Author Interview with Nina Romano


Nina Romano earned a B.S. from Ithaca College, an M.A. from Adelphi University and a B.A.
and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU. She’s a world traveler and lover of history. She
lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She has authored a
short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, and has published five poetry collections and
two poetry chapbooks with independent publishers. She co-authored Writing in a Changing
World. Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry.

Nina Romano

Nina Romano’s historical Wayfarer Trilogy has been published from Turner Publishing. The
Secret Language of Women, Book #1, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist and Gold
Medal winner of the Independent Publisher’s 2016 IPPY Book Award. Lemon Blossoms, Book #
2, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist, and In America, Book #3, was a finalist in
Chanticleer Media’s Chatelaine Book Awards.

Her latest novel, The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, a Western Historical Romance, has recently
been released from Prairie Rose Publications, and will be the novel she will be referring to in this

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley


When Darby McPhee falls in love with Cayo Bradley, a wild cowboy from a nearby ranch, her
world is ripped apart. Caught in a lifeless existence of caring for her father and brothers since her
mother’s death, Darby does little else but work. But a death-bed promise to her mother to get her
education now stands in the way of her heart’s desire to belong to the rough-and-tumble Cayo

Darby is Cayo’s redemption from a horrific act in his past that torments him. After being
captured as a young boy by the Jicarilla Apache, he now tries to settle back into white
society—but how can he? If he loses Darby, he loses everything.

Darby is determined to keep her promise to her mother, but will Cayo wait for her? In this
stunning tale of love and loss, Darby comes to understand that no matter what happens, she will

Book Links

Amazon Author Page

Amazon: The Secret Language of Women

Amazon: Lemon Blossoms

Amazon: In America

Social Media Links





What inspired you to first start writing? Is your motivation to write now different or the same as before?

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always written what I thought was poetry. I loved words. I loved stories. I especially loved sitting around my grandma’s table listening to my Mom and her sisters tell stories.
Looking at it that way, I guess the motivation is the same—I still love words and still love listening to and telling stories.

Writers are projected as loners or introverts. Is this true for you?

Heck no! I am a people person—love to socialize and I’m my mother’s daughter—no shy retiring violet here, that’s for dang sure, as my character Darby would say in the beginning of the novel.

What genre do you like to write in? Why?

In fiction, I like to write historical romance. For poetry, I like narrative. 

I love history, geography, learning about various cultures, their religions, food, customs, mores, and superstitions.  I think I’d have to add to this that I enjoy doing research and excruciating detailed writing. I want to put the reader right in the spot I’m describing in the novel. I want them to feel and understand what the character does.    

Poetry has influenced my writing style very much.  I write lyrically.

How often do you write and what schedule to you like to keep?

Don’t have a writing schedule. When I’m “in the zone” and writing a work-in-progress, like now, there are no hours—I can write all night and go to bed in the morning or vice versa. I tend to like to go to bed and sleep some before I hit the keys and start to write.

What is the easiest part of writing to you?

Dialogue.  I think I have a good ear for it.  Even if I’m writing about something that happened over a hundred years ago, I have a good sense of how to present speech. Dialogue isn’t like real speech. In a novel, we get story advancement and plot through dialogue. The characters cut off words, interject, speak in phrases and not always complete sentences. With dialogue I like to give the meat of the discussion, and save the condiments for description, if you know what I mean.

Can you share any tips on inspiring other writers to pursue their dreams?

Absolutely.  Two simple things: READ, read, read, and WRITE, write, write.

You have to read everything. When I first started writing, I remember reading the classics, and any novel that won a top award: National Book Award, Pulitzer-prize, Mann Booker authors. I read a great deal of short stories because I was leaning how to write one.  And I’ve always read and loved poetry.  In fact, I still like the habit of reading some poetry before writing fiction—it sets the tone, pacing, it gives me ideas for metaphors, images, similes.  

What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Why?

One of the things I enjoy about being a writer is that I get to live vicariously through so many interesting characters and in so many different countries and centuries.

Who would you compare your work to? What differences set you apart?

I hope I’m not compared to anyone except Nina Romano.  Once, a fellow grad student heard me read a piece of a story in a class, and he came up to me and said, “Your reading reminded me of Anton Chekov—” I almost kissed him. I know he meant it like a compliment and I was certainly flattered. He didn’t mean my writing per se, but rather the way I laid out the story.

I’m not sure I understand this question.  Perhaps the question is what difference set me apart from other writers? In which case, I’d have to say, it’s that I want to write the most beautiful sentence I can.  I want to express the emotions, feelings, desires, trepidations, fears of my characters in the most comprehensible manner I can while still remaining in the voice of that character.

What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

Many things.  A nun, a nurse, a traveler, a poet, a writer, a teacher, a mother, a wife, a Gypsy, and Indian Princess—a whole slew of things.  

What book have you read that has been the most life changing?

I was devouring one of John Steinbeck’s novels one after the other when I came across Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I read it a summer close to fifty years ago when I lived in Italy.  The novel was the most intoxicating experience. I was writing poems at the time, but never had taken a formal course in poetry. However, I knew after reading that book that someday I’d write a novel and I hoped it would as be as prosaic as a young boy’s summer with every element of the magical, romantic and historical blended into it—it was a magnificent piece of literature. 

Are you working on anything right now? If so, what can you share?

I’m pleased to say that I’m almost finished a first draft of a very challenging novel set in Leningrad 1956. I loved traveling to Russia and have visited St. Petersburg twice. This book is like nothing I’ve ever written before.    

Who is in your support system? How do they keep you motivated?

My wonderful brother was my support system. He passed away in 2014. I have only one person now who I can talk to about my writing. She isn’t a writer, but she is a fabulous and eclectic reader. However, she doesn’t motivate me. I think I’ve always been a self-motivator.    

Do you keep a blog or a journal? How does it help you as a writer?

Some writers swear by them and find them very helpful, but I never kept a journal. For a few years in Grad School, I kept a writers journal of sorts. I wrote in it all manner of things: bits of dialogue, titles, directions for making limoncello, names of streets, beers, people I met in Madrid. One of the reason why I didn’t keep a journal was because when I had time I’d be writing something of value, not just notes.

Do you have any daily mantra’s? What do you tell yourself to keep your inspiration alive?

Not a one. Well, maybe of late I have one—a secret wish, prayer, or meditation before I fall asleep. I send out messages into the Universe hoping a particular someone will catch the vibes and come through for me and make a dream come true. I realize that sounds very magical and maybe even a bit mystical. I’ve done it in the past, and I’ve made certain things happen—good things, and only for my writing!  

I don’t. I love writing and I love reading. There are so many things that interest me—I don’t think I have to worry about seeking inspiration. I’m blessed because inventiveness and curiosity are a given. In the past, I’d sometimes impose deadlines for myself, but rarely do now. 

What is the biggest success as a writer? What have you learned?

Knowing people are reading my words and becoming lost in my stories is a great measure of success for me. Hopefully, they will find Universal truths that are important for them as well as my characters.

From writing? Writing is a complete education. When you do research, you’re improving your knowledge of the world and of diverse cultures.

Has your writing taken you to other cities, states, or countries? If so, where?

China, Sicily, Russia, New York, New Mexico, St. Louis, MO.

How will you handle fame if/when you reach that level? How do you think it will change your writing?

Do you mean by fame when someone asks me to sign a contract to make one of my books into a movie?  I’d probably ask to read the screenplay! I’ll still be me, a kid from Brooklyn who had a loving family growing up and who now has four loving grandchildren. I’ll still be the girl who loves words and stories, who dreams and thinks, and studies. I’ll still be the same person who cooks every night for her husband of 51&1/2 years! loves to sip wine, gaze at sunsets, watch movies, read books, have lunch with my girlfriends, and babysit the grandkids.

Fame wouldn’t change my writing—the only thing that happened to my friend and classmate Denis Lehane when he became famous is the fact that he had to write more because more people depended on him.   

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

Start taking yourself seriously. You can and will do this thing you love—it is your bliss, your shining star, your golden ring to catch as you circle on the merry-go-round.

Have you slipped personal places, people, or animals into your writing? What is the best thing you’ve mentioned? Have people noticed?

Of course, and I think most writers do. My Mom said to me one day, Why don’t you ever write anything about me?  I answered, Mom, it’s all about you—you just don’t recognize yourself.

How did you celebrate the launch of your book?

A box of books arrived.  My son slit the tape and I took books out, handing one to each of my family members.  I snapped their picture, one at a time. My eldest granddaughter, Giuliana, who is 8 going on 16, took a picture of me holding my novel. My son opened a bottle of wine and he, my husband and I clinked glasses and said, Cin-cin! End of book launch celebration!

If given the chance, what author would you interview? What is the most important question you would ask?

Leo Tolstoy. 

The question would be: What made you so sure that your writings would be a world treasure?

Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you handle it?

Not really. Sometimes I’ve avoided hitting the keys because the scenes I had to write were difficult or extremely challenging.

What would you tell others who are considering traditional/self-publishing? Any advice?

I just wrote a long piece on this very subject and it’s been published on Leonard Tillerman’s blog.

Submit, submit, submit. Publish a small body of work before attempting to publish a larger work. This will give an author what I call “clout” and professionalism when writing to agents, editors, and publishers.

What do you want to be remembered for as a writer? A person?

Kindness and generosity!

Thank you, Nina!

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