Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised very much in New York, on Manhattan Island. Both my parents were born-and-bred New Yorkers, and I remember as a child I thought crossing the George Washington Bridge meant we were entering a foreign country.
What was it that first got you into writing and when did you start writing?
I wrote my first masterpiece at seven! A story about a red ghost that was published in a school paper. You see, I still remember that. I was fascinated by books even before I could read – by that magic of being able to tell a story that seems more real than the ‘real world’, and by that cryptic power of words to bring things to life.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
There are so many, but I’d have to name Marcel Proust for his dedication to a single vision, Thomas Bernhard for his rage, Scott Fitzgerald for his beautiful architecture, and John Ruskin for a million reasons. I’ve also been influenced by the folk tradition, fairy tales from many different cultures. Recently the Japanese author Kawabata has been a big help to me.
What kind of things do you write?
I write novels with a strong modernist sensibility, they’re best understood as attempts to create a story out of poetic fragments. I also write plays with a Brechtian flavour (sans the politics!), and poetry in a variety of genres.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m at work on a novel that weaves together the lives of three women, all members of the same family. We begin with the present, and the awful legacy of an early abortion, and trace this thread of sorrow back through the girl’s own mother, who was a ‘Kindertransport’ from Germany just before the Second World War, and then the story expands to include the older sister, who went missing during the air raids on Berlin.
What is your writing day like?
Well, it includes a lot of staring out the window. When I can’t think of anything I’ll try doing something else for a while, like studying another language. Right now it’s Arabic. I tend to write in bursts that leave me a bit ravaged.
What’s the most exciting thing about writing for you?
I’d say it’s that rare moment when you feel you’ve got something ‘just right’, that you’ve managed to pin to the page with your little words a bit of truth and beauty that just wasn’t there before.
What’s the most frustrating thing about writing for you?
The difficulty in finding an audience. Although I’ve had two novels published, they weren’t suitable for a mass public, and since then it’s been a struggle. I’m concentrating on web-publishing now, which gives me a lot more freedom.
What’s the best piece of feedback that you’ve had from your audience?
Once a young man told me he’d been reading ‘Music for Glass Orchestra’ while visiting Paris, and it made him see the city in a whole new way, as if he were living out his experiences through the eyes of my heroine. That was awfully nice.
Do you write for a particular audience, or is your first priority to satisfy your own creativity?
I write for anybody who happens to love what I love, I guess. I believe deeply that if you write what you love, somebody else might love it too. I’m not interested in writing anything that doesn’t compel my love.
Do you have a homepage? Do you have any short stories or poems published online? (If so, please provide the URLs
I have a homepage at http://graceandreacchi.com.
It’s a door opening on to short stories, poems, even whole novels. I invite everyone to have a look.