Follow me on fb

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Check out today's character interview with Francesca Sittoni of the novel Willow Vale

Today's interview is with the main character FRANCESCA SITTONI of Author Alethea Williams novel WILLOW VALE- 

How do you feel being the main character of a book? I would not call myself shy, but I am a simple country woman. So it is surprising and a little disconcerting to find my story in a book and a representation of what readers have come to think is my face on the cover, and on various places on the Internet for everyone to see. In my time period, following the First World War, people might have one or at most a few pictures taken of themselves.  Now people’s faces show up everywhere.  

Who is the most interesting side character you’ve met and why? If I said anyone other than my daughter Elena was the most interesting I would never hear the end of it.  Elena is a good girl, but has a testa dura as they used to say in Val di Non where she was born.  It translates literally as “hard headed,” but really indicates a forceful personality.  Elena is only four years old, but in the book her character serves to explain much of what is foreign and inexplicable about America to me when I am lost and confused by this new country.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Oh, early bird, definitely.  I came from a farm background in the Tyrol area between Austria and Italy.  I found a position as housekeeper to an American homesteader, Kent Reed.  One can’t lie in bed snoozing while the cow is demanding to be milked, the chickens and cattle and horses to be fed, and breakfast to be gotten for little Elena, the Mister, and any hired help he has.

Why did you choose your current profession?
My profession chose me.  There were few enough jobs for women in 1925, but virtually none for an immigrant with a shaky grasp of English.  The ad Kent Reed placed in the paper for a housekeeper and cook was a godsend to me in my time of worst despair.  It gave me hope for the future and reaffirmed that I had done the right thing in emigrating to America, the shining land of opportunity.

How long did it take you to explain your predicament to the author?
The author grew up next door to her grandmother, a Tyrolean woman whose history mirrors mine in many ways.  Alethea Williams, the author, was always sorry she let so much time slip away before becoming interested in researching her grandmother’s journey toward becoming American.
 If you could change one thing that the author wrote (or told) about your life, what would it be? As I said, I am a simple country woman.  But many readers have expressed the opinion that the book about my life was too short, and I agree.  There are numerous incidents the author left out, which I think are interesting enough to have been included, or that helped shaped my character and made me the person that I became.  Even simple country women have hidden histories.

What is your favorite pastime? I sew, clothing and quilts, on my treadle machine and by hand.  But my very favorite pastime is perusing the newspaper.  I like to keep up on what’s happening in my new country; I find politics both fascinating and repellant.  But the best part of reading is the improvement I get to my vocabulary and English grammar skills.

What's your greatest strength? My greatest strength is persistence.  Much of life consists of being told no, of having to avoid or overcome obstacles placed in our paths either deliberately or indifferently by other people.  Sometimes, in order to succeed, I have to keep approaching the problem from different angles.  Never give up, is my motto.  (Hmm, I wonder if Elena might get some of her hardheadedness from her mother?) 

If you could change one thing about another character in the book, who and what would it be? I would make Agnes Broadbent younger if I could, so that I had more time to get to know her.  When I met her she was old, bent with arthritis and unable even to ride.  When she was young, as I understand it, she was a force to be reckoned with on the homestead she built with her husband, Harv.  Even just once, I would have loved to see her streaking by on horseback, the wind tangling her hair.  I can almost hear her laughter echoing across our green valley to this day, and I wish I had been around witness to it.

What makes you happiest?
Seeing the results of our labor and building a life with Kent on our Wyoming ranch as a legacy for our children, gives me the fulfillment and happiness I always sought. I was heartbroken to leave the green valley of my birth in the Dolomite Mountains, but Willow Valley, Wyoming is as close as I could ever come to replacing Val di Non.

Where can readers find your book?
Readers can find my story, Willow Vale, at:

 or at the publisher, Jargon Media LLC: 

Author Alethea Williams writes about Wyoming. Willow Vale is her first published novel.
If readers wish to know more about this author, you can find her at:
Twitter: @actuallyalethea


  1. I loved this book. Elena was described in such a way I saw her. My saddest part was when she lost the baby.

  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Cher'ley. I'm glad you liked Willow Vale!