Today I welcome women’s fiction author, Constance Walker, to the blog to talk about her latest release, Storytime at the Villa Maria.
About Storytime at the Villa Maria
Although none of the characters in Storytime at the Villa Maria are real people, I have to admit they’re bits and pieces of persons I’ve known and loved and remembered.
I grew up in Philadelphia and one of the things my family — really all the families I knew — did, was tell stories. Only they didn’t call them stories — they were just relating ordinary parts of their everyday life. Around the family dinner table our parents would speak about the people they met and worked with and my brothers and I would talk about the lessons we learned, our teachers and our school friends.
On summer nights we would sit outside on our porch and talk to the neighbors about their day. In quiet conversations we’d hear about their families: the happy times– graduations, births, relatives who came to visit, etc. And the sad – deaths, accidents, who needed some extra money for an emergency, who was moving away. Someone would mention that they saw “so and so” and someone else would furnish a few words about that person – where they worked or their occupation, their families, or when and why they came to America. They were gentle conversations without mean-spiritedness or malice and I was fascinated.
They spoke about everything – music, politics, food, the old country — and for many, many years after its end, World War II was still one of the main topics of discussions. People remembered and recalled little facts of the 1940’s — who was drafted, where they served, who was wounded, and sadly, those who never came home. They recalled rationing, patriotic parades, air raid drills, and how each of them, individually and collectively, helped the war effort.
A word – any word – would trigger someone’s recollection and memories about “before,” and on those hot summer nights the conversations would go on for hours. I heard from senior citizens about the “hard times” of the recession, from our parents’ generation about the fashion styles of “today”, and on and on the varied talks went – way into midnight.
We kids were included in the conversations and I loved hearing these stories and I listened… and I remembered. Then it wasn’t called “storytelling” – it was just everyday dialogue. Some cynics might call it “sentimental nostalgia” or “gossip” or “idle” chatter, but I think, even then, I knew it was more – that it was a history of sorts that chronicled their lives and enriched mine.
In writing Storytime at the Villa Maria, I added my own “facts” to the stories Dominick and Sophie and Tom and Ella and all the other characters in the novel tell. I hope you like them.
Don’t Miss Storytime at the Villa Maria
Dominick, who married “the most beautiful woman in the world”…
Sophie, who is haunted by terrifying memories of the Holocaust…
Ella, who made “sweet apple pies” for her war veteran husband…
Tom, whose music lured women into his arms…
Artie, who is plagued by the ghosts of long-dead soldiers…
Frank, who can’t let go of his yesterdays, though a better tomorrow beckons…Join them and others as they gather every Monday night in the library at the Villa Maria to share their memories, their fears, and their dreams.
Storytime at the Villa Maria—the unforgettable book about life lived and still to be lived, and about the mysterious threads of joy and heartache and love that are woven into every life—including your own!
“A charming novel of senior citizens, storytelling, nostalgia, and a world gone by but not forgotten.”
Where to Get Storytime at the Villa Maria
Constance Walker is the author of THE SHIMMERING STONES OF WINTER’S LIGHT, LOST ROSES OF GANYMEDE HOUSE, IN TIME, and WARM WINTER LOVE among other works of Gothic and contemporary fiction.
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