A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever
Fonzaso Italy, between two wars
Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother. As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
I love to hand write in a notebook in cafes or scenic settings but, unfortunately, I’ve found this to be incredibly inefficient when trying to actually finish a novel. My favourite place to write would be in Lake Como, in front of the fireplace where I have a little bench and marble table. Much of Under the Light of the Italian Moon was written there.
2. Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
I need either silence or classical music. In between, there were two songs that really inspired the feeling for my novel that I listened to over and over again. One was Against All Odds, by Phil Collins and the other was La Strada Nel Bosco by Alberto Rabagliatti.
3. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Virginia Woolf or Margaret Mitchell if I could go backwards. Probably Kristin Hannah or Paula McClain today.
4. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
In my opinion, there is no such thing, in most characters as “good” and “bad”. We are all complex and the best characters have flaws and redeeming characteristics. So, I guess I would just want to be a “complex” character.
5. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I would have loved to interview my great great grandmother. She was a true force of a woman and ahead of her time in so many ways. If I had to choose someone alive now, I would interview Sophia Loren or Gloria Steinem.
6. Where can I find you when you are reading?
On steps in the sun in Italy or in bed. If I’m really into the book, even walking down the street.
7. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
Working. I’m have always had an intense business career and I enjoy working professionally and helping other women rise in business.
8. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Pride and like I served my grandmother. I brought her back to Italy, a country she loved and never wanted to leave. She always wanted to return, but never did. This book has brought her
back. It’s very emotional for me. My greatest hope is that it inspires others to realize their own strength and consider researching their own roots.
9. How do you pick a cover for your book?
Every element of the cover was thought through in great detail. The colour is based on the Madonna’s robes in Italian artwork and the night sky at a certain time. The image of the town is one I took in Fonzaso, from Sant’Anna, where the women would go to pray for their children. The woman on the front holds a letter in her hand as she looks lovingly at her town. She could be the main character or other characters in the book. I love the cover and I’m so pleased others do as well.
10. How do you come up with a title for your book?
Under the Light of the Italian Moon is a long title, but it is the only possible title for my novel. The moon in Italy is tremendous, magical. The moon connected my characters, Nina and Pietro, across Italy and America. Most importantly, when I go to Italy, and when I am Under the Light of the Italian Moon, I am under the same moon my ancestors lived beneath. Just like them, we experience joys and pain and the moon is always there. It connects us all.
Thank you, Jennifer Anton and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3n1nDqC
Bookshop.org (U.S. only): https://bit.ly/3ofS39T
I am Books Boston: https://bit.ly/2Z0mWUO