Today’s Hero – Dario with Susan Buchanan

Here, exclusively for Amazon readers, is Susan Buchanan on…
Sign of the Times

I always wanted to write a novel with characters based around the signs of the zodiac, their personality traits, jobs etc. I took a year off work to finish it, as I had been writing it for 6 years in my spare time and was only half way through. Writing a novel with 12 key characters was a mammoth challenge, but I loved it. I hope you do too. I love to travel and some of the places in the novel, are places I have been to. When I read, I love to read books about foreign parts that I have visited – it immerses me more in the story. I wanted to do the same in my own novel. I love reading, always have – romantic fiction, crime, contemporary drama, pretty much everything.

 Holly, the ‘main’ character of the twelve zodiac character signs in Sign of the Times, meets Dario when her car breaks down late at night in Italy. Today we are meeting Dario, to get to know a bit more about the man who has our heroine all aflutter.

Susan: Hi Dario and thanks for joining us this morning.  (Dario smiles, thanks us for inviting him and rests his lean but muscular, tanned arms on his chair, his wide smile revealing beautiful, white, even teeth. He moves his dark floppy hair out of his eyes and listens attentively as we begin)

Your family has been in this area of Tuscany for some time. Tell us a little about your heritage?

Dario: My family has lived in Rosetto for more than two hundred years. I have a large family, but I am the heir to the vineyards and the olive groves, which are my family’s main businesses.

Susan: Can you describe the place where you live?

Dario: I am not sure if you mean the town or my home, so I will describe both. Rosetto is a village which was much fought over during the unification of Italy in the 19th century. It has deep historical significance. My family is the largest landowner in the area.  The village itself is a sleepy one, with old men playing chess in the street, sipping grappa at lunchtime and children playing games that have been passed on from one generation to the next. You will see the women haggling on market day with the stall owners. This area of Tuscany is particularly known for its food – you should visit.

My home is, I suppose you British would say, a stately home. It dates from 1792.  My family has always lived here. We have extensive gardens, a small lake, and the architecture is Siennese. We have fourteen bedrooms, nine bathrooms, three, I think you say, drawing rooms, two kitchens, two dining rooms, a study, a library, an office and another three reception rooms. It is comfortable and useful for when we have family to stay.

Susan: Can you share with us the details of the women in your life, past and present?

(Dario’s eyes momentarily darken, then he sighs) It is true what they say, money doesn’t buy happiness. I was married once, many years ago, but my wife died.  I loved her very much and it took me a long time to get over it, if indeed you ever do get over it. Let’s just say it hurts a little less every day, but I still think about her often. (He pauses before continuing)

After that, I had many women foisted upon me, some possibly because they liked me or found me attractive, but more often than not these women were vacuous and just wanted someone to pay for their lifestyle. There has been no –one important. Well, not until very recently. I met a Scottish girl, but it couldn’t go anywhere…

Susan: What are your passions?

Dario: Wine – of course, with my family history and business, it has to be.  I have been all over the world to taste and test the finest wines and work out what our next move will be at our vineyards. I have been to Napa and Sonoma in California, the vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand and the Franschhoek Valley in South Africa. And of course I have been all over Europe.

I also love literature, particularly the classics and not just in Italian. But my favourites are Boccaccio’s Decamerone; Dante’s Divina Commedia  (of course); Lampedusa’s Il Gattopardo  (The Leopard)is my favourite); Macchiavelli, even if he was odious, he could teach us a thing or two about statesmanship and Il Principe (The Prince) does just that. I also like the more modern novels, for example Leonardo Sciascia’s detective series, particularly A Ciascuno il Suo (To Each His Own). And I love your Shakespeare and Kipling.

Making love – I may not be with the right woman yet, but when I am, I will make love to her every day.

Susan: Can you give us five adjectives to describe yourself?

Dario: Hmm, if you mean physically, I would have to say, tall and dark. If you mean personality or character, then loyal, determined, but also laidback – I am Italian after all!

Susan: What would you like to achieve in life?

Dario: I am very lucky already, as I don’t want for anything financially and I have a wonderful family and amazing network of friends. My businesses are very successful and long may that continue. But I would like to meet someone, the right person, the right available person, to settle down with.

Susan: Would you like to have children?

Dario: I love children and am grateful to have many nieces and nephews who visit me often. I would love to eventually have my own family.  If I am lucky enough to meet the right woman, and convince her to be my wife, I would like at least four children.

Susan: Describe your ideal woman?

Dario: I’ve already found her, but she isn’t available. Scottish, with a love for the Italian language, petite, with long, curly dark hair, amazing eyes, beautiful smile and a wonderful personality. Life can be very cruel.

Susan: What’s next for you?

Dario: I will continue to grow my businesses and perhaps concentrate more on the olive growing side of the estate.

I also need to decide what to do about my feelings for the person I just recently met who has inspired me and made me feel more alive than I have in years.

Susan: If you were stranded on a desert island, name 5 things, 1 has to be a person,  that you’d like to take with you.

Dario: Well, let’s see. Wine of course.

Books.  At least those I mentioned earlier and as many more as I could possibly carry.

Pasta – I can’t do without my primo – our first course in Italy is always pasta.

Photographs – of my family and friends, if I really do have to be apart from them, at least that would offer some comfort

Person  – since this is a rhetorical question, that’s easy – Holly Jameson, the Scottish girl I met recently.

Susan: Well, that’s the end of the interview. Thanks so much, Dario, for agreeing to talk with us today.

Dario: You’re welcome. It has been my pleasure.

To read more about Dario and Holly, Sign of the Times is available through the following sites:

Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony. Sign of the Times is her first novel, published Mar 2012. Her second novel is expected to be released late 2012.

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