’s The
    Basic Art of Italian Cooking
    became a trademark just recently. My method
    of cooking emphasizes making something special in a simple, uncomplicated
    way. Easy enough for the novice cook but special enough for any level cook
    to be intrigued.

    [Rj] It’s always interesting to readers to learn how the author develops a
    book. Some say that they know exactly what they want from a book when they
    begin – while others start with a basic idea and flow from there…. When
    you began working on the book, did you know what you wanted it to be? Or
    did it evolve as time went on?

    [Maria L.] It is something I really never expected but something that all of
    a sudden seemed to just fall into place-you know the overnight success
    after 20 yrs of hard work.
    It is something that almost seemed effortless but not because it was- but
    because I am so passionate about it that it never really seemed like hard
    work. But it really is hard work –all made up of things that I love. It
    also afforded me the opportunity to learn about my family’s history in
    Italy- which I am still researching.
    I have always believed that if you are passionate about what you do that
    the rest will follow. This career combines many things that I
    love-writing, foods, cooking healthy foods that promote a healthy
    lifestyle, Italian travel and writing about living in Italy and writing
    really about who I am.
    It is so tedious to your mind and life to do something that you are not
    passionate about. But it has really taken me a lot of hard work to get to
    where I am at. I consider myself fortunate to be able to do that.
    Everything I do in my life revolves around and enriches my career. I get
    to live in Italy for approx 6 months out of the year. My office is high in
    the mountains of Abruzzo. I can look out my window and see the bell tower
    of the church in the town and have a beautiful view of the mountains. If I
    want to take a break I can go to the elegant coffee bar right next to my
    office or take a walk around the corner to my favorite pizza oven (sort of

    [Rj] That sounds beautiful. Your passion is translated beautifully in the book.
     You’ve probably been asked this question a thousand times – but
    everyone wants to know, a few of your personal favorites…

    [Maria] My favorite recipe is Fresh Fruit Macedonia, my grandmother always made
    this as an ending to every dinner. And I love fresh fruit and just can’t
    finish a meal without having a piece of fruit for dessert-so I am thankful
    for my grandmother and my mom for getting me in the habit of eating fresh
    fruit after dinner.

    When I was growing up, and it wasn’t in vogue to have an extremely
    sounding ethnic name-like Maria Liberati or eat meals and dishes that they
    do in Italy- I was always fascinated by the things my grandparents did and
    couldn’t figure out why we did these things but my classmates in
    elementary school were doing ‘normal things’-like having apple pie for
    dessert and I would talk about having this wonderful fresh fruit type
    salad or Macedonia for dessert. So I always stuck out-whether I liked it
    or not-whether it was my very ethnic name or doing things that seemed
    foreign to my all American suburban classmates- like bringing Italian
    style pannini’s for lunch to school instead of bologna and cheese on white
    bread and Italian homemade cookies instead of the prepackaged lunch cakes.

    [Rj] A quick summer recipe you would like to share with our readers….

    [Maria L.] Anyway, this is a really healthy recipe, perfect for summer picnics. You
    can mix any fruits you want in it- but fresh fruits are best and organic
    are even better. With summer fruits like berries and melons and peaches
    it makes a great, refreshing summer picnic dessert. In winter you can also
    enjoy a mix with fresh apples, pears, kiwi, bananas, etc as well. The most
    important ingredient in this simple recipe is the lemon. Lemon is a
    natural food enhancer. It enhances the flavor of the fresh fruits. You can
    also accompany this with a small scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream.
    This recipe is on page 100 of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, (copyright
    2005-2006, art of living ,PrimaMedia,Inc.) it also includes a story about
    Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house.

    Fresh Fruit Macedonia
    (you can substitute other fresh fruits that are in season)

    *1 ½ cups fresh strawberries-hulled and halved
    *1 cup fresh blueberries
    *3 nectarines
    *3 peaches
    *2 bananas (peeled and cut into ¼ inch round pieces
    *1 fresh cantaloupe with skin and seeds removed and cut into ¼ inch cubes
    *Juice of one fresh lemon (seeded)-preferably organic
    *3tbsps to ¼ cup sugar or brown sugar (dependent upon your taste-fruit
    should already be sweet, so you should not need a lot of sugar to enhance
    it only to counteract the tart taste of lemon juice)
    *Fresh mint leaves for garnish

    Combine all fruits cut as directed in a decorative bowl. Cut lemon in
    half, squeeze both halves of lemon on top of fruit eliminating seeds.
    Sprinkle sugar on top. Stir fruit gently, so that lemon juice and sugar
    coat each piece. Place two lemon halves on top of fruit, cover bowl and
    place in refrigerator for 2 hours to marinade. Serve in serving dishes and
    top with fresh mint leaves.

    [Rj] I understand a television show is currently being developed…. can you
    tell us more about this new venture?

    [Maria L.] We just finished the pilot for two series- one is based on The Basic Art
    of Italian Cooking method and is called Maria Liberati’s The Basic Art
    of Italian Cooking ™ and is an instructional cooking show that uses
    recipes and cooking techniques from my trademarked cooking method.
    The other pilot- Taste and Tour will have us touring places that make
    foods in an artisan way-(a style of producing foods that is slowly coming
    back into ‘vogue’) and then creating recipes with those artisan foods.

    [Rj] It is wonderful that part of the proceeds from the sale of your book –
    “The Basic Art of Italian Cooking” will be donated to “Gilda’s Club”… Take
    just a moment and tell everyone about Gilda’s Club, what type of services
    they provide, etc?

    [Maria L.] Club New York City was named for Gilda Radner, the brilliant
    comedian and one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. For
    years, she made us laugh with memorable characters like Baba Wawa, Emily
    Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna. Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian
    cancer in 1986. She learned to live with cancer with help from a support
    community she found in California, where she felt she could express what
    she was really feeling—an experience she described in her autobiography,
    It’s Always Something. It was her dream that anyone touched by cancer
    would be able to receive the kind of emotional and social support that she
    had found. Following her death in 1989, Gilda’s husband, Gene Wilder and
    her cancer psychotherapist, Joanna Bull started the Gilda’s Club movement.
    In June, 1995 GCNYC opened its signature red door – Gilda’s legacy to
    everyone living with cancer.

    Since opening, GCNYC has offered a place where men, women and children
    living with cancer – and their families and friends – can join together to
    build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. New
    Yorkers touched by cancer embraced the opportunity to join our free
    support community, and by 1997, GCNYC had over 1,000 members. The success
    of our flagship prompted the formation, in 2000, of Gilda’s Club
    Worldwide, an organization dedicated to developing a national network of

    Most everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. In my family a young
    cousin of ours just lost her battle to cancer and left behind two young
    daughters. My fiancé’s father has been battling cancer for the past two
    years, and he has been winning thankfully.

    Everyone at Gilda’s Club is so appreciative of any help that it is such a
    pleasure to spread the word about what they do through my book and also be
    able to donate a portion of the profits to them.

    I have always been taught that the more you give the more you receive.
    From when I was growing up- both of my parents had to work to support
    their family-so we were not from a celebrity or ultra rich household. My
    mom would always make sure that we took time to go through the house a
    couple times a year to see what we could donate-clothes we outgrew, to
    small household items, toys to orphanages, families less fortunate,
    Salvation Army and others. So anyone can always find some way to help or
    donate to a great cause. And there is research that shows that giving and
    helping elevates your self esteem and is also therapeutic for the donor.
    So you really do get something back.

    I feel so fortunate that God has allowed me to make a career out of
    something that I love and I want to give to back something for that. But
    you know you don’t have to be a celebrity to give of your time, money and
    resources to help others less fortunate than you.

    Everyone has something –no matter how insignificant it may seem to
    others-to be thankful for. And you should always give back for anything
    that you have been blessed with and be thankful for what you have.

    Aside from the great feeling I get from helping such a wonderful cause.
    They have also given me a gift. The gift of learning to appreciate every
    day, and adopting the philosophy that if you think of each day as a gift
    that has been given to you- you will treat each day in a special way. So
    if you begin to think of your life in this way you will realize that you
    have many gifts to be thankful for..

    Each year Gilda’s Club raises $10,000 (at their celebrity auction held at
    their annual gala at the Pierre Hotel in NYC) for a private dinner package
    that I donate. The person that purchases the dinner can invite up to 6
    guests and gets to choose from menu choices in The Basic Art of Italian
    Cooking and the dinner is held at their home.

    To visit the Gilda’s Club website just click here –

    [Rj] What’s next for Maria Liberati?

    [Maria L.] I am working on two of my next books:

    *Spaghetti at Midnight- the title comes from an old tradition (in Italy)
    of eating pasta at midnight at get togethers or special holidays like New
    Year’s Eve. But the book will include all types of pasta recipes with
    menus and more stories about my life and travels in Italy. I am especially
    excited about this project because a well known Italian
    architect/artist-Mariano Moroni has contacted us about providing the
    illustrations for this book. I will be meeting with him when I am back at
    my office there this summer.

    *The Basic Art of Italian CookingThe Italian Kitchen
    This will be more recipes, menus and more information on ingredients,
    cooking tips, techniques for the Italian Kitchen including preserving
    fresh vegetables and fruits.

    *I will be hosting a 10 day culinary tour in September to Tuscany, Rome
    and Abruzzo-it will include visits to some wonderful hidden vineyards,
    olive groves and cooking classes at some of the best organic farms there.
    Group is limited but you can still make reservations to join us.
    You can
    call the office at 1-800-581-9020 x100 and ask for Giovanna-or email Sue

    * My first food line under Maria Liberati’s The Basic Art of Italian
    Cooking ™ is Sapori D’Italia is a new spice blend that I developed in
    Italy. This line will be comprised of different spice blends that are
    reminiscent of different regions in Italy. Each blend is all natural and
    includes no cereals or fillers-only herbs spices and sea salt. So they
    have a very intense flavor. The first blend we are releasing is the Tuscan
    Picnic Blend. It is reminiscent of the flavors of Tuscany and can be used
    to make Tuscan roasted Chicken Tuscan roasted potatoes, and a Tuscan style
    Bruschetta and many other recipes. Each bag comes with a mini cookbook of
    about 8 recipes that the spices can be used for. Right now they can be
    ordered from my website at They will be available
    ion some retail outlets in 2008. The next 2 blends I am working on will be
    a blend of herbs reminiscent of Naples that will include hot red
    pepperoncino (pepper) and a Riviera Blend with fresh dried lavender.

    *Companion dvd’s to The Basic art of Italian Cooking cookbook series will
    be released at the end of 2007-the holiday menu and the picnic menu will
    be available by Dec 2007 in retail outlets and online.

    *Opening a restaurant that combines my philosophy of food with art,
    beautiful, yet simple architecture and design. It is in the works and will
    be designed by a team of Italian architects in Italy but we will open here
    in the US-Las Vegas or Atlantic City

    * I also want to mention that I also save time in my schedule to volunteer
    with some of my favorite charities- Gilda’s Club, International Red Cross.
    But I am also working on creating an organization to promote the
    sustainable agriculture and sustainable architecture- all to preserve our

    [Rj] Thank you for joining us today Maria and giving readers this wonderful
    opportunity to get to know you

    [Maria L.] Thanks so much for having me and I hope to
    hear from everyone and don’t forget to vsit me at my website

    We want to thank Maria for taking the time to stop by and talk with us
    this morning. Be sure to drop by Maria’s page here on BWA and say hello –
    you can also visit Maria’s website Don’t forget to get your copy of “The
    Basic Art of Italian Cooking” and share a magical cooking experience with
    your family.

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    Posted by on June 16, 2007 in Interviews

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