If it's worth having, it's worth waiting for.
Best-selling author Adriana Trigiani took that advice to heart with her new book, "The Shoemaker's Daughter."
"Ah, the art of writing," she explained during a phone call from her home in New York City. "Sometimes it pours forth. Sometimes you have to craft it like you're placing stones in gold. And then you have to leave it alone."
It took 20 years of trying for Trigiani (pronounced Tri – johnny) to write a book chronicling her grandparents' great love story.
The book's main characters are Ciro Lazzari and Enza Ravanelli, who come from northern Italy. Ciro and Enza's love story, says Trigiani, was "a dance of fate."
The two fall in love as teenagers but are torn apart by circumstance. It's that same circumstance that reunites them in America, and then almost immediately rends them apart when Ciro leaves to serve his new homeland in World War I.
During their time apart, Ciro becomes a master shoemaker and Enza finds a career in the heady world of the Metropolitan Opera, serving as a seamstress to the great Enrico Caruso.
"Caruso was like the Elton John of his time," Trigiani explained. "He was a pop star as well as a classical singer."
Trigiani has called on her family history before. She used her family roots in the "Big Stone Gap" books, which are being made into a film that she plans to direct. For her popular "Valentine" books, she used her grandmother as one of the main characters.
"My grandmother was always fascinating to me," she said. "She lost her husband when she was 35 years old and another man never turned her head."
Reputation was very important to her grandmother, who stayed in Chisholm, Minn.
"She took in the work from the department store," Trigiani explained. "She wouldn't have a man in her shop, so she made the people at the department store mark the suit. She had three kids to raise."
Trigiani is proud of the way her mother, aunt and uncle lived their lives.
"My uncle Elonzno was a basketball player at Notre Dame on a full ride scholarship," she beams. "He was an officer in World War II and then came out, finished two more years at Notre Dame and played professional basketball in New York."
Her mother and aunt were both librarians.
"My mother started the architecture library at Notre Dame," she explained. "My aunt was the science librarian."
"As it often goes with my novels, I walk around telling the story over and over again to anyone who will listen until I can no longer resist the impulse to write it down," she said in a press release for the new book. "I couldn't do it any other way."
Trigiani gives a nod to Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte, along with "Harriet the Spy," for being a positive influence on her early reading.
"I learned structure from 'Jane Eyre,' and storytelling from Shakespeare," she said, and then added:?"I read 'Harriet' 500 times when I was 10."
Trigiani has worked as a stand up comic, an award-winning playwright, a television writer and a documentary filmmaker. It is as an author, however, that she has found her true calling.
Since its release last month, "The Shoemaker's Wife" has generated a lot of positive buzz.
"Hollywood is reading it," she said. "Please keep your fingers crossed because this is so important to me."
Right now, the world looks pretty good to Trigiani.
"I got no complaints."
Wilma Moss won a copy of "The Shoemaker's Wife" in the News-Telegram's online contest. We thank Trigiani's publisher, Harper Collins, for their cooperation.
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