Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today we have an author interview with MaryAnn Diorio and an excerpt from her newest release Miracle in Milan. Thanks for being with us today, Mary Ann!
Please tell the readers about the book that is being showcased today.
Miracle in Milan is the story of a young, female auditor who discovers evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler and who must choose between ruining him or ruining herself.
Amy Torelli, Chief Auditor for New York City-based Enson Pharmaceuticals, is assigned to audit the books of Enson’s Italian branch in the enchanting city of Milan, Italy. Having made an inner vow never to trust a man again because of her father’s betrayal, Amy finds herself falling in love with Enson Italia’s American-born Vice-President, Ted McMasters. Will Ted be the one to cause her to break her inner vow?
Ted McMasters is on the run. A run from rejection. From himself. From God. Having been wounded by a father who made him feel worthless, and having been dumped by the woman he wanted to marry, Ted is determined to keep all women at bay. But will Amy be the reason he changes his mind?
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
The Lord gave me the idea for this story several years ago. Italy has always intrigued me, especially since my mother was born and raised there. Having lived and studied in Italy, I wanted to write a story set in that beautiful, romantic country. Interestingly, I ended up first writing my trilogy titled The Italian Chronicles, based on the life of my paternal great-great grandmother. But I knew that another story set in Italy lay dormant within my heart. That story was Miracle in Milan.
Setting is important in books. I noticed that your story is in set in Milan, Italy. Were you inspired to set the book in Italy because of a visit to the country? If not, tell the reader why this setting inspired you.
As mentioned, I have close ties with Italy through my Italian mother. While a student there, I had occasion to visit Milan, the financial and business capital of Italy. When it came time to writing a novel based on financial intrigue, Milan seemed to be the natural choice.
What genre is this book, and why do you like to write in this genre?
Miracle in Milan is a novel of romantic suspense. Actually, this is the first novel I have written in this genre. My main character is a young American woman who works in New York City for a global pharmaceutical firm. The story flowed organically out of who she is and the lie she believes, a lie that has stood in the way of her fulfilling God’s call on her life. I enjoyed writing in this genre and look forward to writing more romantic suspense.
Do you write in more than one genre? If so, why?
Yes. I started out writing historical women’s fiction with an element of romance. Three of my novels–The Madonna of Pisano, A Sicilian Farewell, and Return to Bella Terra–are all historical women’s fiction set in Italy and America during the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. My novel titled In Black and White is a historical romance set in the 1950s, in the United States and Ghana. I also write fiction for children.
While I particularly enjoy writing historical fiction, I like to use the genre that best fits my character and story. When a character emerges in my heart, she emerges within a time period. I instantly know what century she lives in and, in most cases, what decade. The time period has a lot to do with making my character who she is in the natural and in the supernatural.
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
I am blessed to be able to write full-time. I used to have a day job as a university professor of foreign languages.
Name three interesting things most people don’t know about you.
- My mother tongue is Italian.
- I play the mandolin, an instrument my maternal grandfather used to play.
- I am also a visual artist and paint in oils and acrylics.
What’s next for you? Are you currently working on something new?
I’m working on a novella titled The Captain and Mrs. Vye. Summary: When a young widow inherits an oceanfront inn upon her husband’s death, she receives more than she bargained for as a whaling boat captain becomes her first tenant and disrupts her heretofore peaceful life.I am also writing a middle-grade novel titled Dixie Randolph and the Secret of Seabury Beach, the first novel in a six-book series for eight-to-twelve-year-old children.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy? (a quote, a Bible verse, a precept you live by or have tried to instill in your children?)
There is nothing more important in life than accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord and living for Him. This is what Jesus meant when He said in John 3: 3 that a person must be born again in order to experience eternal life. One may accomplish great things in the earth, but, ultimately, unless one knows Jesus, everything else is meaningless. While one’s name may be listed in many records of earthly accomplishments, all that matters in the end is that one’s name be listed in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
There are four quotes on which I have based my life:
1) John 8: 32 – “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
2) Philippians 3: 10 – “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings….”
3. “Only one life; ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” ~ Charles Studd
4. “The true success of my life will not be judged by those who admire me for my accomplishments, but by those who attribute their wholeness to my having loved them, by those who have seen their true beauty and worth in my eyes.” ~ David Grant.
Years ago, I created a mission statement by which I have lived and written. It is this:
To create works of art that communicate Christ’s love and connect people to Him.
CREATE. COMMUNICATE. CONNECT. This is what I’m all about.
Thanks for being part of the blog, Mary Ann. It’s been a pleasure to host you. Good luck with your book. It sounds intriguing!
Thank you so much for featuring me, Catherine. I trust that I will bless your readers.
Miracle in Milan
By Mary Ann Diorio
When young, female auditor Amy Torelli is assigned to audit the books of her company’s Italian branch in Milan, she discovers convincing evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler.
“This way, Ms. Torelli.” Giorgio led her into his private office and shut the door. It was a modest office, as far as offices go. Nothing like Mr. Conklin’s plush space in the downtown Manhattan headquarters. A medium-sized window overlooked a narrow street with another office building on the opposite side. In one corner of the office space stood a large plant about the size of a small fig tree. On a credenza behind the desk was a picture of two small children sitting on either side of a lovely woman who looked to be in her late thirties. Very likely Giorgio’s wife and children.
“Please, sit down.” Giorgio pointed to a small sitting area in the opposite corner furnished with two barrel chairs and a small coffee table.”
Amy took the chair to the right and sat down. Her muscles tensed.
Bassetti sat down in the chair across from her, crossed his legs, and folded his hands in his lap. “First of all, I want to thank you for making the long trip to Italy to help us.”
Dare she say she’d had no choice but to lose her job if she’d refused? “I’m glad to do what I can.”
Bassetti cleared his throat. “I don’t know how much you know, but Enson Italia is on the verge of bankruptcy.”
Amy nodded. “Yes, Mr. Conklin explained as much to me.”
“Then you know that we are in a precarious situation. The future of our Italian operation depends on your discovering what is going on.”
Amy stiffened. There it was again. The burden of responsibility resting squarely on her shoulders. A burden she didn’t like at all. She hated having the ball in her court “Yes, I understand.” She squared her gaze on him. “So, what are your thoughts on the problem?” She loved to toss the ball back to where it belonged.
Bassetti shifted in his chair. “Frankly, I don’t know.”
Amy sensed he was lying. “But surely, from your perspective as president, you have some idea, do you not?” His dodging annoyed her.
Bassetti squirmed. “All I can say is that we have discovered some expenses that do not align with our expenditure categories and that seem to have no correlation with our normal business expenses.”
“Has anyone investigated those unusual expenses?”
Bassetti’s eyes narrowed. “That is what you are here to do.” His voice was curt.
About the Author:
MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of fiction for both adults and children. Her stories are powerfully moving and deal with the deepest issues of the human heart.
MaryAnn resides in New Jersey with her wonderful husband of 51 years. They are the blessed parents of two amazing daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn and her writing at maryanndiorio.com.