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Friday, June 10, 2011

"Let's Get Acquainted" by a new author at RBRUs

Hi everyone, my name is R. Ann Siracusa. I’m a new author to Romance Books R Us. I go by Ann, and you’ll just have to guess what the initial R stands for. Thank you for stopping by my first "get acquainted" blog.

So, Who Am I?
Here’s the short―just give me the facts, ma’am―version. I’m retired from a 37-year career as an architect/urban planner (which makes me older than dirt) and have been married to the same man for 48 years (an Italian policeman from Sicily whom I met at the Fountain of Love on my first day in Rome).

We have three grown children, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. I’m well-published in my profession of architecture/urban planning, but my first work of fiction (a mainstream mafia thriller) wasn’t published until 2008. Since 2009, I’ve been writing humorous romantic suspense novels published by Sapphire Blue Publishing. I live in San Diego, and write full time. Ho-hum.

If you want to know more boring stuff, look at my resume under Bio on my website:

The Juicier Version
After I graduated from UC Berkeley, my architecture degree tucked in my suitcase, I tootled off to Rome, Italy (via some time in London) to take a doctorate in Urban Planning. Instead, on my first day in Rome, I sat next to a very handsome Italian at the Fountain of Love in Piazza Esedra, and the rest is history. (Actually, I sat there on purpose…no accident.)

I didn’t speak much Italian, he didn’t speak much English, and a month later I had to look up the word fidanzata in the English-Italian dictionary to find out I was “engaged.” I did attend the University of Rome but basically audited classes because final examinations were oral, and I didn’t speak Italian fluently enough to pull that off.

When I told my parents I planned to marry an Italian policeman from Sicily, my mother showed up in Rome, without warning, to take me home…and I hadn’t even told them he was a widower with a three-year-old daughter. I was 24 at the time, and probably not the brightest bulb on the tree. Scary, isn’t it?

Exercising my independence, I refused to go and promised, if I didn’t have a job by the end of the year, I would come home. My mother left the plane ticket, which I cashed in immediately, borrowed a hundred dollars from my ex-boyfriend in New York, and Luciano and I got married in a civil ceremony. P.S. Ronnie, if you’re still out there somewhere, I’ve been trying to find you to pay you back.

Okay, now here’s naïveté for you. I had this great plan: If I didn’t get a job, I would return to California, work for six months, save up some money, and convince my parents I hadn’t turned into a raving lunatic, then go back to Italy and live HEA. Luciano was going to wait for me. Yeah, right! This would never get past an editor who would say, “It’s too unbelievable. The heroine is TSTL...too stupid to live.”

The week before my scheduled return to the US, I got a job as an architect with an Italian land development firm. Lucky for me, because I was already pregnant.

Being a policeman in the Guardia di Pubblica Sicurezza (the national police), Luciano needed official permission to get married. Since I wasn’t Catholic, and since we planned to marry in the Catholic Church to please his family, I took instruction while we waited for the police to do the security checks and so on. It took many months; the Italians didn't rush things (at least, they didn't then).

So there I was, six months pregnant (but not showing much) meeting twice a week with a priest at the American Catholic Church. I did fine until we got to the part about birth control. Then we had a major confrontation. When he explained birth control was a sin because it was a perversion of a natural function, I pointed out that using antiperspirants also perverts a natural function, but I didn’t see the Church taking a position against that. Oh, boy.

Long story short. I was willing to convert to Catholicism for my husband’s sake. The Catholic Church said, “Thanks, but no thanks. Just sign this promise to bring up your children up in the Church. We’d rather you remain an Episcopalian.” How’s that for rejection! It took a quite a few years for me to understand why that happened, but eventually the light dawned.

I still believe Fate was preparing me for a career in local government and for writing novels. (I have a small bathroom wallpapered with rejection letters.)

My daughter and oldest son were born in Rome, where I worked for an Italian development company for several years until we returned to the United States. Luciano and I, his daughter and our son, and then our second son (all five of us) lived with my parents for a full year. You can’t begin to imagine! But that’s another story.

What Inspires Me To Write?
My two passions (after sex, of course―well, you wouldn’t expect me to lie about that, would you?) are traveling the world and writing fiction. I combine those loves into novels which transport readers to exotic settings and immerse them in romance, intrigue, and foreign cultures…and make them laugh.

Being an architect, my main interest in travel began initially with curiosity about ancient cultures and the ways in which those cultures manifested themselves in structures, buildings systems, and design. I never imagined this would blossom into a major source of inspiration for writing novels. But it has.

Now, when I travel, I look for the unique features of the country or for pieces of information about the culture that spark a story idea. Sometimes just a word, a phrase, a street scene, an historical event, etc. can inspire a full storyline, other times they provide incidents to enrich a novel. I believe unless you experience the culture, breathe the air, taste the food, inhale the smells, and watch the body language, you really can’t write about another culture.

My current humorous romantic suspense series features a young tour director, Harriet Ruby, and a handsome Europol spy, Will Talbot, with a dark and troubled past. And what do you know? Every adventure takes them to a different part of the world where I have traveled. What a coincidence!

Get Ready To See The World

I’m going to be blogging on the tenth of each month and, in some of those blogs, I’ll take you with me on adventures to other countries. So, pack your bags and your imagination.


Amber Skyze said...

Oh I can imagine the stories you have about living with parents for a full year. I lived with my former in-laws for nine months. In fact I left my ex there and moved out with our three children. :)

You definitely have lived an exciting life so far. Congrats on all the success.

Tina Donahue said...

Wow, what an interesting life you've led. I envy you!! Welcome to the pack, Ann!! :)

Linda Kage said...

Man, what a life!! I wish I could carry around a story like that. It's nice to meet you, R. Ann (I think I'll guess R stand for Ramona, because I love those stories). I look forward to reading your monthly posts!

Molly Daniels said...

LOL:) I'm still LMAO at your rejection from the Catholic Church!!

And you're right; sometimes Truth IS stranger than fiction!!

R. Ann Siracusa said...

Hello Amber, Tina, Linda, and Molly. It's nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by. Amber, I can imagine living with former in-laws was a real trial. Wow.

Liz said...

Ann--that is the most romantic and amazing story I have ever, um, read! you sound fabulous and I think we should chat! I have lived in Japan, Turkey and England, dragging 2 and then 3 children around as a trailing spouse of a big shot executive (who found it necessary to misbehave in a Big Way while there). I rebelled by coming home, making a ton of dough selling houses like mad then buying into the Boy's Club of microbrewing...and now have my own set of stories too good to be fiction to tell!

I'll be posting my own New RBRU member author bio in a few days but frankly, dunno if I can top yours. Can't wait to get to know you better!

R. Ann Siracusa said...

Liz, It sounds like you have enough material to write for the rest of your life and never run out of ideas. I can't wait to read your blog. Thanks for commenting.

Katalina Leon said...

Ann I absolutely loved reading this! You're a romantic movie.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Incredible stories, Ann! I wish I'd known you back when I lived in San Diego! Welcome to RBRU!

jean hart stewart said...

Ann, as I've told you it's good to see you here. Love the story of your meeting your guy. Also love the humor in your books. Hmmmm. wonder if we all should share the stories of how we met out DH. I'll bet there are some good ones in this group....Jean

R. Ann Siracusa said...

Katalina, Thanks for the comment. Everyone has a story. Only, it never seems like one when you're living it. That's because it also includes all the day-to-day stuff that isn't interesting. In novels, you get to cut all that out.

Cindy, At least we've met on-line. How long ago did you live in San Diego? I've been here 11 years now and love it here.

Jean, Thank you for the kind words. I think each of us writing a blog on how we met our significant others would be really interesting.

Paris said...


Welcome! What a great story and I love the photo of you and hubby:) So romantic.

Looking forward to hearing about more of your adventures!

Lisa Kessler said...

What a great story Ann!!! You were a ballsy chick!!! LOL

So glad it all worked out for you in the end... :)

Welcome to RBRU!!!

Lisa :)

Marianne Stephens said...

What an interesting life you've led! You gave us lots of information so now we know the real Ann!
Being Catholic, I can see them doing that...sometimes they don't "see the light" and still have to play catch up with the modern world.

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