Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Book Reading and Interview at the cafe and my guest today is the award winning author Dan Alatorre, who has delighted readers with his stories inspired by his young daughter, wowed in the kitchen with his recipes and provided a slice of Italy with his latest book.
More about that and his other work a little later. First the official background to my guest.
About Dan Alatorre
International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.
From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.
And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.
“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”
Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.
He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever.
Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on https://danalatorre.com/ or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends.
Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.
The latest release by Dan Alatorre and Dan has chosen and extract from Poggibonsi for his book reading.
About the Poggibonsi – An Italian misadventure
When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary. And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.
Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.
While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?
One of the latest reviews
I have always loved the idea of Italy, and intend to go there one of these days, so this romantic comedy really appealed to me, and from the very first page, I was laughing.
The writing style, wit and humour sparkles like champagne, and although you can guess what the protagonist Mike Torrino will get up to, the effervescent way he stumbles through life is hilarious.
This story is all about relationships and love, all the different kinds of love, including a hilarious depiction of extra-marital sex. But Poggibonsi is a beautifully written romance too. It has the classic ‘lost everything’ scenario, but the emotions are real. The cast of characters could be people you have known for years, and I laughed a lot and cried in equal measure but cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book so much.
The scene in the restaurant between Mattie (the wife) and Sam, the woman Mike works with, literally brought the house down and was promptly outdone by Mike’s conversation with the priest.
Poggibonsi, (yes, it really is a place in Italy, a small Tuscan hamlet in Chianti) should be made into a film, it would break box office records!
Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Poggibonsi-Italian-Misadventure-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B06Y5TT1BT
Here is an extract from Poggibonsi – An Italian Misadventure.
Julietta set her computer on the table. “Signor Bellesandro—Franco—was responsible for a large project here. A spa, with a swimming pool. It made a lot of money for the bank, and he is very proud of it. Be sure to mention it so he can boast a little.”
“Got it.” I flipped through one of the files in the stack Franco had left on the table. “On the plus side, it looks like he did a pretty good job of assembling the information we’ll be needing. Check this out. Spreadsheets, summaries . . . It’s like I—”
It was just like I had done it myself.
I looked at Julietta. “Were you responsible for this?”
She nodded. “I called and told them how to prepare.”
Her initiative impressed me. Again. “Then why did he not know you when we came in?”
She shrugged. “I used Alberto’s name. Nobody pays attention to the assistant.”
That could not have been less true. Anybody who set eyes on her, man or woman, paid attention to Julietta.
I set the file aside. “They just didn’t know who he was dealing with. When we’re finished here, they’ll all know you.” Picking up another thick folder, I thumbed through it, shaking my head. “This type of work, it’s amazing. Now all I need to do is check these over and see what I’m interested in.”
She moved closer to me, the way she’d done on the train, sliding her hand up and down the lapel of her suitcoat. “What you’re interested in?”
I just watched, trying to stay focused. “Well, there’s a lot to look at.”
“I understand.” She rested her hand on her thigh. “We should get started.”
My face felt flush. “We really should. I—I should probably sit down. Over here. On a chair.”
She watched me, purring. “Mm hmm.”
“And you should probably come—I mean, you should probably go down. Sit down. Sit—”
My breath left me. “Anywhere you want.”
She leaned on the table, right next to me. Her legs brushed up against mine. “Here?”
“Um, okay that . . . that’s gonna get in the way of the . . . Julietta.”
“We have a lot of . . . work to get to.”
“So hard.” I swallowed. “And, uh, I think it’s best if we fuckus—focus. Focus on—on . . . um . . . work! Focus on work.”
She batted her big green eyes at me, whispering. “Mike?”
A tiny jolt of electricity ran through me when she spoke my name. “Yes?”
She put her fingers to my shoulder. “Do you think I’m pretty?”
“God, yes.” I cleared my throat. Her fingers toyed with the edge of my collar. “I mean, you’re very professional. That’s what I meant.” I watched her out of the corner of my eye. “And attractive. You have a great ass. Assistant. Great assistant. You’re a . . . great one. Of those.”
She slid her hand down my arm “Do you like me?”
I nodded. “I like you soooooo much.” I could barely get the words out. My voice didn’t remember how to work.
She cocked her head, letting her hair fall over her shoulder. “Would you like to kiss me?”
“Would I!” My mouth fell open. “Would I?” My breath caught in my throat. “Is that what you’re asking? I’ve got wood. I mean, I would. Wouldn’t.” She was inches from my face. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to break, uh, any rules. Of business. That we have. Our companies. Both here in America or back in, um, in . . . back where you live.”
She slipped off her jacket, a black lace bra shining right through the red blouse.
“Now, Julietta, there are a lot of reasons why we shouldn’t, you know, do that. If you give me a minute, I’ll think of some.” I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “There are, um . . . uh, um . . . rules. About this sort of stuff. I could get fired.”
She leaned over, putting her face close to mine. “What if I kiss you?”
I leaned back. “Uh, the on-the-cheek Italian greeting thing? A little peck of gratitude? I think that’s okay . . . local customs.”
“No . . .” I swallowed. “No?”
She shook her head slowly, never breaking eye contact. “No.” She slid her finger under my chin. “What if I kiss you, not on the cheek?”
I blinked. If I had been wearing glasses, they would have been steamed up by now. “Oh, not on the cheek? That—that—that would depend on um, which country—”
She pressed her lips to mine.
She held me there, moving slowly, tasting me, her lips warm and soft, electrifying me to my very soul before pulling back and looking at me with those big beautiful green eyes.
I managed a hoarse whisper. “That, I’m pretty sure, would be against the rules.”
“Pretty sure? But not positive?” She kissed me again, deeper, sliding her hands up my arms, pressing her body into mine.
I gasped. “That was definitely over the line.”
She smiled, her beautiful face practically touching mine. She nuzzled my ear, whispering.
“So you are in trouble now?”
“You have no idea.” I nodded. “Well, maybe one more. To be absolutely sure.”
“Si, we must be thorough.”
A selection of other books by Dan Alatorre
Discover all of Dan Alatorre’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU
Read more reviews for Dan’s books and follow him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847408.Dan_Alatorre
It is time to meet Dan in person and just a reminder that you are very welcome to put your questions in the comments section and Dan will respond in the next couple of days.
Welcome Dan and perhaps you could start by telling us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?
I joke that I’m going to write a book in every genre until I find one I’m good at, but I really like – shh! It’s kinda bad to say this out loud – is Romantic Comedy. Look at your readers roll their eyes. I have a blast writing funny stuff and inserting it into a really good romance, so there’s something for everyone. Lots of readers don’t take rom-com seriously, but my romances are DEEP and passionate and real, while maintaining a character or two on the perimeter that are making you laugh.
I love strong characters that we get to know quickly and then something goes wrong and it’s just a roller coaster ride. Poggibonsi is a great example. The MC is pretty straightforward but a lot of characters around him will have you rolling on the floor. Meanwhile, the romance he pursues, fans are swooning everywhere reading it.
If one of your books was selected to be made into a film; who would you like to play your main character and why?
I kind of live in fear of that happening, not because I hate movies but because who they’d put in the roles. Right now, readers everywhere are saying they can totally see Poggibonsi being made into a movie. I love that. It’s set in Tuscany and has a ton of romance, just right for some big Hollywood names. The problem is who they’d put in the male lead. It requires a good looking guy who can be funny. I just know they’d cast Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), and I hate him. For the female lead I could see Yvonne Strahovski, who I love, or somebody like Brianna Brown or Dianna Agron; but I know they’d cast Brittany Spears, you know? Ugh.
Which book in your opinion is the best you have ever read and why?
That’s a tough one, because there are so many. I loved the book Jaws and The Amityville Horror, because they scared the heck out of me when I was reading them. Catch-22 was a lesson in amazing writing, comedy, and writing to a smart audience. The Other by Thomas Tryon has layers and layers of mystery; it’s brilliant.
I love the essays of Mark Twain; they are the building blocks for gripping, long-form comedic storytelling like Bill Cosby did in the late 1960’s and probably every comedy writer since.
Seriously. No one can read that book, child or adult, and not smile. Bringing joy to people is quite a feat, and that book does it every time. We can all probably thank Dr. Seuss for instilling in us our first moment of joy in reading. That’ll always make it #1.
You have had several of your books translated into Spanish, Italian and Chinese. Do you have any guidelines about what genres are the most likely to cross cultures successfully, for example children’s books and based on your experience would you recommend it?
I’m pretty fortunate. I have over 17 titles and many are available in 12 different languages. The key is to write about extremely personal issues in the story. The more personal, the more universal. A broken heart is universal. Parents being amazed by their young children, that’s universal. So telling your deepest, most personal story connects universally. You’d think it’s the opposite, but it’s not.
I totally recommend getting your books translated if you can. Poggibonsi has been embraced by the people of Italy. Readers there tell me love they way I portray their people and their country – and with good reason. The country plays a huge role in the book. I loved being there, and it shows in the story.
Any well-written story will translate well. Look at Hemingway, Shakespeare, King, Rowling – the whole world knows their work because it’s always a well-told story with characters we care about.
Food plays a large part in your life and with the cookbooks behind you is there any chance of us seeing a restaurant in your future?
Oh, god no. Everyone who likes to cook loves the idea of opening a restaurant. Not me.
I envision lots and lots of dirty pots and pans – I hate doing the dishes – and mobs of angry people who are hungry. Forget that. Hungry people get crazy. Add cocktails and I’m amazed there aren’t mass murders every night at dinner time, people just getting “hangry” and losing it over their sautéed grouper taking too long to get to the table.
I’ll stick to making homemade pizza with my family and a few friends. (I make my dough and sauce from scratch. It’s awesome. Ask anyone.)
Now, a few of my cookbooks are bestsellers, and my first #1 bestseller was a cookbook, but running a restaurant isn’t for me. I’d be hiding in the back waiting for everyone to go home. Probably can’t do that and have a successful restaurant.
In many ways publishing has been going through a renaissance in the last twenty years with differing opinions on the future as far as print, ebooks and audio are concerned. What do you feel is going to be the next major shift?
The book industry will keep going the same way as movies and TV and everything else that’s entertainment-based: digital. Ebooks will continue to dominate market growth.
Most traditionally published books don’t earn back their advances. Few sell 20,000 copies. But indie authors can do that and not even have a marketing department. If a fan likes the book, they can join the author’s mailing list and get the sequel as a PDF that loads directly into the reader’s Kindle. The author charges a dollar less and keeps 100% of the revenue.
The experience to the reader is the same, but the author earns $60,000 instead of only $9,000 – and delivers a better product in less time to a happier audience. That author would have had to sell $400,000 worth of books to get that same royalty from a trad publisher.
Indie authors can pursue more narrowly defined slices of the spectrum, where readers decide what they want to read, not some stuffy old geezers in New York.
Traditional book publishers won’t be able to keep up with that, and authors will be able to cut out the middle men.
I’d say that’s pretty major.
My thanks to Dan for taking time out before his trip to the UK to join us in the Cafe and if you are in the Cambridge area on June 10th, Dan and Lucy Brazier of Porter Girl fame are having a get together and you can find the details in this post. https://danalatorre.com/2017/05/30/im-heading-to-the-u-k/
In the meantime you can connect with Dan on his website and social media.
If you have any questions for Dan please leave them in the comments section and he will respond in the next couple of days.
You will find the other interviews in this series in the directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cafe-and-bookstore-book-reading-and-interview/
Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.. thank you Sally