Welcome author Barbara Bonfigli, as she stops on her blog tour for her novel, Café Tempest. Not only does she gives answers to the interview I do with her, but gives a link to find a tasty Greek recipe just like in her book.
1.) Please tell us what motivated you to write Cafe Tempest?
I'm a writer by nature; I don't know about design. When I get up in the morning I'm motivated to write. Then life intrudes -- errands, bank accounts, friends' urgent requests. Eventually I find some time to do what I choose. Café Tempest emerged from a personal history of traveling to Greece and falling for the place, the people, and the culture --especially the little things that, when they don't work well in America, drive you crazy, but on a Greek island bring complete bliss.
2.) Why the setting of Pharos? What drew you to make the island the place?
Pharos is an imaginary island, a blend that is two parts reality, four parts fantasy. I do believe there is something that most islands, even Nantucket, share, and that is a closeness among the inhabitants. It's almost a feeling of family. They have to like you a little. Which is why a person with almost no vocabulary in the native language can land on a place like Pharos and be welcomed...even understood.
3.) What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I called upon my own extensive experiences of Greece and travel in general. And I let my imagination loose.
4.) It says a fictional memoir—how much is the character, Sarah like you?
Sarah is a close friend, for sure. But almost every character a writer creates shares some of her qualities or at least her observations. Fictional because the author never directed the islanders in a play; memoir because she's overly attached to her motorbike and her inflatable dingy.
5.) What kind of character is Sarah? Explain the contrast between her and Alex? Between her and the islanders?
I let my characters explain themselves. Beyond that, my job is to write and the reader's is to read, think, decide for themselves.
6.) How important is humor in the relationships Sarah has with Alex and others? Is this her way to set up emotional boundaries, or something else? Or nothing at all?
Again this is something for Café Tempest readers to discuss. Sarah tells you she sees life as a mostly fantastical comic adventure. Humor is a genuine point of view. It can be used to lighten even the darkest situations and of course it's an excellent defense against others' personal dramas.
7.) At the end of the book, do you think Sarah has a transformation if her life? Does she learn a new lesson she never knew before?
Another reader's question. Do you think Sarah is transformed? I wrote the book; it's for the reader to interpret, analyze.
8.) In this, you have a female character fall for Sarah, a woman who has only before heterosexual relationships? As for Sara, she is comfortable in her own flesh, able to love both men and women in her life. How does this define the novel, too?
I don't think any one element of the plot defines the novel. Friendship, love, embracing another culture, these are the main themes of the story. Sarah is as much a philosopher as her Greek neighbors. She and all the characters are the sum of their many parts. No one thing defines them.
9.) How would you describe the genres that you like to write in?
I like every one of them except farce. And of course every author mixes genres to some extent unless they're writing haiku, or sonatas, where the rules must be obeyed.
10.) Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow? No set schedule. In fact the word schedule is almost as hard for me to say as to spell.
11.) Where do your ideas come from?
Life, both real and imagined. And then there is the mysterious process of creativity. Your character says something, and that leads you in a direction you hadn't planned on. FUN.
12.) Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
Probably every good writer I've ever read has left a mark in the grey matter. My early favorites were James Joyce, Thomas Mann and the Russians -- Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Nabakov. Later and continuously -- Georges Perec, Paul Theroux, Marguerite Yourcenar, Marcel Proust, Alice Munro, Rumi, Hafiz, Mary Oliver and Bob Dylan come immediately to mind. But for sure I've left out some of my favorites.
13.) How long have you been writing—have you always wanted to be a writer?
It started with crayons, before I had actual letters. From letters it was pretty much all uphill. The Brownie skit, the high school skits, the school newspaper, lyrics for on and off-Broadway shows, ads for the shows I've produced in London and the States, a few scripts.
14.) What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer? Writing is it's own reward and right after that, the reactions of my readers.
16.) What can we expect from you in the future? I'll be looking for question 15?
17.) Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Self-publishing is no longer vanity publishing. It's accepted as a smart alternative because it's so hard to get fiction published. but that's no reason not to write it. And the internet is a fantastic way to bring your work to the public, a world-wide audience pool which was never before available.
18.) Tell us your website, MySpace, Blog, any urls so that readers can find out more about you.
http://www.cafetempest.com is full of news, biography, latest reviews and interviews.
http://www.Tellmepress.com My publisher's website has lots of info.
19.) And of course, what are your favorite Greek recipes, since there is some in the book? I hope you also share a couple with my blog readers.
I love cheese pies and spinach pies as long as they're bite size with the thinnest filo wrap. Ana Espinosa is a terrific chef who teaches you exactly how to make filo. Check out her recipes at the back of Café Tempest. You'll find one recipe on my website, and there may be one on the Amazon site under Look Inside.
To learn more about Barbara Bonfigli and her book, Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites:
Barbara Bonfigli’s website – http://www.cafetempest.com
Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher - http://www.tellmepress.com/pub_ct.php or from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Café-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313
To see the complete tour schedule visit http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/05/cafe-tempest-by-barbara-bonfigli-summer.html
Barbara Bonfigli’s Bio
Barbara is an author, lyricist and theatrical producer. When she isn’t writing songs or travel articles, or producing shows, she packs some French roast and catches a plane to Athens. Then a ferry or a hydrofoil to... but that's classified.
She hitchhiked to Greece in her first nomadic summer, and discovered her native land. She’s been exploring it ever since -- hiking in the Pelion, kayaking in the Dodecanese, sailing the Aegean. In a tiny seaside taverna, over fried kalamari and a pitcher of homemade red, a few Greek families and she watched Obama conquer Berlin.
Maps are her recreational drug of choice. After wearing out five passports and four continents she uncorked her memories and imagination -- and a bottle or two of retsina -- to write her first novel, "Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island". It's a kind of "A Year in Provence" meets "Zorba the Greek". You are invited to the mythical island of Pharos, to laugh and dance in the hammock, not the cradle of Western civilization.
About Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island
What is it about Greece that makes it so exotic, so romantic, so tantalizing that it’s right at the top of everybody’s bucket list – the one foreign land they’re longing to visit? Our dreams are made on Never on Sunday, Zorba the Greek, and more recently My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mama Mia.
Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island is a witty, evocative, beautifully written novel that puts you right in the heart of Greek island life. It’s so alive with the sights and smells and tastes and characters of Greece that you can pick it up and start your Mediterranean vacation on page one. On a deeper level, the book is filled with the kinds of observations, reflections, and arc of self-discovery that make Eat, Pray, Love so compelling.
“Welcome to Pharos. Laugh and dance in the hammock—not the cradle—of Western civilization,” says author, lyricist, and theatrical producer Barbara Bonfigli. “I’ve been falling in love with Greece since I was old enough to drink retsina. But if Sarah hadn’t captured my imagination you’d never know how I feel about friendship, feta, and the abundance of grace that turns friends into lovers and fishermen into kings.”
When Sarah, a thirty-something American theatrical producer, is asked to direct the locals in their summer show, she picks Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. What follows is a hilarious adventure in casting, rehearsing, and consuming. Her neighbors are excited about acting but delirious about eating. Their rehearsals in a deconsecrated church become a feast in four acts.
Armed with a sizzling wit, a dangerously limited Greek vocabulary, and a pitch-perfect ear for drama, Sarah navigates the major egos and minor storms of a cab driver Caliban, a postmaster Prospero, and a host of fishermen dukes and knaves.
When she falls in love, there are even trickier seas to navigate. Her own offstage romance provides an exhilarating, unpredictable counterpoint to Shakespeare’s story of magic, intrigue, and the power of love.