Local author Nina Romano plans workshop and signing
Park City-based author Nina Romano has a couple of entries in her August and September schedule.
The writer, who has penned her “Wayfarer Trilogy” that consists of “The Secret Language of Women,” “Lemon Blossoms” and “In America,” will present a free workshop at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch on Aug. 27.
On Sept. 4, Romano will be at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., for a book signing.
Both events are free and open to the public.
The workshop at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch is about writing scenes and will run from 9 a.m. until noon.
“There are so many elements of scene writing and they work for fiction, biography, memoir and journaling,” Romano told The Park Record. “The idea is to show how scenes translate and gives life to the writing and carries the plot.”
Romano believes that some of the most important things about writing scenes are dialogue and action.
“I always say you have to always put in things that appeal to the five senses, which are sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste,” she said. “Sometimes you try to find that sixth sense.”
Most effective scene writing involves at least two characters, with an element of tension, according to Romano.
“A one-person scene is more difficult to write and usually involves an exposition,” she explained. “I have written them and they are risky in the sense that they might not always work the way you want them.”
That doesn’t mean that one-person scenes aren’t useful.
“In journal writing and memoir, people have a tendency to write about me, me and me,” Romano said. “However, I think they should bring out other characters to add dimension.”
The workshop will start with Romano reading some examples from her books.
“We’ll discuss them and point out elements and then have the people in the class write their own scenes,” she said. “Hopefully, when that is done, there will be some who would like to read their work.”
The rest of the class will then give “kind and good criticism,” she said.
“The workshop is designed to be a safe place where people can read their work and receive positive and constructive criticism,” Romano said.
Romano’s first book, “The Secret Language of Women,” published in 2015 by Turner Publishing, was a finalist in the Foreword Reviews’ 2015 Indie Fab Book of the Year and a Gold Medal winner in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards.
“Turner is a small independent publisher from Nashville, Tennessee, and they don’t have a tremendous budget for marketing, but they put that book in for those two contests,” Romano said.
The recognition meant a lot to Romano.
“It was a thrill because the book was something I worked on for years,” she said. “It was also a humbling experience, because I looked up the second and third place winners and they are excellent writers.”
“The Secret Language of Women” is about a young man from Sicily who joined the Italian Navy and was shipped to China during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, where the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fists led an uprising to stop the Western and Japanese influences in northern China, according to Romano.
“He was on a ship and met a beautiful Eurasian girl who was a Chinese healer,” she said. “Her father was Swiss from Canton who can speak Italian, and that made the romance all the more beautiful.”
The star-crossed lovers’ story took a great deal of research and took Romano back to China, where she lived 23 years ago.
“The odd part was that ‘Lemon Blossoms,’ book two of the trilogy, was actually the first novel I started, when I was back in grad school at Florida International University,” Romano said.
She sent the manuscript for “Lemon Blossoms” to many publishers and received many “beautiful letters of rejection,” she said.
“I found that they thought the writing was beautiful and the story was evocative, but they didn’t know how to market it,” Romano said. “So, I took the book back and told my agent that I needed to write the prequel.”
After nine revisions, “The Secret Language of Women” was published by Turner Publishing.
“I decided to send the book to three independent publishers and I lucked out because they got back to me within a week and said they wanted it,” Romano said.
She contacted John Dufresne, her teacher and mentor she met while getting her Masters of Fine Arts at Florida International University.
“I asked if I should sell the book as one book or sell it as a trilogy and he said trilogy,” Romano said. “I told him I only had books one and two written and he said, ‘So what? You’ll write the third.’”
Turner accepted the two books and gave Romano a one-year contract to write the third, “In America.”
“It’s funny, you have years and years to write that first book and you can give it to friends who can give you more ideas and you can revise and recreate it,” she said. “All of a sudden, I have a one-year contract, so, I figured I could write 50 pages a month for a first draft.”
With the help of readers Jane Brownley, Mona Birch and Rosalie Muskat, Romano rewrote the story again and sent it off in time to meet deadline.
“‘In America’ is set during the Great Depression, and takes place in New York, where I grew up,” Romano said. “It’s a completely different style of writing, because the time is different.
“While ‘Secret Language of Women’ is way back in time, ‘Lemon Blossoms’ takes place in the end of the 1800s and ‘In America’ is a more zippy time,” she said.
The author enjoys teaching these types of workshops because she always learns new things as well.
“I’ll hear ideas that will make me question my own work,” Romano said. “The workshops also make you more aware of different ways to tell the story, how the narrative can be expressed.
“I hope we have a generous open group who will share their ideas,” she said. “I also want people to go home with something in their hands that they can use as a bridge to rewrite or a catalyst for something, like a new book.”
Nina Romano will host a scene-writing workshop at Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch, 1885 Ute Blvd., on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 9 a.m. until noon. She will also do a book signing at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., on Sunday, Sept. 4, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit ninaromano.com.
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