Monday 9th December - Giuseppina Marino Leyland

Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors

Contributor spotlight : Giuseppina Marino Leyland, author of “Sleeping with the Devil”

Enduring the interviewer's coiling clutches today is Giuseppina Marino Leyland, who wrote the short story “Sleeping with the Devil” for the “Dragon Bone Soup” anthology (published in December 2019). She wrote her own introduction for ‘Sleeping with the Devil’ (4,700 words) in her author interview, saying how it is based on two stories passed down in her family. One concerns crossing a river many times to reach a plot of land, and the other tells of a nursing mother who woke to find a snake at her breast. Giuseppina has combined these tales, and added an erotic twist for your enjoyment.

What is your real name and what name do you write under (if they are different)?

My parents named me Giuseppina. My maiden name is Marino and my married name is Leyland. I’m known as Pina Leyland but I write as Giuseppina Marino Leyland.

Where do you hail from?

A tricky question. I was born in Newcastle, Australia, but was raised in Whyalla, a small industrial town in regional South Australia. I left home at 18 to study social work in Adelaide. After two years. I moved back to work in Whyalla and since then have moved around Australia and called many places home. I currently live in Wollongong, which I am enjoying immensely.

What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?

My apartment is a three-minute stroll from the beach.

When and why did you start writing?

I have been writing since my teens, mostly journaling—for my eyes only. Initially I wrote to process feelings and try to understand my world. After my children were born, I moved on to family history and memoir. For the past few years I have been writing fiction in various genres.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you (writing or otherwise)?

Getting published by Grant Hudson of Clarendon House Books—several short stories and one tiny poem, and a whole anthology of my own work entitled Pezzi Pazzi / Crazy Pieces. 😊

Who or what are you reading right now?

Issue No. 10 of the Inner Circle Writers Group Magazine published by Grant Hudson of Clarendon House Books. I can’t keep up with all of his publications.

Do you see writing as a career?

I don’t write to earn money but I’m not averse to the idea. Currently I work as a social worker to pay the bills but a best-selling novel could change all that. I have a few ideas in my head but the reality is that I’m probably not going to be able to give up my day job any time soon.

Is there a time when you think you might stop writing? And if so, why?

No, not unless I become incapacitated in some way

How did you come up with the premise for your story?

‘Sleeping with the devil’ is based on two stories that my mother told me, one about having to cross the river many times to reach to the plot of land that the family owned in the countryside in Southern Italy, and another about a nursing mother who said she woke up one night where she was sleeping in the family hut in the countryside to find a snake at her breast. I strung these two stories and embellished them, adding an erotic touch, thereby creating a completely new story—and a work of fiction.

What (and when) was your first story/book? How was it received?

My first book is ‘Pezzi Pazzi/ Crazy Pieces’, a mixed genre collection of creative writing published in July this year by Clarendon House Books. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. The Sydney launch was held at Berkelouw Books Leichhardt in November and was very well attended. I have been invited to launch the book in Melbourne at a women’s forum in March 2020.

Is there a theme or inspiration to your writing?

My stories are generally infused with an Italian-Australian flavour. I am inspired by the amazing real-life stories that I have heard in the course of my work as a social worker over many years. Mostly I write about what I know but sometimes I like to write purely from my imagination. I also like to embellish the truth—I call this ‘faction’.

Who do you write for? What is your target audience?

I write for anyone who might be interested in reading my stories. So far, my readers have been mainly Australian but I am hoping that my work will ultimately appeal to readers all around the world.

What research do you do for your stories?

Sometimes none and sometimes lots. Many of my stories are based on oral history interviews. Mostly I draw on my own life experience and imagination to write stories. However, I like to get the facts right and the internet is great for this. e.g. For the last story I wrote, I googled: ‘What time was sunset in Sydney on October 15th?’ And magically, an answer appeared. For the mini novella which features in my book ‘Pezzi Pazzi / Crazy Pieces’ I had to do quite a bit of research about the process of taming a wild donkey. The internet provided some information but I also consulted a friend who has hands-on experience in these matters and he was able to provide me with detailed information and proof-read my work, which was invaluable.

What are you working on right now?

Pezzi Pazzi 2. Another anthology of my creative writing, including some already published stories plus new work.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep reading and writing and honing my craft, to become a better writer and branch out into other genres, such as science fiction and magical realism.

How can readers find you online and on social media?

www.clarendonhousebooks.com/giuseppina-marino-leyland

www.facebook.com/pina.leyland

www.instagram.com/pezzi.pazzi

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