So exciting! I was interviewed by a reporter for the online magazine AllAboutArmonk.com. Here it is!
May 25, 2012
The North Castle Public Library recently began offering Italian classes taught by Mara di Sandro De Matteo. As explained in the brochure, “Each class combines lively conversation and grammatical instruction, creating interactive lessons on the richness of Italian culture, past and present, through real-life anecdotes, literature, personal memoirs, photography and even films.” De Matteo, who currently lives in Westchester County, used to live on the Bay of Naples.
Italian classes are held at the library on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I had a chance to ask signora De Matteo about her rich culture and background before class started.
1. Why did you move to America?
Well, it’s a very long story, but my decision was caused by love. I met an American man when I was on vacation in America and I married him very quickly, and then moved here.
2. Since you moved here for love, have you ever doubted your decision?
I am very happy to be living in America. I am glad that I came here, and as much as I love Italy, I get a chance to visit my entire family every year. I am the only one from my family who lives in America. I love living in New York. Westchester is a beautiful place, so I’m happy.
3. Were you living in Italy when you met your husband?
Yes, I was going to college in Italy at the time, and I was here visiting and decided to stay. Well, I went back for a little while, but then I came back here.
4. How does America remind you of Italy?
What reminds me of Italy is the place I live. I live in the Hudson Valley. I am in love with the Hudson River; it is stunningly beautiful and it is a great inspiration for my novels. The Hudson River reminds me of the Bay of Naples where I grew up. I used to go out onto the balcony and I could see the entire Bay of Naples, from the city of Naples to Capri, east of Sorrento. It was beautiful. It was a totally different panorama, but the beauty reminds me of the Hudson River.
5. Which lifestyle do you like better?
I call myself a citizen of two countries because I love both of them. They are different, not so different, but I grew up in the southern region of Italy in Naples and it was a little more relaxed. It is not as relaxed now as it used to be when I lived there. Life in America is wonderful too, so I really can’t choose. I would like to choose half and half: that would be ideal.
6. When did you decide to first start writing novels and memoirs?
I decided to start writing about 15 years ago. Suddenly, memories started coming back to me from my childhood, and I didn’t realize at the time how wonderful my childhood really was. Now that I am not a child anymore, I can reflect on my life and cherish those memories. It is also a “thank you” to my parents for doing everything for me. They really gave me a great childhood experience.
7. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels and writing?
All around me. Life. There are so many stories everywhere and I could not make up the stories that I hear in real life. Life is fascinating and full of interesting people and characters.
8. Is there anything that you want the community to know about your background and interests?
I am very passionate about what I do. Teaching Italian is what I do and I believe very strongly in my culture. I think it is a wonderful, ancient and inspiring culture and I want everyone to know about it. When I came to America I barely knew any English, and I am very passionate about the Italian language. I want to spread the Italian language all around me. My father was also a poet so I think that is where I got my desire and passion for writing. I write about Westchester and everything that takes place around me. I add the names of different streets and stores, even a doctor’s office. I always want my writing to be very real.
To learn more about the program and the North Castle Public Library click here http://allaboutarmonk.com/