Mary Campisi – Cocktail Conversations

Today I have quite the treat for my readers, and since it’s early in the day, we are setting aside our usual cocktail for steamy mugs of cinnamon-laced latte and biscotti. But fear not, we’ll be feasting on a lunch of Mary’s Penne Pasta with Spinach. She is buzzing around the kitchen as we chat and already it smells delicious!

Before we settle into our conversation, let me tell you a bit about Mary Campisi. She first popped up on my radar screen when I read her story “A Family Affair” and after I’d turned the last page, I knew I wanted this wonderful author as a friend. Luckily we have a mutual friend, Christine Nolfi, who introduced us and the rest was history. Mary and I discovered that we have so much more in common than simply writing heartfelt stories about families.

So pull up a virtual chair and join us as I pour the coffee…

Bette: ~Hands Mary mug of coffee with biscotti on the side~ I am absolutely thrilled to be spending this time with you Mary, as I’ve told you I loved your novel A Family Affair and I am now moving on to reading the other books in the series. As I understand it there are eight Family Affair stories already out there and you are working on the ninth.

Mary: Yes, I am. ~Catches a whiff of cinnamon~ This smells delicious. The ninth A Family Affair book is A Family Affair: The Wish, and is part of the Truth in Lies series. It will be published April 14th. Also, the first in the series, A Family Affair is a free download.
Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, GooglePlay

Bette: And since I know you have multiple people with different characters taking the spotlight at different times, who is up to what in this next book?

Mary: This book is about Bree Kinkaid, the woman whose white-picket-fence dream blew apart and Adam Brandon (secondary character in Paradise Found) aka Mr. West Coast and a wounded hero. These two are both in need of a second chance, but it’s not going to be easy…

Bette: And I understand you are planning a tenth, right?

Mary: Yes, this one is already in the works. It’s A Family Affair: The Gift, and will be out in September. Readers want to know if one of their favorite couples, Daniel “Cash” Casherdon and his wife, Tess, are finally going to get their baby. Stay tuned!

Bette: Will that be the final book in the series?

Mary: No, there’s more to come… And speaking of series novels, I understand you are working on a fourth book in your Wyattsville Series?

Bette: Yes, I am. In each of the Wyattsville novels a new character comes to town and in this one it is Cyrus Dodd, a man burdened with what he believes are regrets.

Mary: Do the characters from Spare Change return in this book?

Bette: Yes, they do; Olivia, Ethan Allen and a few others. I think that’s the fun of a series, you fall in love with certain characters and they stay with you. Christine Blackworth in Family Affair inspired me to read the other books in the series.

Mary: ~laughs~ Yes, Christine feels like an old friend to me.

Bette: The onions sizzling in the skillet smells wonderful, and to think this Penne Pasta is only one of your delicious Italian recipes! It’s a wonder you and Jim stay so slim with all that good food.

Mary: We’re both very active, so I guess we work it off. I do a lot of gardening—especially flowers and herbs.

Bette: I know, I hope you don’t mind if I share this picture of your begonia?
Mary: ~laughs again~ Of course not. You are lucky to be in Florida where you have a year-round gardening season. Our summers are much shorter here in Ohio, but I try to make the most of them by spending most of my free time in the garden.

Bette: Speaking of seasons I am going to share pictures with my readers of our rescue dogs. My rescue was Katie and yours is called Cooper. Considering the seasonality, I doubt our followers will have much trouble determining which is which.
Mary: Those pictures certainly do tell the story, don’t they? As you can see, Coop obviously loves a romp in the snow. We’ve had him almost eight years and Jim and I both are crazy about him.

Bette: The same was true about Katie. We lost her three years ago and now have another Bichon named Sugar. She’s my little writing buddy and spends most of her day sitting my lap and watching out the window for the mailman. ~Laughs~ I think it’s the highlight of her day.
Mary: Cooper is a lab and pointer mix. We got him from a local rescue and he has given us endless hours of happiness—and exercise!

Bette: As Long as we are pulling out our family pictures, I have got to show this one of you and Jim, along with one of Dick and I taken at the FWA Awards gala. (include picture of Mary & Jim here)(Also one of Dick & I)
Mary: We are both very lucky to have our husbands working in the business with us. I know I would be lost without Jim to take care of the zillion things he does to keep the business up and running.

Bette: So true. It is the same with Dick. Being a novelist is no longer just about writing, there are a million other things to be done—not the least of which is record-keeping which I am terrible at.

Mary: So true. Even if you were good at all those things, there’s not enough hours to do it all and leave a bit of time for recreation.

Bette: ~laughs~ And by recreation, I’m assuming you mean you and Jim tooling around on that Harley. Definitely looks like fun!
Mary: It is. Plus, we’ve got kids in different cities and states that we love to visit, and a grandbaby with another on the way…exciting stuff!

Bette: ~Laughs~ I am amazed at all the hobbies you have. In addition to all that we’ve talked about, you press flowers, make bookmarks and even note cards.

Mary: It’s true, I do have a lot of hobbies. ~Smiles~ But I guess that’s how I relax. I’m more relaxed when I am puttering in my garden than I am taking a nap.

Bette: I am not much of a gardener at all, but I do love to lounge in the pool—that’s when I do my most creative thinking. Dick and I also play golf together, but not very often. He won’t admit it, but I am not the least bit athletic. I’m sort of like the little redheaded girl in Charlie Brown—busy daydreaming as the ball conks me on the head.

Mary: Speaking of not paying attention—Christine Nolfi and I were at a writer’s retreat years ago, taking a long walk, chatting away and didn’t realize we’d landed on a “golf” green. In our defense, it was not the usual, fancy golf green, but it made us move—fast! I’ll tell you more about it during lunch, which is about ready. I hope you’re hungry.

Bette: Absolutely, but before we go, I want to share this awesome recipe with our followers and give them links where they can find you and your books. I downloaded my copy from iBooks, but they are in lots of other places. So read on folks, while Mary and I sit down to this delicious lunch. I wish you could all join us….but maybe next time. ~smiles~

~Mary waves goodbye to readers and pulls up a chair at the table~

Here is where to find Mary Campisi’s books:
Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, GooglePlay, Audible

CLICK HERE to visit Mary’s website.

And now, the recipe you’ve been waiting for:

Penne Pasta with Spinach4 Cloves finely chopped Garlic
1 medium Onion finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 large Tomatoes (Chopped) or 1 ½ large cans diced tomatoes (32 oz. Cans) Seasoned Dei Fratelli – big can – 1 – 1.5

1 can Garbanzo beans (Cici beans), drained and rinsed
1 pound of fresh spinach with stems removed and steamed (may sub frozen cooked spinach)
1 lb. Penne pasta
Romano Cheese
Salt & Pepper

Sauté onion in olive oil over low/medium heat until clear. Add garlic and simmer 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until softened. Salt and Pepper to taste. Add garbanzo beans. Add cooked spinach to hot mixture. Add cooked pasta, mix well. Serve with romano cheese.