Your voice in the novel is wonderfully objective and compassionate – how would you feel about a woman like Pauline? Would she be too much for you as she seemed to be at times for Camillo?
“I’m not really sure. She definitely would have been a challenge. But that’s somewhat exciting. As my mother says, “predictability is the kiss of death,” and certainly Pauline was not predictable. Although she had commitment issues, I really do believe it was due to the circumstances of the time. She rarely saw her husband and was also smart enough to realize he too was being unfaithful. That said, Pauline, when in love, was the ideal woman for me. It’s the Pauline who is out of love that I’d be worried about.”
In what ways are you sympathetic or understanding toward Camillo and what he went through in his relationship with Pauline?
“I’m sympathetic for Camillo when it comes to his jealousy and insecurities, although both were surely justified. The problem one faces when marrying a beautiful woman is that many men will try to steal her. This can often lead to jealousy, especially when the husband is apart from his wife and his wife happens to be a Princess and the sister of the Emperor of France. That’s rough.”
Did you have to study the period of the 19th century during the writing of the novel? Did you enjoy that? Was there anything about that period of life that you wish was still in practice in today’s modern world?
“Yes, I had to study the late 18th century and 19th century. I did enjoy learning about the rise and fall of Napolean and the absolute chaos that was occurring in Europe. If I could choose one thing from that period and bring it alive today, it would be the wonderful parties from that time. Grand palaces filled with masked kings, queens, dukes, princesses and artist all interacting like school kids. Champagne, fireworks, Italian delicacies, horse-drawn carriages…wow, now that would have been fun.”
How does your family feel about your writing of this novel? Do they think that you’ve portrayed Pauline and Camillo honestly and fairly? What were their first thoughts and impressions after reading the novel?
“My family has always supported me and this novel is no different. As they haven’t read the book yet, I can’t answer the question. However, I’m sure they will think I portrayed them both fairly.”
What was your favorite part of writing the novel? (i.e. getting to know your family and yourself better, such as your own ideals and morals?)
“Learning about the Pauline and Camillo. When I first saw Pauline’s statue in the Galleria Borghese in 1988 and her tomb in the crypt of the Borghese chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore, I knew I wanted to learn more. One day I thought…and sure enough, I did. That’s one more goal completed on my bucket list. Now it’s time to make a movie!”