Writers we admired. Writers who have mentored us, friended us, sent an encouraging note. Or, from a distance, simply and deeply moved us with their work.
Literary fiction author, Camilla Trinchieri, is one of those writers for me.
This early part of June 2012, she celebrates one of her life milestones, and I wanted to honor her with a post.
I honor Camilla for her courage in stepping out as a writer, in pursuing agents and publishers, in continuing to write book after book, after book. I honor her creativity, her ability to develop powerful and moving stories, her portfolio of books, now numbering close to a dozen. I also honor her loyalty, to her friends, writers and others, and her family.
Camilla Trinchieri the author is also family.
She is my mother’s youngest sister. She grew up in an Italian diplomat family, Italian father, American mother (they met while in Panama, Central America). Very international. They moved a lot, around Europe, and in America. Camilla graduated from Barnard with an interest in Theater, then moved back to Italy where she made a living in film – as a dubbing producer and director for films from English into Italian. Exotic. Hard work. Long hours. Bedazzling for us four kids, her oldest sister’s children.
It was when Camilla came back to America that I first became aware of her writing. She went back to Columbia, this time for a Master’s in Fine Arts for creative writing. She wrote a number of mysteries in The Trouble With… series as Camilla T. Crespi, with wonderful humor, suspense, and cross-cultural insight from her bi-national life.
In following her own dream, Camilla is following my dream of being an author, leading the way, showing it was possible. I had many questions for her. How do you do it? Write so many books. Find an agent. Find a publisher. Go on tour. Do readings. Attend writers conferences. Sell a book overseas. Be invited overseas for conferences, and tours, radio, magazine and TV interviews. Sell another book overseas. Tour again in Italy. Teach overseas. How come one agent doesn’t work with all your books? How come agents take forever to get back to you?
It was amazing to be on the inside, and hear directly from a real author about the experience of putting herself out there over and over again. Exciting to celebrate each new book. Exciting to go to a couple of readings in book stores. To hear the stories behind the names of characters in The Trouble With… series. To be able to ask who did it in one of her novels that doesn’t reveal who actually did it in the book. (She said she doesn’t know! Do we believe her?)
I remember asking for, and getting 1 – 2 inches of double spaced manuscripts to give feedback and comments, pouring through them with my pencil, making exclamation points where I loved it, notes where I had questions or was lost. So wonderful to touch the early work, before it made it into polished books with shiny covers. Seeing behind the veil, backstage in an author’s journey. Being included.
For her mysteries, Camilla went from a small publisher who was her start, to Harper Collins and hardbacks, with book tours. With her first literary fiction work, The Price of Silence, she went with Soho Press. Hardback, then paperback. Then the book sold to Italian publisher Marcos Y Marcos. And they bought another of her books, Finding Alice, published in Italian as Cercando Alice.
Camilla has published, and published, and published. Just today I updated the list of all her books on Amazon.com, now that her Italian books are also available on Amazon.com, not just Amazon.it. She always has a new book in the works. (She writes short stories that she doesn’t even mention, but I occasionally find out about.)
It was her last book that sold to Marcos Y Marcos, Finding Alice, which moved me the most – though The Price of Silence was very powerful, very contemporary, very moving. Finding Alice is a fictionalized story around her mother’s life, my mother’s mother. It was riveting to read the manuscript and wonder what was real and what was fictionalized. What details in those World War II scenes that my grandmother had only hauntingly hinted at, were real, or close to real. Camilla knows how to tug at our hearts, and The Price of Silence and Finding Alice tugged at mine.
Camilla always read a lot. When I lived in New York and visited her I would see piles of books I’d seen on bestseller lists in her study where she worked at the computer. Wondering what she saw and learned in these books. Wondering how her film experience, so many years watching scenes over and over again to get the dubbing exactly right, sharpened her story-telling.
It was with Camilla’s publishing journey that four years ago I cut my teeth on one of my first blogs, about her and her work, documenting each book review, each talk, reading, interview and event. Camilla Trinchieri at Blogspot.com. I scoured the Internet for every mention of her and her work, across languages, going to Google.it, Google.fr and more. I even discovered Nina Sankovitch (who years later, kindly wrote a guest post for Women Writers, Women Books) because she’d reviewed The Price of Silence and showed up in my searches. Though inactive for now, the blog is there as a resource an online history, still welcoming visitors.
I know there are more books in the works at the Camilla Trinchieri writing house. And I know she’ll continue to surprise with what angles she presents and what she integrates in her books in our constantly innovating world.
Camilla was always generous with her nieces and nephews. Gave the most precious gifts to treasure through the years. As a young girl, beautiful things to hold onto were treasured. Grown now, it is the path that she has traveled as a writer and author, and how she included me with stories from the front lines, that is most precious, demonstrating what is possible when you believe in yourself. May she live long, write dozens of more books, and know what a tremendous legacy she is building.
Camilla Trinchieri’s website is www.camillatrinchieri.com.