Double Identity….

- by Karen Tintori

THE BOOK OF NAMESI’m a night person — the type who stays up way too late and then hates to abandon a comfy bed.  I will lie there, repeating to myself that the hardest part about getting up is simply getting my feet on that floor.  Yet, there are times when a new day dawns deliciously.

My subconscious has the habit of surprising me with inner dialogue that’s been off and running long before I manage to swim up from sleep.  I relish tuning in to a conversation already in progress some two steps ahead of my conscious mind, usually catching up somewhere in the middle of chatter that got started without me during sleep. Since my mind is impossible to turn off during the daytime — trust me, I’ve tried mantras, meditation, white noise, music, and more — it truly shouldn’t surprise me that it doesn’t shut up even when I’m dead asleep.

Usually, these “first thing” thoughts are spilling forth the exact solution to a writing problem I’ve been wrestling with.  Other times, the morning monologue is about some random person, errand, or project that has no bearing on what’s currently going on in my life.

This morning I came to consciousness halfway through the refrain of a television commercial jingle from my childhood: Two, two, two mints in one.  (Yes, I’m facing a special birthday this fall, and no, I can’t recall the last time I’ve thought about: Certs is a breath minute.  Certs is a candy mint.  No — it’s two, two, two mints in one.)  Brow wrinkled, I spent a few bemused moments wondering where that had come from, and then I realized my subconscious was suggesting the subject matter of my first NINC blog. 

Certs and I have a lot in common.

I’m an author of fiction and nonfiction.  I work with a partner and I work alone.  And I am a dual citizen.  Born and raised in the Detroit area, two years ago I reclaimed the Italian citizenship I never knew had passed down to me because my Sicilian grandfather had not yet become a naturalized U.S. citizen when my mom was born.  The two of them would have gotten such a kick out of it.

Though I knew I wanted to be a writer since age twelve, I didn’t think in terms of books.  I just loved to read and to write and wrote obsessively — diaries, letters, extra homework reports, and later stories about me, my friend Tara and the Beatles.  Trained as a journalist in college, I wrote for magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and brochures during my career, before writing my first nonfiction book with my best friend of twenty-six years and writing partner, Jill Gregory.  Little did I know my fiction career was a single book ahead of me. 

Jill and I had so much fun working together — much more fun than working in solitude — she suggested we write contemporary women’s fiction together.  I told her I didn’t do fiction, she insisted I sure could, and the next thing I knew we were writing SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE, a novel about four women about to be married, all of whom had secrets from their fiances.  And then we wrote another, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.

UNTO THE DAUGHTERSThen, on my own, I wrote a nonfiction book, TRAPPED, about our country’s worst coal mine fire, a disaster I grew up hearing that my other grandfather had survived.  Another nonfiction book, UNTO THE DAUGHTERS: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family, the story of  a devastating secret kept in my mother’s family for more than eight decades followed last year, just months after THE BOOK OF NAMES, a hidden history thriller written with Jill.  Our second hidden history thriller, THE ILLUMINATION, will be out in January, and we are busily plotting away on a third.  And there’s another nonfiction book waiting for me to outline it, again a story discovered while working on my Italian genealogy.

Moving back and forth sometimes feels like I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up — but it’s nice to have the dual career, the freedom to move between fiction and nonfiction, to work with my best friend, line by line, word by word, laugh by laugh, and to also work alone.  From a writer who thought of herself only as a journalist, I’ve grown comfortable in my novelist’s skin.  Each facet of my writing life complements the other, and, with four novels under my belt I like to quip that my nonfiction writing is much richer now that I’ve got myself a novelist’s heart to go along with my journalist’s head.

For more about my books, please come visit my website:


  1. Great post, I can almost feel your happiness coming through!

    It’s so great to know that there are others out there who still have that “what will I be when I grow up?” sort of thing going on. LOL I wonder if it’s a Sicilian thing (Mom’s family is Sicilian, she’s born in Canada though)

  2. Great post!
    You sound like you enjoy your writing very much.

  3. Sasha,

    I wonder if it is a Sicilian thing? I’ve been accused of being a Renaissance Woman, since I have my hands in so many things, but I love learning and doing and the excitement of all things new. I know I used to joke that I wanted this epitaph on my tombstone:

    “She was never bored, and she slept well at night.”

    I went through a blip where I was waking up every four hours and didn’t sleep well at night, but thankfully, I’m over that hump and back to sleeping soundly without boredom.


  4. Estella,

    I love writing. I’m obsessed with writing and with words — have been since childhood. Glad that my enthusiasm shows!

    Happy reading,

  5. I found your blog via Google while searching for breath meditation and your post regarding Identity…. looks very interesting to me.I just just wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. I also have websites & blogs so I know what I am talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!

  6. Thanks! Visit often and learn what my writing colleagues are up to. We are all multi-published authors and on Wednesdays we have guest bloggers from within the publishing industry.

    NINC rules!

    Karen Tintori

  7. I trace my family history so I will know who to blame.

  8. Thanks for the chuckle. Ain’t it the truth, Roland?