OLIVE BRANCHES DON’T GROW ON TREES (2012)

Drawing on her own background, Grace Mattioli has created a warring but loveable Italian-American family, who just can’t seem to get along. While they all have their individual problems, youngest daughter, Silvia Greco, hopes that she can bring the family together to celebrate the graduation of her little brother, and in so doing offer an olive branch of peace to the disgruntled factions. What follows is an energetic, funny, and endearing tale of a twentysomething woman with an incurable need to keep moving, but without any real sense of direction. As she finds her own way, so too she hopes to help her family put their problems aside.

Review Excerpts

“The author weaves a moving and realistic portrayal of a dysfunctional family with enough drama and humorous family situations that will keep the reader engaged and entertained, while providing…subtle messages of life lessons to extend the olive branch and learn to live, love and forgive.” Jersey Girl Book Reviews

“The sequences of Silvia’s recollections into the past with her strong willed, born ahead of her time grandmother, the jobs she has held, and lost as it were, are nothing short of brilliant.” Chapters and Chats Book Reviews

“Grace’s intimate knowledge of her subject shows in her frank and open style of writing, which invites the reader into the lives of the Greco family, as though they were long lost friends and therefore there is no need to stand on ceremony, or pretend that things are not just as they are. An amazingly perceptive, cleanly written and well told story, marks Grace Mattioli’s debut novel.” Fiction-books.biz Book Reviews

“The author…manages to make us care about this family. All of the Grecos…are entertaining and their quirks are endearing. OLIVE BRANCHES DON’T GROW ON TREES is a very real drama that gets to the heart of the conflict within the Greco family.” Indie Reader Reviews

Best of 2012, Suspense Magazine!

DISCOVERY OF AN EAGLE (2014)

When Cosmo Greco and his sister, Silvia Greco drive to Portland together, a soulful American road trip is set in motion, but when a near-fatal car crash threatens to do more than derail the trip, the story takes a thoughtful turn, forcing Cosmo to re-evaluate his life. With wit and insight, Mattioli approaches such issues fear of change and what it takes to be truly happy.

Review Excerpts

“A warm blend of travel and observation, family interrelationships, and reflections that ultimately capture the meaning and purpose of getting away and journeying to new places…a soaring story of one man’s exploration of new possibilities, new worlds, and ultimately, a newfound purpose to life.” D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“The characters the two siblings meet along the way-whether delightfully crazy or attractive or lost-serve as foils for a kind of personal growth particular to a road-trip scenario, and the landscape of the vast space between the East and West coasts acts as a catalyst for emotional and spiritual change. Mattioli writes in an assured voice that carries the story through its potentially sentimental passages, and…by the end, (readers) may be surprised to find that they, too, have undergone an emotional odyssey…poignant and well-drawn.” Kirkus Reviews

“As you feel yourself traveling with these Grecos, you see Cosmo’s world open and expand with each cathartic, soothing and beautiful scene or person he discovers…If you are longing for change, feel stuck in your lifestyle and want to discover America come with Silvia and Cosmo to find the beauty that lies past your present world.” Ruth Amernick, reviewer for Library Journal

“The book isn’t just about Cosmo’s journey. It takes a hard look at the lives we live, the monotony we assume is a part of adulthood and the mediocrity we’re content to settle for. Through Cosmo’s shoes, the reader’s perspectives are quietly opened to new possibilities.” The Lit Room Literature and Film Reviews

THE BRIGHTNESS INDEX (2016)

This small collection of short stories all take place in Arizona and the characters who inhabit the stories are as unique and colorful as the place itself.  There is Stacy in Just Bring Your Own Food, a reluctant diner waitress who’ll do anything to keep her job, including chase down a thief. How Doc Holiday Saved Me is the story of a college girl living in a haunted house in Tucson who meets a mysterious pizza delivery guy who helps her get out of her lease. In Crazy Ted: a love story, a blond blue eyed man moves from Pennsylvania to Flagstaff and lets his inner cowboy out and falls in love with a beautiful Navajo woman. Something he could see himself In is the story of a born-again Christian tattoo artist and his quest to find the perfect tattoo for the one remaining empty spot on his back. In So She Could See the Color Plue, a misfit wants desperately to fit in in the only place on earth where she can see the most magical colors in the sky. 

“…Grace Mattioli gives her short stories little twists to make seemingly-predictable plots turn into exceptional reads through a character’s gritty determination to rise above their circumstances…All these stories offer food for thought, and all are bound together by positive human contact. Set against an Arizona backdrop, they’re gems of interpersonal relationships that illustrate how “stuck” people become unstuck and change.” Midwest Book Review

WHERE THERE IS NO PATH (forthcoming)

Donna chafes against her artistic freewheeling brother’s endeavors until a discovery causes her to evaluate what it takes to be truly happy. This is the story of a woman who spends her entire life trying to save her brother but he ends up saving her, giving her the fortitude to leave behind the life she believed to be the life she always wanted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Mattioli is the author of two novels–Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees (2012) and Discovery of an Eagle (2014), which both feature a quirky, dysfunctional, yet highly lovable family named the Grecos.  She is currently working on a novel which features the same family. She also published a small collection of short stories entitled The Brightness Index (2016). 

Interview Questions

  1. What led you to writing your debut novel, Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees?
  2. Why did you decide to feature the same family of your debut novel, (The Grecos) in Discovery of an Eagle and in your forthcoming novel?
  3. Why did you decide to make your second novel a road story?
  4. Are your novels autobiographical in any ways?
  5. Are there recurrent themes that run throughout your novels?
  6. Who are you writing for, or who do you consider to be your target audience?