Welcome to 2019! My new year began with good news: LA BELLA LINGUA will be translated and published in Italian by the distinguished house of Treccani. It's a true honor to join its roster of noted authors.
In December another of my books inspired a question on the classic quiz show Jeopardy: "A Life Discovered is the subtitle of a book about this enigmatic woman, the most famous portrait sitter of all times." The answer: MONA LISA, by Dianne Hales!
The countdown to publication of LA PASSIONE: HOW ITALY SEDUCED THE WORLD on April 16 is beginning. Foreign rights have been sold to Croatia—my first book to be translated into this language. You can read my first interview on LA PASSIONE, with sister appassionata Leslie Rosa of La Dolce Vigna.
My favorite holiday present came in the form of an e-mail from a remarkable young woman named Sydney Matrisciano. In 2010, when she and her family lost their home in Mississippi and often went hungry, her mother offered her a special treat—any book she wanted from a local bookstore.
Sydney chose LA BELLA LINGUA, which inspired a deep love of languages. She taught herself Italian, studied French and Latin in high school and became so adept at Russian that she won an international competition in Moscow. Sydney also won a full scholarship to Northwestern. In her admission essay she described the impact LA BELLA LINGUA had on her. "Thank you, Ms. Hales," she wrote to me, "You changed my life irrevocably."
Sydney's generous words warmed my writerly heart. As I prepare to launch LA PASSIONE into the world, I hope that it too will take on a life of its own and inspire passions that light all our spirits.