Sunday, 5 May 2013

Tea and Biscuits with Author Michele Riccio

It is so wonderful having such lovely visitors coming to the Citadel right now, and Michele Riccio is no exception. We particularly like the title and cover of her book I Do-Over: Confession of a Recalcitrant Bridesmaid , which made my butler Stanislav laugh so hard that he dropped Michele's mojito, and nearly fell off the terrace into the Chasm of Despair far below. If it was not for Michele's quick reactions in grabbing him by the feet, we would have lost him for sure!

Michele is also the most scientific guest we have had so far, and her insights into chaos technology is proving something of a revelation with the lab gnomes. I think Bindl might even be in love! I am just not sure about Kevlar lab wear. It will make the little creatures harder to flog - surely?

Anyway, I think she may have got them to start up the new chaos device. I had better go and see what is happening. The plaster is starting to fall off the walls...

We are extremely pleased you have journeyed to us in the Karkonose. Can you tell us something about the place where you usually dwell and your background?

 Background... like, the color of the wall behind me? Beige. The apartment came pre-painted.

OK, fine. I was born just outside of Boston, MA (USA). Did 12 years in Catholic school. Survived it with most of my humor and intact (though it was mangled and twisted a bit). Then attended a tiny college in Bar Harbor Maine where I learned taxidermy and critical thinking, among other things.

 After college I came back to Boston, got a job, and spend my weekdays doing office-work. Weekends I can be found typing frantically at my laptop writing or editing my current novel (occasionally researching, checking emails, Facebook, or looking up hints for completing Dragon Age 2 as a rogue).


Are you enjoying your visit to the Citadel?

 Immensely. I've always loved touring historic sites such as the Citadel. I have a new-found appreciation for Sherpas after mountain trekking. And the tur... garden was divine. However, I must say the lab technicians made my stay truly memorable. Techs are my kind of people, and I am so happy to have been allowed a chance to hang out, discussing the merits of Kevlar lab coats and designer goggles.

 I do wish someone had mentioned the prohibition against flash photography in the chaos chamber. However, I'm sure my insurance will cover the damages...
ML: Phew, I am so glad you did not say THAT word. Do not worry about the damage. I will have the gnome that allowed you to do it put in the stocks immediately.


 Tell us what is happening to you at the moment as a writer.

 I've recently self-published my first novel (I Do-Over: Confession of a Recalcitrant Bridesmaid – about a woman forced to partake in her sister's 'do over' wedding) and am preparing for a mid-summer release of my second novel, published by GMTA, Sex Lives and Dental Chairs.

Sex Lives focuses on Jane, a woman hiding from her past in a small Maine town. Unfortunately for Jane, her past finds her.

 I've been accused of torturing my protagonists. Luckily there is no society for the prevention of cruelty to imaginary people. Poor Jane had to cope with a sex-addict neighbor who goes missing. A man in a ski mask who seems to be stalking her apartment. And a root canal. All while juggling a job she faked her resume to qualify for, a boss who may not be as trustworthy as Jane first thought, and unrequited love.

 I think it falls into the romantic-comic genre. Or maybe the comic-romance genre. I never could keep them straight.

Do you have anything exciting lined up for the future?

 I'm preparing a final edit of a fantasy novel Aurora – a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, from Beauty's point of view – publishing date to be determined. And I'm working on a more mainstream, less comic, novel which is about mid-way through the process of determining a plot.

We employ lots of gnomes here at the citadel. They are quite rambunctious and troublesome at times, and often refuse to work. Do you have any tips on looking after them?

 As a mad scientist, I rely on minions to do my bidding. I've found ice hockey works wonders with them. After starting an all minion league (which required the forging of contracts amongst other mad scientists for the participation of their minions) production rates increased by 48% and random acts of workplace violence dropped 3%. Dental bills have increased, as many of the minions now require partial dentures, but overall I am quite happy with the program. And, I can set you up with a skate manufacturer specializing in hard to fit sizes.

 ML: I will speak to the gnome keepers about this. The little creatures have so much pent up energy and anger that this might just be a release for them. The Citadel dentist will need re-training somewhat, however.

I have a long running feud with Vlad Dracula, who lives over in Transylvania. He thinks I stole his wife and will not let it lie. Do you any recommendations on how I should deal with the grumpy old curmudgeon?

 The thing Achilles heel of vampires is their absurdly easy to research weaknesses. Send a 'Sunshine Bouquet' (guaranteed to give him a bad skin rash – at the very least). Invite him out for an Italian dinner (sure to disagree with him – I can recommend several good restaurants). Or, bury the axe... with a personalized stake through the heart.

 I've heard an industrial wind machine will make short work of a vampire-turned-mist. And hawks can be trained to snatch up tasty bat snacks.

ML: You could be right. I usually send 'bad' weather over to him. I have not thought about sunshine. It has been staring me in the face all these centuries!

How can people find you on this Internet thing-a-me-jig? Do you have a web address or other ways that lovely book fans can read more about you?

 My books are/will be available on

And I have a budding web site:

which isn't nearly as fancy as the Citadel, but is a work in progress (I hope to add a flying buttress soon).

ML: Any guest who refers to architecture is a splendid guest indeed.


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