Thursday, 1 March 2012

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me - Guest Post by Terri Giuliano

I married my high school sweetheart and we have four adult daughters.

I met Dave at a party in his college dormitory. I played hooky from my weekend job in the yarn department of a local department store, something I’d never done until that night. I didn’t decide to go until the very last minute. My girlfriends went to the parties every weekend. I had no goal. I guess I just wanted to see what they were all about.

Dave’s appearance at the party was as impromptu as mine. He and his brother planned to ski the next day; figuring they’d leave first thing the next morning, he’d gone to bed early. Having trouble falling asleep, he decided to go downstairs for a few minutes, grab a beer, and head back to bed. When he came down, I happened to be looking for a friend. I asked him if he’d seen her, and we got to talking. I asked my girls about him, of course, got the nod—he was okay. Next thing I knew, we were in the Rathskeller, talking, enjoying a late-night snack, and then climbing up the tower.

(Dave and me standing in front of the Thai Lake in China)

He had gorgeous eyes and an amazing smile. And he was fun. He was easy to talk to and we had great times together—swimming, hiking, mountain climbing. We’ve been married for 36 years and have four adult daughters. And he’s still the love of my life. Like all couples, we’ve had our challenges; still, after all these years, we enjoy each other’s company – we miss each other when we’re apart - we have fun, and we love being together.

 (Our daughters, Jennifer (far right), Natalie (expecting), Kimberly (to Natalie's left), Elizabeth (behind Kimberly), and our nieces Julianne (to Kimmie's left) and Holly (far left))

I find hope and inspiration in stories about overcoming prejudice and challenges.

(That's me when I was two or three)

I grew up in the sixties and seventies, while women were fighting for equal rights. As a young girl in a patriarchal Italian family, I felt those struggles intensely. The prejudices faced by the family in the play A Raisin in the Sun resonated with me. I felt the same way, later, when I read Native Son and Malcolm X. My novel-in-progress, Nowhere to Run, deals with racism. While my struggles pale in comparison to those faced by many African Americans, I feel that prejudices and challenges are part of the human story; in stories about overcoming them, I find hope and inspiration.

I love fairytales.

(When our daughters were little, we made a big deal of dressing up for Easter. This is Kimmie in the foreground (right), Elizabeth (behind her), Jennifer in the center, and Natalie on the far left)

As a young girl, I loved fairytales.  I still do. The stories spring to life in your imagination and transport you to faraway places. They also sneak up on you. You think they’re about the prince and the princess or the children. They are, of course, but they’re also about life. They teach important lessons – what it means to be honest and giving, to be a good person. I still love stories with a vision – stories that provide insight or invite philosophical questions.

I’m passionate about writing.

I’m passionate about writing. I enjoy every aspect of the process, from the initial burst of inspiration through the painstaking, often frustrating, months or years of revision. But it’s that aha moment that keeps me writing – that moment when the work suddenly comes together, you understand what you’re writing about, you see the relationships among the various parts – chapters and scenes – and the connections make sense. You feel as though you’ve been through a storm; suddenly, the fog lifts and, for the first time in a long time, the sun comes out.

(This is a picture of Stowe, VT, where we're currently living. The photo shows Mt. Mansfield.)

Last year, my husband and I lived in California part time. In southern CA, every day is sunny and gorgeous and warm. I always joke that in New England we have three perfect days a year. But those days, because they’re so rare, are magnificent. You feel optimistic, alive, bursting with energy. Those aha moments make me feel the same way. I can’t imagine not writing. Writing transports me. I lose myself in the process.

I love to travel. A few years ago, we visited the Great Wall, a dream since I was a child.

(Shot while climbing)

Seeing – and climbing – the Great Wall was an inexperience I’d dreamed of for many years. Often the anticipation of a place or event is greater than the actuality. Not true of the Wall. Built by the First Emperor of China, 220 – 206 BC, the wall, including trenches and other barriers, is estimated to be 5500 miles long. Seeing the immensity of that Wall – from the towers, you can see for miles and miles - you can’t help but be awed by the breath-taking power of humankind.

(The summer before last, Dave and I spent a week in the Lakes district in England. This picture was taken while we walking to a small town called Troutbeck.)

I love sports and I’m an avid Red Sox fan.

I love the sight, sounds and smells of Fenway Park. Opened in 1912, Fenway is the oldest major league ballpark still in use. After John Henry and Co. bought the team they modernized, leaving the park structurally intact. We still have the Green Monster, the scoreboard wall in left field. A piece of heaven - a warm sunny day in the park, the sights – favorite players in red and white, the pennants and retired numbers on the walls, the crowd doing the wave; the sounds – the crack of the bat, the cheering (or leering) fans; and the smell of Fenway franks.

I love cucumber drinks.

White wine or champagne used to be my cocktail of choice. Last year, in California, I became addicted to cucumber drinks. The first time a bartender offered a cucumber martini – in Katsuya, a terrific sushi restaurant in West Hollywood, I turned up my nose. He kept saying how great it was, I’d love it, blah, blah, blah – the kicker, he offered a guarantee. If I didn’t like it, it was on the house. How could I say no? WOW! Lightly sweet and fresh, totally different from what I’d imagined. The cucumber jalapeƱo margarita, at Sol Cucina, in Newport Beach, is also amazing!

Dave helped me come up with the title for my novel, In Leah’s Wake.

I tested a lot of titles, but none seemed quite right. One night, Dave and I were talking and we starting batting titles around. He came up with In Leah’s Wake. I liked it because the book really is about the people – the family, the community, all the people left in Leah’s Wake when Leah rebels. While the churning suggests angst, for me it also brings to mind the image of swirling snow, which I use at the end of the novel. Connecting that image with the sound of Justine’s voice, I hope, conveys a sense of connection and hope. Justine’s voice rings through the church; the sound waves reach outward, connecting the people and the community, and ultimately tie back to the family.

(We saw this restaurant in a mall in Shanghai. Zoe is the name of my female protagonist (the mom), so I had to take this picture.)

I always read the end of the book first.

Until I started reading on a Kindle, I always read the end of books first. I’m curious and, I have to admit, a bit impatient. Although I love to read for language, craft, character development, I want to know the outcome, so I tend to read too quickly. Once I know what’s going to happen, my curiosity sated, I can slow down and savor the writing. Now, I usually read on a Kindle application, as opposed to my actual Kindle, and I haven’t figure out how to manipulate the pages. So I’m stuck reading in order.

Fun Fact: My family, particularly the women on my father’s side, has longevity.

The photo of my dad’s two sisters was taken last year. They’re eighty and eight-five years old. In the photo, they’re testing my brother-in-law’s new Harley. I love this photo because you really see the life in their faces.  This past year, my Aunt Jo, had an appendectomy. Her appendix ruptured, causing a series of other health issues. For months, she was in and out of the hospital. Several times, we thought we would lose her, but she kept fighting her way back. Now, although she has problems with her knees and back, she’s in good health. Her perseverance and determination amaze me. I hope when I’m 85, I’m half as tough and that I’ve inherited a tenth of her drive.

(Me with my parents, Jerry and Audrey Giuliano. When he was a teenager, my dad was a model. Although he's older here, you still see that handsome young guy.)


Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the novel In Leah’s Wake. Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her free time, she enjoys walking, traveling, and listening to music. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook. In an alternate reality, she might be an international food writer. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel.

Author Online:  Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook


  1. I really enjoyed this novel. It is a powerful drama about a family in crisis. The title character, Leah, is a very believable teenager. Her choices, reactions, and thoughts are convincing, and show that Terri Long's writing is clearly grounded in a real understanding of life as a teenager (so many adults seem to forget...). I wouldn't say she is sympathetic exactly... some of the things she says and does, though unsurprising coming from a teenager, are so stupid I want to smack her. Of course, this is coming from one of those teenagers who never rebelled (I was that one who never drank, smoked, got into fights, went to bad parties, or got anything less than As and Bs).

    1. Hi, I am glad you enjoyed..the author would love to hear such sweet comments about her book..


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