Author Tessa Floreano, who works as a content strategist on large corporate websites, lives on Ames Lake near the farming community of Carnation, WA. She has been writing since 2009 and seriously since 2014. Her first book was published with The Wild Rose Press in 2022. Her 1920s romantic mystery, “Slain over Spumoni,” won First Place in the Novella category at the Chanticleer Conference 2022. Tessa is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest, Sisters In Crime – Puget Sound Chapter, Mystery Writers of America-Seattle Chapter, Historical Novel Society, and the Emerald City Romance Writers. When Tessa isn’t writing, she tends to her fountain pen collection or her garden, researches her stories, practices Friulian (her mother tongue), and rides Vixen, her motorcycle.
Which genres do you cover?
Tessa Floreano: Historical fiction, with a heaping tablespoon of mystery and a dash of romance.
Which is the latest book you had published, and what is about?
Tessa Floreano: “Italians in the Pacific Northwest” is my first nonfiction book (Arcadia Publishing) and tells the stories of pioneering Italians – the trials, the triumphs, and everything in between – as they settled in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State from 1880 to 1950.
At which book events can readers find you?
Tessa Floreano: Check out the events page on my website for my upcoming tour dates: https://www.tessafloreano.com/events. My 2024 dates are in progress, but will include the Genealogy Society of Seattle, Italian Club of Seattle, and Portland State University.
Which book event connecting you with readers is your favorite and why?
Tessa Floreano: I really think my book launches at the Casa Italiana in Burien this past September and at the Portland English Language Academy in Portland this past October were my favorite events on my upcoming book tour. Both launch events included old and new friends that I made in 2022 and 2023 while researching my nonfiction book about Pacific Northwest Italian Americans. A dual Italian-Canadian, I immigrated to the United States 25 years ago, and this book is a labor of love to the country and to the Italian-Americans I met who welcomed me here. I am excited about this book, as this is the first of its kind, and I’ve received such positive encouragement from so many people that this book was long overdue. I hope it spurs other authors to write more untold Italian-American stories of the Pacific Northwest. I’m continuing some of the work that didn’t make it into the book on my Substack, and I’m including some stories about my Italian-Canadian brethren from British Columbia, too: https://tessafloreanowritings.substack.com.
Do you have any specific messages to your readers and, if so, which are they?
Tessa Floreano: I am indebted to so many people and organizations who opened their hearts and photo albums to share their stories with me. They trusted me, a stranger, to craft a mostly pictorial narrative of the ordinary – and some extraordinary – Italians who helped make the Pacific Northwest and this nation great. I hope I did them and their families justice. I think readers of my historical fiction will be interested in learning more about the real stories of Pacific Northwest Italians and Italian-Americans that I researched in my nonfiction book. I will be drawing from those stories and sprinkling some of those people throughout my historical fiction as well. I’ve found that many people who are interested in Italian-American fiction want to read the history about real-life immigrants, and vice versa.
Which writer(s) keep(s) inspiring you and why?
Tessa Floreano: There are many Italian and Italian-American authors who I enjoy reading, and I will be covering those stories in upcoming editions of my newsletter, which you can sign up for on my website: NEWSLETTER | Tessa Floreano. Outside of that, Marlena De Blasi, a former chef and restaurant owner, is a longtime favorite. She writes magical words and paints evocative visages about her beloved adopted country of Italy, often including recipes. Her prose is elegant and languid. It is so easy for me to immerse myself in her worlds. The same is true for Deborah Harkness. She writes multi-layered, magical stories and complex characters with a lot of heart. And finally, Agatha Christie. I marvel how she drops clues in her mysteries that are easy to see after the big reveal but harder to spot beforehand. I like how she keeps me guessing, often to the end, and I appreciate how sparingly she writes, too.
Do you have specific writing habits?
Tessa Floreano: I have talismans that I regularly use and some I occasionally use. Mostly, I follow the same rituals each time I sit down for a long writing session such as light a candle, have handy a hot or cold beverage (depending on the season), top up my chocolate stash, and ensure I won’t be interrupted.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished the first draft of a companion book, a companion, to “Slain over Spumoni,” that takes place in 1899 in an Italian castle at Christmastime and is due to my editor by January. And, I have edited the first book in a historical mystery series set during the interwar period in Oregon that I hope to find a publisher for next year.
Which book are you currently reading simply for entertainment?
Tessa Floreano: A holiday murder mystery, “Murder for Christmas”, by Francis Duncan and a wonderful cookbook, “Venezia Food & Dreams” by Tessa Kiros.
What advice would you give any aspiring author?
Tessa Floreano: A great quote by Neil Blumenthal, the co-founder of the optical company, Warby Parker, has basically been my mantra for well over a decade. It is: “Creativity flows when curiosity is stoked.” Writers are often told to write what they know or are passionate about, and I wouldn’t disagree. However, I am happiest when I follow my curiosity.
You can find Tessa Floreano’s books at https://www.amazon.com/stores/Tessa-Floreano/author/B0B1S37GLV. “Italians in the Pacific Northwest” is also at Brick & Mortar Books (Redmond), Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park), Elliott Bay Books (Seattle), Powells (Portland), Bookshop.org, and Barnes & Noble.