Small Town Saturday with Giulietta Spudich

When you read a novel, do you sometimes wonder why the author set the book in a certain locale? Stephen King sets just about everything he writes in Maine. I never knew there were so many creepy things happening in small New England towns!

I write small town settings because small towns are intrinsically interesting. I love to read books with that same small town atmosphere. Today's guest on Small Town Saturday is Giulietta M. Spudich. Her novel Painting Pretoria is set in a small town, and she's going to tell us why she chose that setting.

Meet Giulietta M. Spudich

Giulietta is an Italo-American living in the United Kingdom, but her hometown is Berkeley, California, which she gets to visit frequently. When in Cali, she puts down her tea-drinking for awhile and picks up exciting brews like Blue Bottle coffee and Philz.

Two wonderful housemates and the spirit of her loyal cat Smokey share her home in England. Giulietta says, "I have always written stories, and currently publish fiction with Books To Go Now, and kids adventure with Handersen Publishing."

Visit Giulietta online: Twitter * Facebook * Amazon Author Page * Goodreads. You can find her some of her short stories at Page & Spine, and you can read her poetry at Inky Cat Blog.

Painting Pretoria by Giulietta Spudich

Paint what you love, says Mrs. Rosa. But what does Anna love?

Is it her long-term boyfriend, Justin, who suddenly dumped her to spend the summer in England? Or her uninspiring thesis work in biochemistry?

To bring her out of a listless depression, her mom convinces her to go to beautiful Pretoria, Maine, the place of her birth.

Through an art summer school, the nourishing Aunt Pat and the support of her two best friends, she begins to find her voice and meets Fernando ... but is that really who she loves?

Add Painting Pretoria to Your Library

You'll find Giulietta's novel available on Amazon in an ebook edition for Kindle. It's free on Kindle Unlimited for subscribers; only $2.99 to purchase. It's also available in a paperback edition.

Small Town Saturday
by Giulietta Spudich

Painting Pretoria, published by Books To Go Now, focuses on the themes of healing, friendship, and finding one’s voice through art. Anna Bankson is a young graduate student in science who has a life crisis when her long term boyfriend leaves her. She goes to a quiet, coastal town in Maine to regroup. Under the care of her nourishing Aunt Pat and her close friendships, she finds her voice through painting the ocean. A Brazilian exchange student turns up at an unlikely time in her life, and she faces making a choice for love, or following her own road. Or could she have both?

I set Painting Pretoria in a fictional small town on the coast of Maine for a few reasons. I find the coast such a lovely place - quiet, magical, and picturesque. I also love the ocean, and I wanted to spend a whole book writing in that setting. The small town aspect is definitely crucial for the story.
Anna starts the book in a busy life in a busy city – she’s a graduate student in Houston. When she suffers a personal crisis due to a relationship ending, she really needs to slow down and regroup. When she gets back to nature, in a quiet town, her healing process begins.

The slow pace, the fresh air, and the beauty of the ocean get her experiencing her life more day-by-day, without worrying too much about what direction she will go in. Her art summer school classes open her up, not just creatively - they help her reflect on who she is and what she wants. The colorful art teacher, Mrs. Rosa, has them do out-of-the-box art exercises to experience painting with all of their senses. This helps inspire Anna.

She also meets Fernando, who’s from Brazil, and the small town aspect charges this. Their relationship has more intensity than it would in a big city with lots of social engagements going on.

Fernando has culture shock, coming from a big city in Brazil. He finds Pretoria, Maine too quiet, and is lonely, missing having lots of friends and things to do. When he meets Anna, he wants to hang out with her all the time - partly that is because his life is too isolated. So that might be a negative side of the small town life. While for Anna, the quiet is just what she needs, for Fernando, it’s oppressive.

There is another spin in the story, and that’s Anna’s mother’s past. Anna doesn’t know it, but her
mother was an artist and had a love affair in Pretoria. Her mom also went through a crisis when she was young, like Anna, and her mom left Pretoria for the very different Houston scene. I felt the physical act of Anna returning to her mom’s town allowed Anna to see her mom in a different light.

I loved writing Painting Pretoria – it allowed me to reflect on art, creativity, the ocean and love. A friend said she was inspired to take painting lessons after reading the book, and I hope it does inspire readers to be more creative, or to take time out to connect with their own voices, if they need. Or at the least, visit the beautiful, sweet Maine coast!

As for what I’m doing next...I write short stories for adults, but have moved into children’s fiction with Handersen Publishing.

I think Painting Pretoria might be my last book for adults in awhile, but you never know! I love the creativity of children’s books, and writing more adventure-driven stories in the realm of fantasy and magic. I just published The Amber Giant for middle-grade readers, this year, and I have another middle-grade adventure in the pipeline.

Takeaway Truth

Readers, take an armchair trip to the setting in Painting Pretoria with the ebook edition for Kindle. Remember, it's free on Kindle Unlimited for subscribers; only $2.99 to purchase. It's also available in a paperback edition.