Lit Chick Corner catches up with Australian author Rosanne Dingli
Coming up in early October, 2010, watch out for “The Lit Chick Show” - a blog, which will be run as a virtual TV show, featuring video interviews and commentary on authors and their work.
This week, The Lit Chick Corner features Aussie author, Rosanne Dingli. Dingli brings a taste of the Mediterranean with murder thrown in. She is an award-winning Western Australian writer of Maltese origin who has been connected to the publishing industry in Australia and online since 1985 in roles such as author, literary editor, journalist, feature writer, columnist, newsletter editor, editor-in-chief, manuscript assessor and slush pile reader.
Dingli has published a great number of short stories, many of which were gathered into three book collections. They are now out of print. Her first novel, Death in Malta, came out in 2005 and is still selling. Her forthcoming controversial thriller is called According to Luke. It is due for release in late 2010.When asked about her background prior to launching upon a writing career, Dingli said, “I am not one of those writers who knew what they wanted to be, even when quite young. I did not write much fiction until I was about thirty seven. It was a steep learning curve, but I found success in publishing short stories rather quickly. I have won more than twenty awards and commendations for short fiction.”
Dingli added, “I started freelancing when I arrived in Perth from the country in NSW (after living in Melbourne and Canberra for a while) in 1988. I wrote features and articles for WA Homes & Living Magazine and book reviews for the West Australian newspaper. It was fun. I also lectured in writing at ECU, TAFE, and have facilitated many workshops at places like the Fellowship of Australian Writers, the Katherine Susanna Foundation, the Karrinyup Writers Club, and so on. I even sat on the Australian Literature Board in WA for two terms. So my connections with writing are various: academic, commercial and even corporate, because I have worked as editor in chief for a company that published two magazines and a newspaper.”
It is no wonder that with this kind of background, Dingli’s books are still in demand. Lit Chick Corner asked Dingli for more detail on her books. “My short stories are mainly nostalgic and literary vignettes of aspects of European life. They are bitter-sweet and atmospheric … or so I am told. Some are historic, some folkloric, and so forth.” Dingli said, and added, “My first novel is a mystery romance about an Australian novelist who goes to Malta and falls in love with the island and with a Maltese woman. He finds, however, that the mystery he wants to write is too emotional: it gets him into trouble with the village folk around the farmhouse that he rents.”
With such great storylines, Lit Chick Corner was eager to learn more about Dingli’s new book. “My forthcoming thriller is about art restoration, religious mysteries, and an art conservator who is obsessed by the secrecy surrounding an icon she is restoring. It all goes horribly wrong, and she gets into enormous trouble, falls in (forbidden) love, and runs into disaster that includes car chases, guns, murder, and a desperate pursuit in Europe and Syria,” Dingli reported.
Writers the world over have different methods on how to develop their main protagonist; Dingli let Lit Chick Corner in on her secret. “I modelled my heroine physically, on a woman I met in Venice. I do not describe her too precisely, so that the reader can put her together mentally from a few hints. Her personality, however, is strongly portrayed: her character is a combination of traits: strengths and flaws I find in other book characters, people I know and some completely made up features. This agglomeration starts out to be confused, like some young women are, but she does try to settle into a kind of serenity at some point. I gave her desires and needs that I find expressed by young women in books, movies and real life. She goes through some change, and I felt sorry for her, because I put her in some real tight spots.”
Which brings us to 'the baddies'. When asked to comment on this, Dingli said, “According to Luke has a number of wonderful ‘baddies’. I enjoyed inventing and creating them: one of them is particularly nasty. They give the heroine a hard time, and manage to inject quite a lot of strife into the action.
And what does the future hold for Dingli? “More writing! I have the basic plot and concept for another puzzle thriller nutted out, but I won’t start writing seriously until I have worked on the promotions and publicity for According to Luke. My head is still caught up in the unique atmosphere of that book, with Venice, Malta, Ravenna and Damascus still in my mind’s eye,” Dingli said. “I need to change locations, so I must start serious research of the places, props, music, food, and people I shall put in my next book. When I have the basic scaffolding, I will be able to climb up and look into the story.”
Dingli’s books will appeal to readers who usually purchase books by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Bill Napier (The Splintered Icon), Carol Goodman (The Night Villa), Arturo Perez-Reverte (The Flanders Panel) and Geraldine Brooks (People of the Book). Dingli said of her latest book, “It is not a heavy read: a mainstream light reader would enjoy all the aspects of it because there are no complicated politics or conspiracy theories.”
One of the most exciting things about Dingli’s books is that almost everything in them is true and exists. Readers can go and look up everything and find it all, which of course will make a lot of people wonder if it is ALL true!
Rosanne Dingli’s books are available from a number of outlets and online at Amazon.uk. Her official website contains links to these or you can visit her publisher's website.
This article was written by Sylvia Massara, Author of ‘The Other Boyfriend’ and ‘The Soul Bearers’, and co-host of the soon-to-be-released ‘The Lit Chick Show’. For more information or to contact Sylvia, please visit her website.