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I was born in Chelmsford in 1963 and lived in England until moving to Italy in 1990. I got a degree in English Literature and History, worked in the airline and fashion businesses and then, when I met my Italian husband, Guido, while traveling in Greece, I moved to Rome.
In 1994, our son, James, was born and to celebrate Guido decided to take early retirement (at 46), buy a boat and set sail. I had never sailed before but the idea sounded idyllic so I agreed to his plan and we bought a 42ft Ketch, Whisper and set off for the whole summer, sailing around the Mediterranean. It was not quite as idyllic as I had imagined, trying to cope with a demanding 14-month-old baby, who insisted on seeing which of his toys would float during a gale and then howled loudly when Mum would not dive overboard and fish them out for him. We had every type of weather and adventure that summer, sudden storms that were scary in their intensity, sunshine that turned me a very fetching shade of lobster, anchors that slipped, anchors that got stuck and, maybe worst of all, marauding mosquitoes. On the plus side, the emotions and new experiences that I encountered encouraged me to start writing and as the summer wore on, I fell in love with the way of life at sea. I wrote a book about our sailing adventures called "A Whisper around the Mediterranean" (published by the Boathooks Books imprint of UK publisher Sunpenny, in September 2014) and since then I have carried on writing, because it is simply what I enjoy doing most in life.
When James was a year old, we moved to Tuscany, to a beautiful valley that is the setting for my novel "The Song of the Cypress". Living in Italy, not as an expat but as an integrated member of a small community, allows me to write about the place and people with authenticity. When I am not writing, I teach English, do translations and have just begun working on two local projects. I am collaborating with the council, trying to get young people interested in literature by doing a "word workshop". I am also organising a series of evening lectures and cultural events in the area.
My latest novel, "The Melting of Miss Angelina Snow" is set in the UK but with a very Italian protagonist, Leonardo Marconi. It will be published in the new year.
I love living in Tuscany and think that it gives me a unique perspective, allowing me to write with authority and passion about Italy whilst retaining an essentially British viewpoint and sense of humour.
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Books By Tonia Parronchi