UK-born to Italian immigrants who came from poverty, I spent my formative years pretty much turning my back on all things Italian and tiring of having to spell my long surname (Viscogliosi).
My summers in Italy were a hot interlude full of noisy meals and well-meaning relatives who probably could not quite make out the girl who spoke to them in a mish-mash of their dialect and the formal Italian learnt in the classes I loathed.
I studied French and German at university.
The ingrained immigrant mantra of hard work held strong. I built a career in marketing. At 31, I set up a successful internal communications and organisational development consultancy, followed by pioneering work in maternity management.
With motherhood, priorities shifted. I chose to work at the local Catholic Church and then took on the running of a retreat centre for the Diocese. Little did I know that this period of first-hand knowledge of the church would serve as grounding for what would follow.
My first submission ever to New Writing South gained me a place on their NWS10 scheme for talented emerging writers. With their support, I have been funded by The Arts Council to write La Bella Figura. I have returned to Italy several times to uncover details of inter-war Italy that found their way into my novel.
I have recently started writing flash fiction and have been shortlisted by Flash 500. My second novel is underway, taking forward some of my characters in time to post World War 2 Italy.
I set up The Leaving The Waiting Room writing group at New Writing South and am involved in bringing together the Worthing & Brighton group of The Society of Authors.