- Congratulations on the publication of BIRDS OF PASSAGE. What was the genesis of the novel?
- How long did it take to write before submitting it for publication?
- How much research did you do? For example, how did you know about the arranged marriages, the medical inspections before boarding the boat, municipal corruption? Was the union busting done by Italian scabs historical fact?
- There are several intertwined, intricate plots at work in the novel. How do you plot? Do you work from an outline? We’re thinking of a line late in the novel when the main character and his adoptive father are discussing the murder of the main character’s half-brother: “Don’t torture yourself. No one could have imagined every twist of events.” That could also serve as a tagline for the story, but when you start a project, do you first imagine every twist of events?
- Duel interweaving plots seems a standard technique in fiction. I had a general idea on how the story would unfold around Leonardo, Carlo, and Azzura, but as happens many times in my writing, the characters revealed what they would do next only when they were plunged into some difficult situation. I believe it was John Updike who labored over the last line of his novels, then never deviated. I’m not that good.
- Is "bird of passage" an historical phrase used by Italian immigrants?
- Any concern that this novel and others in the Italian-immigrant genre contribute to a cliché that Italian-Americans are inherently criminal? The Medinas are law-abiding, but a lot of the other characters of Italian heritage are not (as are not the Irish- and Anglo-Americans).
- Leonardo’s thoughts and expectations at the end of the novel beg for a sequel . . .is a sequel in the works?
- A final question, related to writing in general, that our readers are probably interested in and would find valuable: How do you handle rejection?
Visit Joe’s website where you can read the first chapter of both his novels: http://joe-giordano.com/