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ABOUT AUTHOR: Liz Galvano has been writing since she was a little girl. Her stories combine old style adventure and romance with a dash of humor. She loves family, food, animals, and all things Italian. Liz lives with her husband Jeff, two rambunctious dogs, two entitled cats, and a horse who thinks she's a princess.

When did you first hear of the event that happened in Messina, Italy? What made you want to write about it?

Liz: I love, love history! I first read about the earthquake at Messina while digging through Italian history. I was so surprised. Why hadn’t I heard of it? This was the largest natural disaster of the 20th century, over 100 thousand people perished and yet no one knew about it. It was as if we’d forgotten about it. It was international news at the time, which in itself was amazing. The earthquake at Messina was a catalyst for so much, including Mercy Ships, modern triage and international travel of the American Red Cross. This was their first international undertaking. Many, many famous people at the time came to visit the ruins including Teddy Roosevelt and author Maude Howe, who penned a book on the subject. The people of this era were en-large, Christians and according to Maude Howe, acted on their faith to dig Messina out from tons of rubble. So many willingly laid their lives down in the process. This story needed to be brought forward again. I could talk all day about it! 

Nora: This was a pretty horrific situation. Your story really made me aware of all that first responders do to help people - often times putting their own lives in danger. They are unsung heroes.This story is placed in the 1800's. You brought another angle to this disaster in that it was unthinkable for a woman to be on the front line during this time because of all that she would be exposed to. Dr. James was a brave pioneer (I know she was fictional but many women paved the way for others to follow in their footsteps. Grin!)

What do you hope readers take away from Messina?

Liz: Several things. The first comes from the scripture reference at the beginning of the book; Romans 8:28 “And we know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” No matter how horrible the circumstance, God will bring good out of it if you let him.

Next; exactly what it means to be a hero and Christian. A few years back a good many dear friends were reading a number over very yucky books. The main characters were very selfish and self-centered and yet the author portrayed them as heroes. Everyone seemed to be hooked; following as though their lived depended on it. So I started praying…and this thought occurred to me …What if God had a set of heroes? You know, a family of heroes, from an old family? Who would they be? How would the live? How would they die? They would be human, for sure with failures and misgivings. But what if?? What if there were one family who since the days of the Emperor Diocletian, served God in un-broken succession? What would God do with them? 
That’s how the Castello family came to be. They are heroes who live and die in absolute service to Christ. In Messina the reader is introduce to this family through the eyes of an American Doctor, Lucy James.  Lucy is ready to serve God no matter the circumstance. So is Giovanni, even though he is a prodigal and has yet to acknowledge his calling. Hopefully through the example of this family of people, we can, as is stated in the traditional marriage proposal of the House of Castello: ‘Willingly follow the footsteps of Christ even if it means certain death.” 

Nora: Your characters were believable and totally dedicated to do what God called them to do. They were also dedicated to helping others. They were not preachy but walked out their faith in a real situation.

What was your favorite scene in Messina?  Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?

There are many scenes that stand out. The dinner scenes, for example because they reflect how I was brought up. The scenes where Lucy proves herself or when Father Dominic soundly puts Giovanni in his place…but by far my favorite scene is the proposal…so very romantic…I’ll not say much about it because if you haven’t read it, you should.

Nora: I liked those scenes too!

The hardest scene to write, by far were the scenes where Lucy’s father, Henry acts like a bigot. I love my father to the moon and back, so to write about a dad who is less than noble was very hard.
Jessica Dotta

Can you tell me of two “Wow” moments you’ve had since your debut novel was published? What made it a wow for you?

Whenever a complete stranger tells me that they love my book. I’ll probably never get used to that. You liked Messina and that was definitely a wow moment! I guess I keep expecting someone to say, “That’s awful.” But so far, so good. And when someone of your caliber gives you the thumbs up…It makes me think that I should keep writing. However, most of the “wow’s” came from my husband and friends who have been so supportive. Especially when Author Jessica Dotta told me that I could write. I’ll always be grateful for her help along the way.

Nora: I'm a Jessica Dotta fan. I met her and Loved her books. She is an encourager!

What keeps you sane in the middle of craziness? Gives you hope in the middle of stress and Life’s storms? I’ve been through a lot. But hasn’t everyone?



When life gets really insane, I tend to fall back on music and quiet moments with Jesus. Lucy’s prayer journal and Bible in her lap, well, that’s me. I’ve also learned to act positively when I want to give up. For instance, instead of spending all day moping on the couch, I’ll go play with the dogs or ride my horse, or just get outside in general. Physical activity really clears my head. My best inspirations have come at the beach or in the woods on a trail ride. For creative inspiration, I look to Lewis, Tolkien and Disney.  

Liz and Buzz

Nora: Thanks for all the pictures Liz. Your animals are precious.

What Events did you ADD to your story from your research? Which ones did you create to make the story line flow?

Liz: The events at Messina as a whole were left un-touched. Of course Lucy and Giovanni and all their friends are fictitious. Many of the stories incorporated into this tale were taken directly from actual people who lived and some who died; the man who lost his dog, but saved his family, for example. Or the poor betrothed woman who found her fiancé, but only his head. On the positive side, the American village and all the volunteers who actually came. I did have to stretch just a few things to move the story along. First, tremors from the earthquake we only felt as far north as Naples not Rome. But given the fact that the Castello’s also have a villa in Rome I let them have a tremor too. Second, I changed the actual size of the hospital tent. They we’re in reality a lot smaller. Third the dependability of the Italian rail road at the time. Though the subject is brought up in the next installment, Anna Lucia, I needed the train to be on time because Lucy was so sick. 

Nora: This was an unbelievable event to read about.

What are you passionate about that might surprise readers?

Liz: Umm…Young people…by that I mean anyone 30 or younger….esp gen x’rs. This generation has forgotten who God is. They seem to have no purpose except to live “in the moment.” If I could do any one thing it would be to pull these amazing youngsters who have so much to give, out of their cell phones and into a life of loving God and serving others. Only in these things is a person fulfilled. Only in these things will this generation find the peace they’re lacking.

You mention in your bio that you love everything Italian. I was raised in an Italian home too. I’m curious to know what your favorite Italian food is to eat? To make? Something you ate as a child you still eat today. What is your favorite thing about being an Italian?
Liz's Cannoli
Liz: My favorite food is whatever I’m making at the moment! LOL. I love family and eating together is such a part of our culture. The dinner scenes in Messina are a direct reflection of the family table that I grew up at. Great food made by loving hands plus the laughter and the horsing around all hidden behind a façade of good manners. The best part is the applause when you set a platter of whatever you’ve made on the table.

Nora: Fun! My favorite is Eggplant Parmesan! 

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?

Liz: Cook and caretaker. I tend to adopt everyone. As a matter of fact, Jeff says if it stinks and needs a bath you’ll find it at our house. (neighborhood kids included)  At work it truly bothers me if someone goes without lunch.

Nora: Sounds like you'd be good at it.

A friend of yours has a time machine and they will let you use if for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

Liz: Outside of spending time with Jesus, I would flash back to the late 1950s and spend time with my dad. I’m a daddy’s girl all the way. I would love to see him in his prime. I miss him terribly. 

Nora: That sounds like a precious time.

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people? Do tell!  
Liz Golf Pro

Liz: I’ll give you three! I was a golf professional for many years and taught over 2000 students. I grew up in a golfing family.. My father was a professional and groomed all six of us kids to follow in his footsteps. My husband and I were Youth Ministers for a very long time. Gimme a van full of kids any day!  The third job was a disc jocky…back when there were actual disc’s, on Christian Radio in the 1980s. Fun, fun, fun…”This is WHME, South Bend…You’re positive alternative!” 

Nora: Wow, you've had some interesting jobs! Fun!

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?

Liz: I love life! So I love a LOT of sounds, babies laughing, my horse nickering when I get home, a dogs happy bark and my husband’s laugh…but I think my favorite is the wind blowing through the trees on a warm spring day. Nature totally does it for me. You can almost hear the voice of God. 

Nora: Fun! So many precious and fun sounds!

Liz and Jeff
Liz: Thank you Nora for this opportunity and for introducing me to this amazing crowd of believers. Come to my face book page. Messina: book 1 The Casa Bella Chronicles, let’s be friends and take this journey together. There will be four more books to come and many more opportunities for romance! Many more opportunities to: do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God. 

Nora: It’s a pleasure to meet you Liz. I appreciate you stopping by and helping us get to know you and debut novel. I learned so much from reading your story. I’m excited about the giveaway opportunity you’re offering. I can’t wait to read the answers to your fun questions you've come up with. 


For an EXTRA BONUS entry Go to Book Fun Magazine and tell me the page number and the name of an article that has caught your eye in the magazine the MARCH ISSUE  

ANSWER ONE of the following questions. 

1.  Italians love their coffee. What's your go to coffee drink?
2. I love to read sitting on the couch, in my pajamas with the cat on my lap. What's your favorite place to read?
3.  What's your favorite pasta shape?

4. BONUS ENTRY – Go To  flip through the magazine and tell me the page number and name of article that catches your eye!

Nora :o)

CONGRATS TO SUSAN P. YOUR NAME WAS DRAWN! THANKS to everyone who commented. You all made the author feel welcome!


I'll keep you posted about the Next Drawing! Heading your way soon!

Nora :o)
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