How long have you been writing?
I only began writing three years ago so I still consider myself a newbie.
Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
Not really although I used to write limericks as a child, wrote letters to the editor occasionally, and wrote a humorous newsletter for my department in the hospital for several years.
What books or stories have you written? Published?
I have written one book, and have published numerous articles for various websites and an Italian-American newspaper.
Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?
My book is a true story, a memoir of the three months I spent in Italy traveling solo.
How did you get inspiration for the characters/books?
Since this book is nonfiction, all the characters in it are real.
Are the books based on personal experiences?
Yes, my book is a memoir based on three months I spent traveling through Italy.
Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
Other authors and writers have consistently told me to keep writing, and to write every day. I think this is good advice. I also had been told to discipline myself so that I set goals of word counts, either per day or per week, in order to accomplish my goal of finishing my book.
Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?
Yes, I published my book initially without the benefit of a professional editor, and found numerous typos and errors, which I edited myself and resubmitted.
I currently am working with a professional editor, on this already-published book, and her direction is immensely helpful, not only to correct typos, but to improve sentence structure, avoid repetitious words, and so on. I am still working on this.
What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?
Since I self-published my book, both the e-book and the paperback, I found the formatting to be very challenging. There definitely is a learning curve to self-publishing.
How do you find time to write your books?
I have to make time, create a specific amount of time each week to turn off the Internet and focus on writing.
Several of my guests have often said writing is therapeutic and relaxes them. Can you talk a little about how writing relaxes you? Any specific examples you can share?
Since I write about true experiences, I am almost re-living them as I write and edit the story, and this brings me a great sense of satisfaction, almost as if I am going to Italy again.
Has writing made you a better person?
I think so, insofar as it has made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing.
Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and why?
I do enjoy reading, and wish I had more time to do so. Right now I have about ten books on my iPad partially read. My favorite genres are suspense, intrigue, courtroom dramas and biographies.
Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers?
Reviews are important to writers because they provide feedback and give a writer a sense of what readers expect.
Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?
Yes, and I think all writers have received at least one negative review. Being human, I felt bad reading it at first, but then let it go. I realize that not all readers will like my writing, and also sometimes a review is written by someone who is not in a good mood, or is having a bad day.
Would you mind sharing an excerpt from your book?
Of course. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 4.
It is now early Friday evening, and I am back in my hotel room in Siena. All of a sudden there seems to be a lot of noise outside, as though someone is announcing something on a loudspeaker. Today is Good Friday in Italy, and there is a cathedral around the corner, so maybe there is some outside religious event going on.
My curiosity gets the best of me, and I grab my jacket and leave the hotel to see what is going on, not wanting to miss out on what could be a major event. To my naiveté and surprise, the cathedral appears to be closed, yet the streets are filled with people and there are quite a few police. I’m noticing that the people are not strolling, as in la passeggiata, but instead seem to have an agenda, and suddenly it becomes clear to me what is going on.
I can see the lights and the soccer stadium, which is right behind my hotel, and after inquiring from the police, I become aware that there is a soccer game between Siena and Venezia. Never having been to a professional soccer game, I make a snap decision to go to the game so I find out where to buy a ticket. I am thinking that if it is a reasonable cost, I will go. Fortunately for me, the ticket costs only eight euros, which is incredible. I am quite surprised that I need to show my passport to purchase the ticket, and I don’t have it with me. It is in the hotel. After a few minutes, the ticket seller feels sorry for me and maybe I look like I am not a security threat, and she lets me buy the ticket anyway. The other person, however, has to walk me to the gate and explain to the guy there that it is OK for me to get in. Again it is a process here just to get in to a soccer game. I thank them, and I am really happy that I am now experiencing my first Italian soccer game!
Italians are passionate about life but they are really passionate about soccer! I have always heard about this, but now have a chance to see this firsthand. I love being part of the crowd, hearing the fans singing, yelling, probably swearing in Italian and stomping their feet on the aluminum stands, which is making a deafening sound. It is a great time! I’m smiling and nodding my head to the people sitting near me whether I understand everything or not. I feel a part of it!
Anything else you’d like to share that I didn’t ask?
Maybe readers would be interested in knowing if I am writing any other books.
I actually have a second book half finished. This book is about my travel experiences in Sicily, and not as a solo traveler.
I think you covered it all, Jason, and thank you again for this opportunity. You are very special, and a real asset to writers. I really appreciate all that you are doing in support of writers.
About Margie Miklas
Memoirs of a Solo Traveler-My Love Affair with Italy is Margie’s first book, and it is based on her three-month solo adventure in Italy.
Margie Miklas is a writer, photographer and critical-care nurse, who has a passion for travel, with a particular love of Italy.
Margie is a contributor for Yahoo Voices, a contributing writer for La Gazzetta Italiana newspaper, a travel writer for Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures, and writes travel and medical articles for several other websites.
Margie writes a blog, margieinitaly, where you can follow her adventures through her writing and photography throughout Italy.
Margie first started writing as a young teenager, when she would amuse herself and her friends by writing limericks. A few years later, she became a headline editor of her high school newspaper in Elyria, Ohio. Later still, she developed, wrote, and edited a humorous hospital newsletter in Tampa, Florida.
Margie lives in Port St Lucie, Florida, where she works in a cardiovascular intensive care unit, and is always seeking out opportunities to travel, especially to Italy. When she isn’t working or writing, she enjoys spending time with her twin granddaughters, going to the beach, and working in her garden. Check out Margie’s blog, follow her on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, and buy her books in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.