I feel I’ve been writing stories ever since I could put a sentence to paper. I was only six years old when I knew writing books was what I wanted to do.
My first published novel, Port of No Return, was inspired by my father’s family being forced to flee Fiume, Italy, at the end of World War II, for the neighbouring portside city, Trieste, where they became displaced people for years.
It was a fascinating part of history that not many people seemed to know about, and I wanted to capture it, to record it for all those Italians who also experienced this mass exodus from Italy’s north-east, as well as the horrors that preceded it, as their region was taken by the Yugoslav Army, under Tito.
The publishing offer from Odyssey Books, fittingly came on my father’s birthday.
About 70 people attended the official launch of Port of No Return, held on 10 February, 2016, at the Museo Italiano in Melbourne, Australia.
The launch attracted many people who could relate to the novel, having either lived through the historic events featured in it, or having parents or grandparents who did. I am grateful to the Museo Italiano for allowing these Italians to come together to share their stories of that time.
The sequel, Wanderers No More, continues to follow the family’s journey, beginning with their arrival in Australia. This work was heartfelt and while there’s some fiction between the lines, it closely aligns with my father’s and his family’s experiences of Australian life in the 1950s through to the 1970s. Sadly, it ends with a true family tragedy, which also needed to be told and remembered.
My father and I have spoken on Italian radio about the novels, I’ve been a guest of QUT’s Author Showcase and both works have found their way into libraries across Australia and overseas.
The historical fiction novels aim to shed a light on the difficulties associated with migration brought on by terrible wars that destroy homes. But mostly they’re about hope and inspiration, showing that with resettlement, dreams can still come true.
These same themes are still inspiring my writings, with my next work, The Hatch, a science fiction novel, in the pipeline to be published.