Yesterday I found myself in the strange situation of being an invited speaker at an American book club in Italy, talking to a group of strangers who knew more about my life in Italy than I do.
I was invited by the excellent librarian Caralyn at the US Army base in Vicenza. She had read an article of mine and had traced me via the Internet, then persuaded all these good people to read my book before I arrived to field their questions, though in truth they didn’t need me there because whilst I tried to remember which character they were talking about, or where a certain misadventure took place, someone in the audience could always supply the answer.
Their hospitality was boundless. A member with as I thought the exotic name of Aleesha (actually Alicia) had gone to the trouble of baking a mud cake to commemorate my near- death experience of a mud cure in chapter two. I was presented with home made jam, and a ridiculous tee shirt from a gym in Vicenza, as well as two Vicenza mugs for my tea addiction.
It was a very hot evening. I drank at least a gallon of water and offered tips about where they might like to visit, or warnings about what not to do, like never take a mud cure, or drive with Jack Daniels as a companion.
I loved hearing that they had laughed out loud at favourite bits of my book. In fact they have inspired me to do two things. One is to try to make an audio book, and the other is to keep on writing and add to the five more chapters languishing in the memory of my computer.