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Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Spotlight: R. Ann Siracusa


The short dull version.

Who is R. Ann Siracusa? That’s my real name, but you’ll have to guess what the initial R stands for.

I am retired from a 35 year career as an architect and urban planner, which makes me older than dirt. I’ve been married to the same man for more than 45 years. My husband and I live in San Diego, with no pets but we do have a wild rabbit that lives under the workbench in the garage. We also have three grown children and eight grandchildren, all living in normal houses and not under anyone’s workbench.

My debut novel was published in 2008, and since then five additional works have been published by Sapphire Blue Publishing, and two more are being released in August and September. I have been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1985 and recently served two terms as Co-president of the San Diego RWA Chapter.

The more interesting version

In June, oh, so many years ago, with my Bachelor of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley tucked in my suitcase, I toodled off to Rome, Italy, to take a doctorate in Urban Planning at the University of Rome. Instead, the first day there, I sat down next to a handsome Italian at the Fountain of Love in Piazza Esedra…and the rest is history. (My choice of seat was not an accident.) I didn’t speak much Italian, he didn’t speak much English, and a month later I had to look up the word fidanzata in the English-Italian dictionary to find out I was “engaged.”

In October I wrote home to tell my parents I intended to marry an Italian policeman from Sicily. Without warning, my mother showed up in Rome to take me home…and I hadn’t even told my folks yet that he was a widower with a three-year-old daughter. I was just twenty-four at the time. Scary, isn’t it?

I refused to go but promised my mother if I didn’t have a job by the end of the year, I would come home. She left me with a plane ticket back to California. I immediately cashed in the ticket, borrowed a hundred dollars from my ex-boyfriend―Ronnie, if you’re out there somewhere, I want to pay you back with interest ―and Luciano and I got married in a civil ceremony at Christmas time. Now, here’s naïveté for you. I had this plan that if I didn’t get a job, I would go back to California, work for six months, save up some money, and convince my parents I hadn’t turned into a raving lunatic, then go back to Italy and live HEA. He was going to “wait” for me.

Yeah, right! This would never get past an editor. “It’s too unbelieveable. The heroine is TSTL.” Fortunately, a week before I was scheduled to return to the US, I got a job as an architect with an Italian land development firm. Lucky for me, because I was already pregnant.

Being a policeman in the Guardia di Publica Sicurezza (national police), Luciano needed permission to get married, which he hadn’t requested since we planned to marry in the Catholic Church. While we waited for that, I had to take instruction since I wasn’t Catholic. So there I was, six months pregnant (but not showing much) meeting twice a week with a priest at the American Catholic Church. I did fine until we got to the part about birth control. Then we had a major confrontation. When he explained that birth control was a sin because it was a perversion of a natural function, I pointed out that using anti-perspirants also perverts a natural function, but I didn’t see the Church opposing that. (And I read now that the ingredients in anti-perspirants have been shown to be a cause for breast cancer.)

Long story short. I was willing to convert to Catholicism for my husband’s sake. The Catholic Church said, “Thanks, but no thanks. Just sign this promise to bring up your children up in the Catholic Church. We’d rather you remain an Episcopalian.”

How’s that for rejection! Clearly, Fate was preparing me for a career in local government and for writing novels.

P.S. My husband and I are coming up on our 47th anniversary. It hasn’t always been fun, but it’s never been dull. Maybe I wasn’t so stupid after all.


LeslieJane said...

Congrats on your length of marriage. Shows either true love or true lunacy. Hope for another 47 more for you.

Sherry Gloag said...

YOu said it. Your romance could've come straight out of a book. No wonder you took up writing. LOL
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I love sharing your story with my friends! You and Luciano are true romantics! LOL