Interview with Judith Works, author of the book Coins in the Fountain


  1. Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Travel is an integral component of both my books. My memoir titled Coins in the Fountain in homage to the Trevi Fountain, is about living in Rome for ten years. My husband and I traveled all the time on weekends and vacations. I also traveled for work to Cambodia, Haiti, Ethiopia and Kenya. My novel, City of Illusions, is set in Rome and Milan. And a second novel-in-progress is set in Rome and an island in Puget Sound.

  1.  Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I always dream of returning to Italy because it has been such an important part of my life, but I also dream of visiting Japan, although I have been there several times. Living in the Pacific Northwest, where there is often an Asian influence in garden and home design and where there are many Asian restaurants, calls me to return to learn more. I would never pass up another trip to Tahiti.

  1. Where do you research for your books?

I have personal knowledge to rely on, but I also have an extensive collection of novels, guides and histories of Italy from pre-Roman times to the present. Since I return to Italy regularly I use the opportunity to do “field work.” And sometimes I have been surprised to find out that what I thought was correct was not. As an example, I have a scene in City of Illusions where the husband, Jake, and a woman are in a cloister. I wrote that they were sitting on a bench, but when I visited I found there was no seating. Now the characters are leaning against a wall!

  1. Does your significant other read your stuff?

Not only does he read it and happily critique my daughter does the same. It was an interesting process when writing the memoir because we all had to decide if I was telling the story correctly – it is amazing how everyone remembers an event differently. And I must say it helped even though I know the rule is don’t pay attention to your family because they won’t tell you the truth. Obviously the rule-makers haven’t met my family.

  1. Do you listen to music when you write?

Yes – I listen to classical or soft jazz. When I’m really into the words I don’t hear it, but it is soothing when I pause and realize there is indeed another world away from the keyboard.

  1.  What is your favorite meal?

My husband took a very early retirement when we moved to Rome. But he did not actually retire. He became the household manager, which in Italy can take all day – no multi-tasking. He learned to shop and to cook by asking friends and chefs. The best recipes he made were tiny artichokes cooked with water and white wine served with a dressing of olive oil for a starter, or Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a very rich winter-time dish made with eggs, an Italian-style of bacon called pancetta, parmesan cheese and a good grind of pepper. I love it, and so do our friends.

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