Interview with Eva Pasco
Q: Why did you decide to start writing?
As you know, I never stopped writing since my childhood escapades on a pink Tom Thumb typewriter where my vivid imagination conjured mysteries and even my own espionage series. My writing merely took a turn for the practical in college and throughout my teaching career. I resumed writing creatively again because I became restless to find my own niche in the Second Act of Life like my protagonist Carla Matteo—art imitating life. I fell back on what came natural to me.
Q: What gave you the idea for your novel Underlying Notes?
A perfume aficionado, fragrance has always been an important thread weaving through my life. One day I stumbled upon an online perfume forum and registered. This membership escalated my curiosity about undiscovered fragrances to a frenzy, expanding my perfume collection discreetly stashed in cupboards and decorative boxes. Meanwhile, I grew tired of reading magazine articles about the exploits of middle aged women who took up roller blading, deep sea diving, or achieved mystical enlightenment by scaling mountains in Tibet—I’m serious! That’s when Carla Matteo stepped into my field of vision wafting insecurities, inhibitions, quirks, anxieties, and fears. I knew I wanted to tell a story about an ordinary woman with foibles, restless to find her own niche, parlaying a fragrance addiction to embark on an introspective journey of self-discovery.
Q: What did you find most difficult about writing?
Since Underlying Notes is my debut novel, the primary difficulty I had at first was accepting my own unconventional methodology. I don’t schedule a set time to write, and there can be a lapse of days before I resume where I left off, though I’m constantly incubating and fermenting ideas and dialog in my head. I would berate myself for working at the speed of a glacier—retreating to a previous paragraph for the purpose of editing and revising, then advancing a paragraph or two for the day. I constantly go back to the very beginning to keep every nuance fresh in my mind and to be sure all details fit together with precision. After completing my novel to satisfaction with very little editing required, I’ve not only accepted, but embraced this excruciating methodology which best suits my writing proclivities.
Q: On the other hand, what was your favorite part about writing?
By far my favorite aspect about writing is when words just spill onto a page with coherence, and the elusive word I’m looking for seems to present itself as a eureka moment. I also feel exhilarated and exonerated at the completion of each chapter because I’ve been able to fabricate a cohesive piece crucial to the story purely from the figment of my imagination.
Q: How did you take the news that your novel was being published?
To say I was “overjoyed” is an understatement. I did an awful lot of jumping up and down that day. When I eventually landed back on earth, reality hit. Publication is just the beginning of an author’s journey.
Q: Are you currently working on another book?
I am seven chapters into my next Chick Lit novel with a protagonist on the cusp of forty. The setting is a fictitious town in northern Rhode Island where local history plays a significant role in moving the plot forward.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your down time?
Not privy to much down time, I do enjoy my morning workout lifting weights and hopping on the elliptical trainer in my office. I spend a considerable part of the day networking and writing ezine articles about Rhode Island. I also contribute weekly nostalgic memoirs and rambles to a Sixties site where I have my own profile page.
Q: What’s one of your favorite authors or books?
Though I’ve adhered to my own cardinal rule not to read books in the same genre I write so as not to unduly influence storyline or style, there is one author in particular who resonates with me—Anne Lamott, whose perfect wording exposes life’s imperfect moments.
Q: What would be your advice to aspiring authors?
I won’t be the first to dispense advice which must sound like a cliché: “Believe in your own merits as a storyteller.” This belief in yourself will enable you to persevere when you encounter setbacks.
Q: What is or do you think would be your favorite place to travel?
I’ve never been fond of flying, so don’t know how far I’d get as the crow flies. My favorite place to be is by the ocean, strolling along the shore at sunrise or sunset. My fantasy place to travel is Morocco simply because its aura captivated me in the movie classic, Casablanca.