Not a plotter, just a fretter and wheelspinner?

“I hardly do any preplanning, just fretting and wheel spinning Geoff Dyer Had to laugh when I read this writing quote by British novelist Geoff Dyer, and realized I really could relate. I also do minimal planning before a story. Generally, I have a scene or a big-picture idea. I may even have a voice…

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‘The most beautiful track in Italy’ – in Formia

I’ve already written about the Italian seaside town of Formia. Formia is south of Rome at the edge of Italy’s Lazio region. Since 1955, it has been famous as the site of Italy’s Olympic Committee (CONI) training center, with a  beautiful campus, running track, indoor track, gym and sports facilities that hosts professional athletes from…

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Book review: The Trophy Son

There was a lot of publicity around this novel by Douglas Brunt when it was released this summer, and I was curious to read it. In this novel, we follow the story of tennis prodigy Anton Stratis. Andre is pushed into professional tennis by his overbearing father, who tried and failed to create a tennis…

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Sand, sun, sports (and Roman poets) in Formia

I had never been to Formia – in southern Lazio, very close to the border with Campagna – before dropping my son off there for a track and field camp. The seaside town of about 38 000 people is in a dramatic spot, developed along the sea with Mount Altino rising dramatically just behind it.…

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It’s not nosiness – it’s research

“I’m a gossipy person—I like looking at people and how they get along with one another.” -Jane Smiley Love these words by the brilliant novelist Jane Smiley. And I think this is an important trait for a novelist, after all, they are delving into the inner lives of the characters they create on the page.…

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All roads lead to Rome – for literature!

If you find yourself in Rome in the next couple of weeks, you may want to take part in the Eternal City’s literature festival – the Festival delle letterature. This year is the Festival’s 16th edition, running from 20 June through 21 July. It’s an interesting mix of Italian and foreign authors, and most events…

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Imperial charm in Salzburg, Austria

I adore the postcard-perfect city of Salzburg, in Austria, where I have been numerous times. But as we were driving back from a summer vacation in Austria and the Czech Republic two summers ago, my husband and I decided to play tour guide to our sons, who had never been to Salzburg before. We only…

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