Marc Fitten is a native of New York City, but has lived in the Atlanta area since high school. He has recently completed his novel "Valeria's Last Stand." I was introduced to Mr. Fitten through my friend Dale Israel, the sponsor of many "Novel Exchange" events in the Atlanta area.
We lived in the Bronx until I was 15. We moved to Atlanta in 1989. We'd been going to Catholic school and we did the same here. My sister and I both went to Marist. My initial impression was that it felt very much like a television show or a John Hughes film. We were city kids who were suddenly in the suburbs.
After Marist I puttered about a little and then went to Europe. I stayed for five years. I went to college when I returned -- first at Georgia Perimeter and then at Kennesaw State. I finished with a Masters in Professional Writing and just recently I began a PhD program in creative writing at Georgia State.
I've wanted to be a writer since the 10th grade. In fact, it's the only thing I wanted to be. My parents were terrified for me.
I left because I wanted adventure. I looked at all these artist's lives and saw that the writers I liked had lived abroad. I thought I'd be like Ernest Hemingway or Henry Miller. I was a kid. I took my savings, took off, and had a blast. I was broke for many, many years, but I didn't feel that way. I was writing bad novels and I was living life.
The idea for the book came from watching older people deal with monumental changes in their society. The fact is, the transition to democracy and capitalism was hard on them. A lot of people couldn't adapt quickly enough and suffered. That's the germ of the idea that got me started. I wanted to comment on change. More specifically, I was walking down the street and heard two old men talking about how a golden era of their country's history seemed to have ended and nobody cared. It was an interesting idea that I wanted to run with. You know, there's only the time we have -- and it's golden because we choose to make it that way or not, and it takes constant effort to live the life you want.
My book is doing very well in Europe, and I'm happy about that. It's been a bestseller in Germany and it's about to be released in Italy--L'ultimo Amore di Valeria. I toured in Germany and I'll be in France when that edition comes out. So, i'm definitely busy. My goal, though, is to finish the second book and figure out how to live the life of a writer more fully. I'll also finish my PhD or maybe get an MFA. Maybe a university would want me to visit as a lecturer or even hire me as a faculty member. As long as i get to be a writer, I' m not worried too much about the day to day.
A message for your readers? How about: "Hello girls! I hope you'll give my book a look. Thanks for being readers! I'm great fun at book clubs and dinner parties."