Monday, May 14, 2018

THE WAY OF BEAUTY by author, CAMILLE DI MAIO

Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.
Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. 

In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.
Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

The Way of Beauty is a charming multi-generational love story, but it is more than that: it is a story of family, love lost, and love found…A loving tribute to the workers who risked their lives and health in building iconic structures in New York City…” —Historical Novel Society

“Fans of historical women’s fiction and light romance will enjoy this pleasant work of historical fiction.” Booklist

Some Q & A with Camille ~ 

1.               Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.

I’ve lived all over – Denver, rural Pennsylvania, Washington DC, San Francisco, San Antonio, and now in southern Virginia. I’ve traveled extensively and have been to most of the states as well as four continents. Reading all the time and traveling a lot, I absorbed words and experiences until I had the inspiration to write what became my first book, The Memory of Us. All those years as the misfit girl in grade school with recesses spent in the library paid off! I’ve been married for almost twenty-one years and have four kids, a dog, and a cat.

2.               What are some things you enjoy when not writing?

Travel is my big addiction, and if I’m not on a trip, I’m planning the next one. I love to read, of course, and I’m a big movie buff. We watch several movies a week as a family, taking turns as to who gets to pick. So we get quite an eclectic mix! I’m pushing the classics right now. Our last family movie was Casablanca.

3.               Do you have a “day job” as well?

I recently left my long-term real estate career to write full time. However, I also homeschool my children, so that’s definitely a day job! My first is off to college, and I still have a 17yo, 13yo, and 9yo.

4.               Where do you get your ideas?

It’s so eclectic. The Memory of Us was inspired by listening to the song Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. Before the Rain Falls was inspired by a documentary I found while channel surfing. The Way of Beauty came from an image in my head of a soldier kissing his girlfriend in a train station. Just life, travel, and observation. I keep a notebook of ideas for future books and I think about each of them for a few years before seeing which ones pop up for further exploration.

5.               Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?

One of my favorite books is Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman and I dreamed of writing something half as good. I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and anything by Kate Morton. All of those books really have the ability to suck me into their worlds.

6.               Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Yes! My lack of knowledge about the process was a big road block. I finished the first draft for what became The Memory of Us in just six weeks, and thought, “I’ve written a book!” I learned about the querying process and, not surprisingly, got a bunch of rejections. Actually, agents loved the premise,  but the writing was nowhere near ready.

I spent about four years writing new drafts, attending conferences, and getting it closer to being ready to go. I learned in the process to give agents exactly what they want as far as a synopsis, number of pages, etc. And to be specific about why you chose THEM to query. Referencing comp books that they have represented and mentioning something from their bio that you connected with is a good way to go. It worked for me! I loved getting “the call” from my agent, Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

7.               If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

In general, no, as the process is really part of the education. However, I do wish I’d been less na├»ve about the manuscripts readiness so that I could have turned in something more polished from the get-go. It is not enough to get to “the end”. Agents really want something that is in ready-to-publish quality.

8.               How do you market your work?

Though I’ve held sales jobs, I am not a salesperson by nature. I love to connect with people and be authentic. So my own marketing contributions are mostly through social media. I’m most active on Instagram and Facebook, and I’ve made a lot of friends through there. When people get to me and my work, they become an awesome megaphone when I have a new release, and I am so grateful for that. I like to give back in the ways that I can, so I also support other authors. I’ve recently added a You Tube channel in which I do book reviews. It’s all about community and sincerity.

9.               What are you working on now?

I just sent my fourth book off to my agent for review before we send it to my editor next week. I’m sure there will be many months of editing ahead. In the meantime, I’m playing with a few ideas that I want to pitch to them later in the summer.

10. Is there anything in your book based on real-life experiences?

In general, no. None of the events are based on anything in my own life. I have been to New York more times than I can count, so the observations I’ve absorbed certainly made their way into The Way of Beauty. The one real-life thing I added was this: my son and I like to pick up rocks at various places we go together and write on them when we get home the date and place we got it. I have a tidbit at the beginning of the book about that.

11.            Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?

I have one scene in the book that is lightly romantic (I’m a PG-rated kind of girl). It takes place in a home darkroom as one character shows the other how to develop photographs. I thought about that scene for about a year before I wrote the book and always knew it would be in there. One scene that I didn’t plan but ended up loving is a scene in the lost luggage room of Penn Station and all the items the characters discover there.

12.            Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

I do not have my degree in English or an MFA or anything like that. But I am a voracious reader. Read lots and lots and lots of books that are similar to what you write and you will naturally develop a sense of pace, tempo, dialog, language, story, setting, etc. I have gotten many compliments from other writers on my pacing, and I honestly didn’t know that was a thing! I just have a sense of what works in a story because I’ve read so very many.

13.            What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?

Even when I’m not actively writing, my head is almost always in the story. I’ve learned that I have difficulty being present with my family because there are characters and plotlines competing for brain space. I’m not sure how to turn that off, but I’m sure my husband and kiddos would tell you that it’s a downfall. The best part is the community of authors I’ve acquired. I absolutely love being friends with people I would have fangirled over. Reading their books, promoting them, suggesting them to friends, and then they do the same. I did not have a lot of friends growing up – the Coke-bottle glasses and stringy hair and lack of athleticism insured that! So I love having an abundant number of friends now.

14.            Favorite bands or music? Favorite book and/or movie?

I grew up loving British 80s music – Depeche Mode, OMD, Erasure. My 17yo daughter is a gifted connoisseur of music, so I’ve learned about so many bands from her and we’ve had a lot of fun at concerts together. Our favorites are Walk the Moon and Andrew McMahon. Just this week, we drove nearly three hours to see Banners in a tiny venue with 150 people. That guy is going to be big – just watch. My favorite book is Olivia and Jai, and my favorite movie is Elf. We repeat soooo many lines from that in our family.

15.            Places you’d like to travel?

Oh, so many! I have a huge bucket list. But if I had to go somewhere tomorrow, I’d love to go to Thailand. The beaches, the animals, the rice fields. I want to see it all.

16.            Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Just a giant THANK YOU! Your comments, reviews, shares, messages, and enthusiasm are the fuel that I need to push through frequent writer’s block and also the sense of self-doubt that plagues writers. You help me keep going and I appreciate you more than you know.

To connect with Camille ~ 

Visit my Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/camilledimaio
personal youtube channel with book trailers & talk about craft of writing: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu9Gmzq8NP6Jf77TzpWlkvg?view_as=subscriber
Follow me on Instagram:  https://instagram.com/camilledimaio/
Follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CamilleDiMaio
Visit my website:  http://camilledimaio.com/





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