Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview: Barbara Conelli, Author of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita

Joining us today is Barbara Conelli, author of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita. Barbara is an internationally published author. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world.

As a naturally curious person who loves traveling, meeting new people and discovering their life stories, Barbara founded Chique Show, an entertaining radio show for women and about women. On Chique Show, Barbara shares her Dolce Vita adventures and interviews inspiring women authors and experts who show listeners how to live their sweet life with gusto.

Barb lives between New York and Milan.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Barbara. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Absolutely, I'd love to! My name is Barbara Conelli, I'm an author and Chiquenist on the mission to bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women's lives. I write Chique Books filled with Italian passion. I'm a globetrotter, chocoholic, avid linguist, very eager yet very bad golf player and a passionate Dolce Vita lover.

Where did you grow up?

I come from a multicultural family of nomads. I grew up between Milan and London, but thanks to frequent travels I've always had many homes away from home. Today I'm a New Yorker who travels all around the world and never gets to spend more than a couple of days in New York. Talk about an adventurous life!

What is your fondest childhood memory?

There are many, but should I choose one, I'd say my Dad's bedtime stories. He made up exciting, magical worlds and he was the most creative and entertaining storyteller I've ever met.

When did you begin writing?

I learned to read and write at the age of four, and a year later I wrote a bestselling book that became a big hit in local kindergartens. The overnight success lasted for an exciting twenty-four hours, but since then, I have never separated from my writing endeavors. I guess me and my beagle's wonderful vet are the only people in the world who knew with absolutely certainty what they wanted to become when they grew up already as toddlers.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I write all the time. I carry my journal everywhere because new ideas tend to come to me unexpected. I have the best writing sessions at 3am when you can see me sitting on the bed with a flashlight frantically processing my somnambulant ideas. Why with a flashlight, you may ask? Well, my beagle gets really grumpy when I wake him up.

What is this book about?

Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita, subtitled "Put on your Borsalino and swing those hips, baby", contains charming, poetic, delightful and humorous travel and life stories about extraordinary Milanese women, men who have succumbed to their temptation, and the art of living your own dolce vita no matter where in the world you are. In this book, I describe my personal, intimate encounters with the city I've always been in love with, with places off the beaten track, women who have changed the face of Milan, and its darkest, most passionate secrets.

What inspired you to write it?

The Milanese women and their stories, the Italian art and tradition of living your own Dolce Vita, the smells, flavors and colors of Italy, and my grandma Lily's scrumptious cannelloni.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My mum. She's more excited about my success than I am. She urges me to write, complaining: "I have nothing to read!"

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I'm not a member of any critique group. My mum is my first reader who provides the toughest and most authentic feedback (yes, I do wish she was a little bit more gentle). I also have two close girlfriends who get to read my galleys, and their feedback is always very helpful and valuable, because they represent my target market.

Who is your favorite author?

I love many authors, but my absolutely favorite ones are Simona Sparaco and Marian Keyes. I admire their writing style, their use of the language, and their humor.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

No, I don't have an agent, and I'm currently not looking for one, although I do not exclude the possibility of going traditional one day, just for the fun and the adventure.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I'm a proud indie author and publisher, and the publication journey of this particular book has been smooth, fun, effortless and fun. I had my fair share of publishing bumpy rides in the past, and I'm grateful for each and every one of them. They helped me become a knowledgeable and smart independent publisher.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I wouldn't, because I love challenges! Challenges are your biggest teachers, and I've learned to embrace challenges and obstacles patiently and with expectation. Challenges always lead to amazing breakthroughs!

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita is available online and in bookstores. I love and recommend especially Amazon because it offers also the Kindle edition of my book.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, my website is, and my blog is hosted right on my website. I'd like to invite you to check out my Chique site and sign up for my free 5-day Myth-Shattering E-Course. It's absolutely hilarious and it will help you uncover and shatter five toxic myths that ruin your mood, your life and your appetite - in a very Italian way.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes, I have a fantastic Chique Book Trailer that you can watch right on my website: You can also find it on YouTube:

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

As a passionate indie author and publisher, I'm a big fan of guerilla marketing, and I love thinking of new ways to promote myself and my book with little or no expense. I'd say it works, because Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita has been an Amazon bestseller in two categories for quite a while! The biggest and best investment has been this virtual book tour with It's so much fun, and Dorothy is a real book tour wizard!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write. Writers write. Aspiring authors don't. Do what you love, love what you do. Listen to your heart, follow your passion, pursue your dreams. Never ever give up!

What is up next for you?

I'm working on a new Chique Book that's going to be published in October. I'm very excited about it, I'm totally submerged in the process, and I love the writing flow. Just in case you didn't know, Italians don't do writer's block!

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you very much for interviewing me, I had a blast! And remember, if life gives you twists and turns, Chique Yourself Up in Italy!


Ellen said...

What a wonderful interview. Thanks for sharing! I totally agree with following your passion. I think the happiest people are those who love what the do.

thewriterslife said...

Wonderful interview, girls! Thank you, Cheryl, for hosting her today!

V.R. Leavitt said...

Excellent interview! These books sound like a breath of fresh air. Perfect for summer. :-)

April said...

What an excellent interview! I truly feel as though I have gotten to know Barbara more. I love that her favorite memory is her Dad and the bedtime stories!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. I appreciate it.

Turning the Clock Back said...

thanks for such an insightful look into this author! These books look like fun reads!

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, thank you so much for this lovely interview, I really enjoyed it!

And thank you, everyone, for stopping by. I appreciate your feedback, and I'm glad you like my book. Have a Chique summer!

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, thank you very much for this lovely interview, I really enjoyed it!

And thank you, everyone, for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your feedback and I'm glad you like my book. Have a Chique summer! :)