Growing up in rural, southeast Iowa, provided a plethora of ideas for my writing. I was fortunate enough to have two interesting parents with diverse backgrounds. While my mother, a first generation Italian American, grew up in Los Angeles, California with many of the modern conveniences of the late forties, my father was raised in the rolling Iowa hills that Grant Wood painted so beautifully. Electricity, indoor plumping, and such were yet to be implemented in the small farming community where my father was born. I had a rich mixture of experiences growing up with many colorful, aunts, uncles and cousins who added a kaleidoscope of recollections to my memory bank.
My years in grammar school were spent in a one room school with all eight grades. One teacher taught us all and the experience was one I will always cherish. There was a freedom that made learning enjoyable as each class took their turns coming to the front for their time with the teacher.
I’ve always loved history and family so it felt right when I wrote this novel with my mother as the main character. Her strength and perseverance is what inspired me to tell her story. Although Corn Rose is fiction, it is sprinkled with the oral history my mother passed down to me as well as my observances of her. It is a story about a woman of the Greatest Generation, and how she navigated and reconciled her way through love, marriage, family and loneliness—while trying to maintain a part of herself in the process.
As an educator of the Visual Arts, I love using words to paint a picture for the reader— a clear impression of the people, places, and emotions that are part of the story. Describing a landscape and the way the air feels on a brisk fall morning or the smells of a new plowed field, is something I love to do.
We cannot dismiss nor forget who and what made us, therefore that is what makes writing so important as well as enjoyable for me, and I hope for my readers as well.