Linda: Camille, I love “The Beautiful Strangers” What made you decide to be a writer? What advice would you give to a person that wants to be a writer?
Camille :So glad you loved it – thank you! I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was twelve years old. I spent many recesses in the library (escaping bullies!) and befriended Anne Shirley, Jane Eyre, Nancy Drew, and other literary heroines. And I was fascinated by the authors – they were legendary in my mind! I wanted to be one. My advice to someone who wants to be a writer is this: don’t compare your work to that of a published piece. By the time a book is in your hands, it has gone through many, many rounds of edits. I wouldn’t want anyone to see my first drafts – they are not ready for prime time. Just write, write, write. Get that manuscript done and then you can self-edit several times before sending it out. But don’t stop writing because you’ve compared your work to another and felt less than you should.
Linda: .What was your motivation or inspiration for writing “The Beautiful Strangers”?
Camille: I was visiting San Diego a few years ago for the Romance Writers of America conference. Like always, we make a stop at Coronado. But this was the first time I’d been as a writer. It was my husband who suggested that I write a book set at the Hotel Del Coronado.
Linda: What are your goals for the readers to take away with them after reading your book?
Camille: My favorite compliment from readers is that they’ve loved one of my books enough to be inspired to do go additional research – either about the era or a character or something related to it. For The Beautiful Strangers, readers are already telling me that it drove them to watch “Some Like It Hot” and to research more about the hotel’s ghost. That lets the story live on long beyond the pages!
Linda:.What are your favorite genres of books? To write? To read?
Camille: I’ve really enjoyed reading a lot of the suspense that is out there. Although reading too many in a row causes me to wait for (and try to guess) the inevitable twist. So I have to space those out. I love reading historical fiction, of course, and I really love writing historical fiction. I enjoy digging into the research and illuminating something that might be little-known to readers.
Linda: What are hobbies or things you like to do in your downtime?
Camille: Besides being a voracious reader, I love traveling, watching movies, making tapestry pillows, and taking very long baths. (Long enough for the water to get cold and need refilling!)
Linda:. How do you keep a balance in your life between family and writing?
Camille: That is always an adjustment, especially as my kids have gotten older. Their needs are different. They are now old enough to be quite independent and so I have more time to get away to coffee shops and write for a bit. But I try to keep it to just a few hours a week and to use those hours well.
Linda: What is a typical day in the life of @Camille Di Maio??
Camille: I wake up before anyone else in the house. The first thing I do is to thank God for the new day and new opportunities and pray for the graces I need for the tasks ahead. I check my social media, play a few word games, and look at the weather. And even squeeze in a chapter or two of whatever I’m reading. After that, who knows? I love unpredictability in the day. And doing what I do – homeschooling my kids and helping my husband run his real estate business – means that ever day is different and unexpected. I’ve become quite disciplined in going out at least once a week with a girlfriend – female friendships are so important.
Linda:Can you tell us of any writing projects that you have on the table? (any hints that you give us)
Camille: Sure! I am editing my fifth book, THE FIRST EMMA. It’s my first book whose primary character was a real person and it’s been quite a challenge! She has a fascinating story – her husband was murdered by one of his two mistresses (both named Emma) and she (the wife – also named Emma) took over his brewery. Shortly thereafter, Prohibition started and she had to convert the facilities to uses beyond brewing beer. Hers was the only brewery in the south to keep all the employees working through those many years – because of her genius diversification. I think it’s fascinating that she overcame many odds – especially as a woman in business in the early 1900s – and I hope it’s an inspiration to women everywhere.
Linda: Camille, what are your feelings on para-normal activity of ghosts?
Camille: Good question – especially since I never set out to write a ghost story! Or, at least, I hadn’t intended for the ghost to become the major character that she did. But – I do believe in ghosts because I believe in Heaven, Hell, and an afterlife in general. So why should they not intersect? After two personal encounters that I can only describe as having seen ghosts, I consulted a priest about the reality (or lack) of what I saw. And he totally affirmed me. Both of my experiences were benevolent and he said that those were opportunities to pray for the souls of the people I saw. Others (which I have not encountered, thankfully!) are evil in nature and are intended to frighten. My story does feature a real woman who died and who is said to haunt the hotel. There are many accounts of her. And so I imagined the hotel through her eyes.
Linda:. If “The Beautiful Strangers” were made into a Movie, who would you like to be the actors?
Camille: I am always the worst at these things for the simple reason that I don’t overly describe my characters. I like my readers to be able to fill in the intentional gaps with their imaginations. But I could imagine Rachel Weisz as the ghost, Amy Adams (younger) as Kate Morgan, and Eddie Redmayne as Sean.
Linda:.How should readers connect with you?
Camille: I love visiting with readers and am on all of the sites below. However, I am most active and responsive on Instagram.
Visit my Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/camilledimaioFollow me on Instagram: https://instagram.com/camilledimaio/Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CamilleDiMaioFollow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/camille-di-maioVisit my website: http://camilledimaio.com/Like my page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camilledimaio.author
Warmest thanks to Camille Di Maio for such a delightful and intriguing interview!! “The Beautiful Strangers comes out March 5, 2019 (today) and I highly recommend that everyone read it! It is out on all platforms. Happy Reading! Linda