You are our listener of the month
for October 2016
Leslie Amorós was recently featured as our special guest for listener of the month, October 2016. What a delight it was to catch up and hear her interesting story. Leslie has a wonderful vest for life that shines through in her positivity and kind attitude.
During this podcast, we asked Leslie;
- “With William as your guide, where in Florence would you want to visit and why?”
- And we also learnt of a special trip to Selingsgove planned with our very own Pam…stay tuned, more to come on this little adventure.
Why not sit back and tune in to this podcast and get to know the delightful Leslie Amoros. Sylvain Reynard’s readers make up such an amazing community and Leslie is a wonderful example why….
Below is a copy of the answers to the questions we covered:
1. Tell us a little more about Leslie, where are you from? What type of novels you like to read? Other interests you may have? Or anything else you’d like to share with us?
I was raised in a wonderful family I and have been blessed with a good life. My mother is Greek American and my father’s heritage is a mix of Pennsylvania Dutch, Irish, English, Spanish and French. My upbringing led me to love, embrace and respect people of all cultures and nationalities. I attended the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), which is where I met my husband Abe in 1989 when I was 19 years old. I was and continue to be completely captivated by him; we have been together ever since that time and married in August 1994. We live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and have two daughters, ages 21 and 19, who both attend Penn State. Abe’s family is originally from Puerto Rico so I speak some Spanish (Hola Boricuas) and love the culture!
I went into communications to help people and I serve as a communications consultant. I work projects ranging from writing and websites to media relations, branding, strategy and event planning. In fact, the character of Rachel in the Gabriel Series spoke to me as I have served in various public relations roles in government and in the private sector.
I love all of the arts – visual and performing – and still continue to dance jazz, though I also love tap and ballet. I enjoy cooking, great food and travel as well. In fact, one of the formative experiences of my life was when I studied abroad as a Penn State student in Greece, where I enjoyed lectures at many of the major archaeological sites in Greece.
My love of travel has led me and a dear friend on a quest to see all 50 states in the United States before we turn 50 years old. We came up with the idea at a bar in St. Michael’s Maryland between Christmas and New Year’s last year. The rules are we must be together in every state, we can bring friends and family along for the ride, and we must support the local economy…ranging from bars and wineries to local shops and artisans. We had a long weekend in March exploring Delaware and New Jersey, and had an epic road trip, lovingly called our WildWildMidwest tour, where we drove from Pennsylvania to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore (as well as traipsing across the borders of Montana and Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower National Monument). In total we covered more than 12 states in 18 days and had some of the best times of our lives.
In addition to loving SR’s work, some of my favorite romance authors include Alice Clayton, Nina Bocci, Sylvia Day, Emma Chase, Katy Evans, Helena Hunting and Samantha Young. I also love Liz Gilbert and mystery author Laura Lippman.
2. How did you find Sylvain Reynard’s stories and what is it about SR’s writing that you love most?
I have E.L. James to thank for my renewed discovery of fiction, particularly romance…and I am grateful because her series led me to SR’s beautiful work.
For years when the girls were young I limited my reading to newspapers and magazines, mostly due to my job responsibilities, and when I read the occasional book it was history or bios. By 2012 I heard so much discussion about Fifty Shades of Grey reaffirming negative relationships and misogyny instead of extolling love that I chose to read it to decide if these charges were true. As I read the book I rejected the negative claims and was completely hooked by the compelling love story.
One afternoon as I accompanied a loved one on a doctor’s visit, I came across a women’s magazine article on books to read if you liked Fifty Shades…Gabriel’s Inferno was on the list. The idea of a romance involving a professor who taught Dante (I loved reading Dante in school) was too good not to read, so I bought the book.
SR’s beautiful blending of all of the arts to reveal aspects of the human condition completely captivates me. I love SR’s universal messages emphasizing kindness and using love and kindness as the powerful base to forgive and to find redemption. I appreciate the thoughtful musings and cultural references, particularly in the romance genre, which often doesn’t challenge a reader to learn and grow.
3. The Novella ‘The Prince’ sees Professor Gabriel Emerson cross paths with the mysteriously dark Prince of Florence, William York. What main characteristics between these two male characters stand out for you?
They are both dominant alpha males who are hiding their pasts at the beginning of their stories. Both feel they are unworthy of love or are unable to love. They are intelligent, strong, focused, charismatically magnetic and sexy. They are fierce protectors who also have a caring, tender and passionate side.
4. In The Raven it is evident given the chance, Julia Emerson and Raven Wood while very different in their personalities, could easily develop a friendship. What characteristics about each of these two leading ladies do you admire most?
I admire Julia’s kindness, sweetness, intelligence and devotion, and Raven is a strong, bright, kind and courageous protector who would do anything to help anyone. Both are survivors who are loving, compassionate, determined and philanthropic…they are truly good people.
5. In The Shadow we learn that William York is in fact 700 years old. During this time we know he has known some of the most influential people during the Renaissance period from several members of the Medici family, Sandro Botticelli, Simonetta Vespucci, Dante Alighieri, Beatrice Portinari, Niccolo Machiavelli, etc. If you had the opportunity to learn more about anyone of these individual through William who would it be and why?
I would like to learn about Botticelli. William obviously had high regard for his work even though he nearly killed him for including his image in the paintings. I would love to hear about Botticelli’s work, his approach throughout his life ranging from his sensual work to his more meditative pieces. I would also like to learn about his friendships with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
As I was preparing for the podcast, I came across an announcement that the Muscarelle Museum at the College of William and Mary will bring “Botticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities” features 16 works, from six Italian cities, to Williamsburg, Virginia on Feb. 11, 2017, to display through April 6, before traveling to its only other U.S. venue at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I would love to meet up with other SR fans to go to the exhibit!
6. With William as your guide, where in Florence would you want to visit and why?
I would love to join him on the top of the Brunelleschi’s Dome to view his city at sunset.
7. Many readers have described The Shadow as the best novel in the series so far, what is it in this particular book of the series that stands out for you?
I love the compelling story line, the characters, the depth of William and Raven’s relationship and how their love is strengthening amidst the backdrop of an impending war. I also enjoy the exploration of justice and mercy.
8. The final book to The Florentine series will be released in December this year. If you were in control of SR’s masterful pen for the day, what kind of ending would you create for this epic story?
A happy one, of course! The traitors revealed and expelled; Peace brokered with the Curia and Raven and William riding off into the sunset on the Triumph!
9. If you were to describe SR’s stories to new readers in one line each; what would you say firstly about Gabriel’s Inferno, and secondly The Florentine series?
This is a very tough question. I struggled with this because it is difficult to encapsulate so much richness into one line.
Gabriel’s Inferno – A richly written love story showing the transformational power of love through a forbidden romance between a student and her professor.
Florentine Series – A modern vampire take on the Beauty and the Beast or Cupid/Psyche myth showing the healing transformative powers of love.
10. SR’s twitter community is made up of a large group of wonderfully warm people. What has been the most rewarding thing for you since join this online community?
The greatest reward is connecting with a fun, positive supportive worldwide family who believes that “Kindness is never wasted.”
11. If you knew SR was listening to our podcast what would you want to say to him?
I have had so many things to say to SR that I actually wrote a letter of thanks to SR in December 2014:
“We experienced tremendous loss of loved ones, including cancer deaths of my beloved stepmother, mother-in-law and four other friends in a period of eight weeks in 2012. During that period I also was caring for one of my dearest friends who struggled with many debilitating autoimmune diseases. When I was reading “Gabriel’s Inferno” in fall 2013, your words carried me through her death. Receiving the other two books in the trilogy last Christmas (2013) brought me great joy as I worked through the aftermath of the collective losses and faced another unanticipated tragedy – the death of my brother in a car accident in March of 2014. Your depiction of Grace’s death and its aftershocks resonated with me, as was your reflections on faith and hope. I also appreciate the sensitivity you brought to addiction and recovery. Many of your writings affirmed my beliefs and re-energized my faith, and I am truly grateful to you for your work…
“I sincerely want to thank you for supporting charities and for sharing your gift of writing and storytelling with the world. Thank you for providing positivity amidst the often negative and/or superficial noise.”
I also want SR to know he has an open invitation to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and welcome him to join Pam, Nina and I on our upcoming road trip to Selinsgrove.
12. If you could spend one day with SR what would you do and where would you go?
SR completely fascinates me, so I would ask him what he would like to do and where he would like to go…A museum? Strolling down the streets of Toronto, Florence or another great city of the world? Sitting at a cafe in Paris? I would love to show him the Greek Isles if he would be so inclined. Simply spending time with SR would be a treat, learning about the writer’s life and discussing all matters. I believe the day would begin with coffee and donuts; Laphroaig would likely be involved as the day progresses and I promise to wear my best stilettos…
Gabriel – Professor
Argyle – Empire
Chocolate cake – Delicious
Dante – Inferno
Julianne – Kind
Uffizi – Gallery
Botticelli – Beauty
Florence – Art
William – Prince
Raven – Good
Handkerchief – Tenderness
The Triumph – Dad (Allow me to explain…My father had a Triumph motorcycle when I was a child and I always associate that bike with my dad.)
Aoibhe – Fiery
Relic – Protection
The Roman – December (I cannot wait!)
Such a pleasure to chat with Leslie and we look forward to hearing more from you when you return from your visit to Selingsgrove with our amazing Pam.
If you’d like to be our next listener of the month, make sure you join us each Saturday at 10AM NYT for our weekly broadcast.
As Pam always says….
“Same Florentine time, same Florentine Channel!”
Until next time
Dana, Pam and Kez