Veronica Di Grigoli talks too fast, is addicted to tea and wishes she could speak every single language in the world. She often cannot sleep for thinking of all the things she wants to do. She would love to visit the moon and also wants to become a proficient and sexy flamenco dancer, a legendary soul singer, a magnificently skilled cowgirl and a perplexingly flexible trapeze artist.
She spent her childhood making things: clothes, dolls, little books of her stories, soft toys, sculptures, giant pop-up books, and origami animals. As a young girl she was very shy.
“I spent more time observing people acutely than interacting with them. If you take a step back it is easier to see into people’s hearts, no matter how many layers they wear or how well they try to hide their motives. You can sense their desires, and work out how the dynamics between different personalities really function. In my writing I aim to give the reader this insight into my characters.”
At school she learnt to love the culture of ancient Rome. She studied Classics at Cambridge University, where she mastered Latin and Ancient Greek, read Julius Caesar’s own account of his conquest of Europe, learned about Plato and the Greek philosophers and translated a mummy case from the desert of Egypt stuffed with papyri in badly-spelled Greek full of contracts, gruesomely specific curses and domestic secrets .
After graduating she moved to Milan for a year and then on to Istanbul, where she taught English and permanently felt dazzled by the language and the crowds and the stunning views of the sea, the mosques and the covered markets. This was where she had all the experiences that inspired ‘Evil Eye’, even though she didn’t write the novel until years later.
She has worked in Istanbul, London, Milan, New York, Zurich, Frankfurt and Palermo. She has also taken holidays in almost every country in Europe and South-East Asia, and travelled the USA for six months. She has never visited a country she didn’t love. She enjoys the weird and wacky side of living abroad, and learning the hidden secrets of foreign cultures.
Despite all the travelling, people can never believe how bad her orientation skills are, until she visits their house and gets lost on her way back from the bathroom. Her friends are infallibly amazed and relieved each time she goes abroad and actually finds her way home.
“I have often had my most interesting and exciting experiences when I was lost.”
After working in the finance industry in London for several years, learning about money laundering (amongst other things) and writing international crime thriller ‘Friends with Secrets’, she moved to a fishing village near Palermo to marry the love of her life.
“The first foreign country I visited was Italy, and it fired my lifelong passion for travel abroad. I have worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language, a stockbroker and an orphanage assistant, all jobs selected for the travel opportunities they offered. But I truly fell in love with Italy and all things Italian… including one man in particular!”
She lived in Sicily for more than a decade with her Sicilian husband and their son, cooking dangerously large portions of pasta, driving her car among maniacs, and trying to avoid sunburn at forty degrees centigrade. Her experiences there are recounted in a genre she calls a travel-novel, ‘The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife’.
After travelling and working across three continents, she and her family live in England. She always uses her first hand experiences to write her books.
“After a childood of detached observation, I have had an adulthood of leaping into each experience with both feet and living it as intensely as possible. I have taught English to the Soviet Mafia, and been held at gunpoint in South Africa. I’ve been trampled by a stallion and then rescued by a matador in Spain. I fell in love with every single child I looked after in an orphanage in Istanbul. Almost all my characters and situations are partly based on real events and real people.
I never suffer from writer’s block. I just hope my lifetime will be long enough to tell all my stories.”
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I met a distinguished architect who has written an extraordinary 3 Volume History of the Sulphur mines and their awful legacy in Cianciana.
I was wondering if you might be interested in contacting the author or trying to get them published or at least recognised in a library or University as an archive of record? My Italian is not good enough to be as helpful as one would wish!
We have a holiday appartment in Cianciana but only resident a few weeks a year.
This sounds really interesting. I would love to make contact with him, though I don’t have the right connections to help him get it published. The Italian publishing industry seems to be struggling (as they all are) – I had a book commission get aborted because of financial difficulties.
Does he have any friends in Italian universities who might help?