IndieView with Mariuccia Milla, author of Meet Me in Milano

I myself left New York at age 25 to spend eighteen years in Italy, with no clear plan except to look for work. So I started my life in the same way the book starts. Then the story took on a life of its own.

Mariuccia Milla – 23 January 2018

The Back Flap

Meet Me in Milano is about a young architect who leaves her boyfirend and New York to look for a job and a new life in Milan, Italy. But her ex is not giving up so easily, and follows her there. The people they meet, the places they visit, and the things they learn about themselves during their separate adventures will bring you right there with them as they navigate the Milanese scene.

The reader will meet successful and charming Milanese men like Alberto and Pierpaolo, the wise Lella, the beautiful Elena, and aspiring creative types who, like Melinda and Jonathan, have come to Milan to realize their dreams.

Meet Me in Milano weaves Italian culture, food, language, and personalities into a delightful mosaic.

Weekend trips for work and play in the beautiful Italian landscape provide deeper dives into the conflicts and opportunities that bring the characters together…or make them change direction.

This is a book about the discovery of life and self, through connection with place and other people.

“It’s really true that if you take a chance, the world supports you. At least, that’s what Mel believed.” –Meet Me in Milano

About the book

What is the book about?

Do you mean what is the book really about? It is about taking a chance and learning something about yourself in the process. Melinda, a young New York City architect gets out of her comfort zone by traveling to Italy to look for a job in Milan. The boyfriend she left behind follows, and finds a gig in a photography studio. They travel in separate circles, meeting seasoned Italians and expats alike, and the characters eventually merge. Love is lost, found, and lost (in some cases again), against an inspiring and beautiful Italian landscape.

When did you start writing the book?

February 2017.

How long did it take you to write it?

Four months for the first draft.

Where did you get the idea from?

I myself left New York at age 25 to spend eighteen years in Italy, with no clear plan except to look for work. So I started my life in the same way the book starts. Then the story took on a life of its own.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Not in the writing of it, but in the editing and refinement. You have to read it over and over until you can’t look at it any more!

What came easily?

My imagination would always tell me what was going to happen next.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

That is a trick question! Of course a writer’s characters come from real people. But this is not always a conscious process. And you cherry-pick.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I will admit that I love Victorian novels, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, the whole gamut of English writers. And I love Isabel Allende. I love writers who understand life and humor as well. Those are two very different things, though they require the same kind of insight.

Do you have a target reader?

My target reader is anyone who wants to “get behind the wheel” of a young person setting out to have an adventure. It’s for expats or wannabe expats everywhere. But especially Amercians who dream of Europe.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

Get up and write, every day, 5-6 days per week, before I do anything else. No checking email first.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

Absolutely not. I used to tell my little brothers stories at night, about the same made-up characters. I had to invent the tales as I went along. It is the same with my writing: every day I set up a scenario, and plant some seeds within it. After I stop, I keep thinking about what has happened in the story, until I close my eyes at night. The next morning I know what my characters will do next. I let them figure it out while I’m sleeping!

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I usually plow right through, but some days I start by reading what I wrote the day before. If  I see something a little off, I change it right away.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I had four readers, but no professional editor. I would love to work with an editor, but it would have to be the right one. I don’t want someone who is too market-driven, that is a lagging indicator of what people want. Besides, I am writing for myself, and for the people who connect with me through the reading of my book.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I’d rather not listen to music while I write, because it is emotionally distracting. The type of music I like makes me want to dance.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No I didn’t even try.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I just wanted to have control over the whole process. Look, the publishing business is still trying to regain its footing since the emergence of eBooks. So far, I don’t particularly like what I see. The small publishers lack agility and the big ones are, well, big.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I did it myself. I enjoy that, I am a designer after all.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I am taking it step by step, using as many different channels as I can. I expect to put all my earnings back into advertising for the first year. And I am writing my next book.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Read, and write. Build up your social media presence with good, focused content and loyal followers while you are writing, so you’ll have them when you launch.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Where do you live now?

I am back in the Finger Lakes now, after a long absence. I lived in Italy for 18 years, then in New England for another eight years.

What would you like readers to know about you?

That I am fiercely independent, considered strong by others, but really vulnerable.

What are you working on now?

My next novel is set in the Finger Lakes. It will move among charming little towns with an interesting mixture of characters. They will gravitate around one of my Italian characters who has come to visit. You are going to love it! And after that, I am going to spend some time in Italy to write my third novel.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Meet Me in Milano from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

3 responses to “IndieView with Mariuccia Milla, author of Meet Me in Milano

  1. A process a lot like my own but much more disciplined. Good for inspiration.
    Revising my story of running off to Paris in my 20’s with my French dream lover. . .

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