Domenica De Rosa Interview
Posted on 21 April 2006. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to novelist Domenica De Rosa
Tell us something about your background.
I’ve written a number of stories for children, mostly under an assumed name as they include such masterpieces as Bouncy Ben Goes Shopping and Peter Puppy’s Pizza. However, under my own name I have written two adult books The Italian Quarter and The Eternal City (both published by Headline Review). I also have a book for older children coming out next year. It is called A Horse in the City and is published by Simon and Schuster.
I have worked in publishing ever since university so have really been through the range of editorial jobs including proof-reading, copy-editing, picture research, structural editing and having long lunches with authors. My last full-time job (which I left when I had my twins) was as Editorial Director for children’s fiction at HarperCollins Publishers.
How did you start writing?
I wrote my first full-length book when I was eleven (The Hair of the Dog – A Murder Mystery) but then a combination of O Level English, A Level English, an English degree and a career in publishing served to put me off writing altogether. I wrote my first adult novel, The Italian Quarter, when I was on maternity leave.
Who are your favourite writers and why?
My current favourite authors are David Lodge, Alison Lurie and Barbara Trapido. My ideal book would be about a lapsed Catholic working in the English Department of a university. I did an MA in nineteenth century literature and still love Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens and, especially, Wilkie Collins.
How did you get your first agent/ commission?
After I had written The Italian Quarter I put it away and forgot about it. Then, four years later, my father (who was the inspiration for much of the story) died and I found myself reading the manuscript again. I showed it to a friend at HarperCollins and he recommended an agent. I am all too aware that it is not normally this easy and that I was tremendously lucky in knowing so many people in publishing.
What's the worst thing about writing?
For me, there is no down side.
And the best?
The chance to make a living from your hobby.
Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.
One of the best things about being published is having reactions to your work that are not from blood relatives. A lot of people have liked the sex in The Italian Quarter which surprised me as I didn’t think there was any. People have also said that it has opened their eyes to the story of Italian immigrants in Britain, which would be wonderful if it were true.
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