Author Grace Mattioli Guest Post/Giveaway

Today we welcome Grace Mattioli, author of Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, to the blog. Please make her feel welcome. She has been kind enough to offer a kindle e-book for giveaway! Giveaway details below…please read post first.

The Use of Humor in Serious Fiction

When I began writing Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, I did not intend for it to be humorous, but when I read my first chapter to a group of fellow writers, I was delighted to find them laughing out loud.  I was really delighted when various people read my novel and told me how funny they found it to be. Because I chose to write about the serious theme of peace, I think that the use of humor in my book was especially important.  The use of humor in serious fiction is a great tool for driving a point home without sounding didactic or moralistic. 

In terms of character development, it is the funny quirks about characters that make them more real, more believable, and more lovable. Vince believes that the recent preponderance of books about war is a government conspiracy. As a lawyer, Frank bartered with clients who could not make their whole legal fee.  Angie is obsessed by the fact that she lives in the very same neighborhood as Bruce Springsteen and is determined to find his house. Donna is constantly plagued by some new self-diagnosed ailment that keeps her following one trend diet after the other.  

Humor can really enhance dialogue. Cosmo tells Silvia that she would have better luck making peace in the Middle East than within their family.  Frank finishes his monologue of complaints with the phrase “I can’t complain.”  And last but not least, humor greatly adds to the fun of story.  Silvia listens to her boss, a full grown man rant on about the importance of Gummy Bears.  Donna is sexually harassed by the Three Little Pigs at Disney World.  What fun!

Amazon Synopsis:

Imagine you are asked to plan a gathering for a feuding family of six that has not been gathered together in over six years. Add to this the fact that the parents of this family are newly separated and that your own life is falling apart. This is the challenge that befalls twenty-three year old Silvia Greco when she is drafted into helping her mother plan a party for her younger brother’s high school graduation. She takes it on, and in doing so, must negotiate with each member of her family, appealing to their individual needs and interests, in order to get them to go. Through this process, she learns that peace is not something that is easily achieved or freely existing. It is something that needs to be created, cultivated and nurtured. In other words, she learns that “olive branches don’t grow on trees.”
This story is filled with insight, humor and lovable, quirky characters. The father, Frank, works as a judge in a local courthouse, and spends his spare time drinking, cooking food that no one eats and maintaining the most perfectly manicured yard in town. The mother, Donna, is a college professor, and is giving single life a go after spending almost all of her adult life with Frank. Angie, the eldest child, married rich and devastated her father by moving from south Jersey to north Jersey, which as far as Frank is concerned, might as well be another planet. Silvia’s older brother, Cosmo, is brilliant and great at everything he does, but is also a classic underachiever. Her younger brother, Vince, is bursting with energy and is on his way to save the world. And then there is Silvia: Energetic, idealistic, and young, striving to bring her family together, while also struggling to settle down and find a career in which she may utilize her artistic talents. She is extremely independent as she can drive across the country and move from place to place alone. She is highly adaptable and does whatever she has to do to get by, whether that be working as a nude model for art schools or a candy store manager at a mall. Last but not least is Grandma Tucci, who Silvia loves fiercely. She has passed away years ago, but remains with Silvia in spirit, almost as if guiding her through her adventures in the lessons of life, love and peace.


I’m Grace Mattioli, the author of Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees.  Originally from New Jersey, I currently work as a librarian in San Francisco, where I live with my husband and two cats.  I started writing when I was ten years old. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer; that I wanted to tell stories and make people laugh and cry and think; that I wanted to use words to paint pictures and make music.

In college, I studied English literature, and gravitated towards contemporary fiction. Some of my favorite and most influential authors include Flannery O’Connor, Hemingway, Edward Abbey and Douglas Adams. I love beautifully written prose and humorous fiction. I have taken several writing workshops, including some in fiction writing and screenwriting, and have written several short stories and some flash fiction which can be found on The Short Humour site: always dreamed of writing a novel but was not sure I had it in me until recently.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing “Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees” and plan on starting my next novel very soon.

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One KINDLE e-book of Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees is up for grabs. You know the drill. A comment about the post or question to the author is MANDATORY! For extra entries, please like her on Facebook and/or follow her on Twitter. Let me know in your comment/question that you did so that I can count it. Contest ends 9/12 at midnight CST.

To Like her on Facebook click  HERE

To Follow her on Twitter click HERE


Posted on September 10, 2012, in GIVEAWAYS and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This book sounds like something I would love! I can definitely relate to the line about having a better chance of making peace in the middle east then within a family. My own family is like that.

    My question for Grace is: Did you find inspiration from your own life for this book? Did any of your characters take on attributes from people you know personally?

    (I liked her on facebook)

  2. Thank you so much for your interest. I did find inspiration from my own life, and the characters do have attributes from people I know personally. But both the story and the characters took on lives of their own as the novel progressed. The characters really came alive off of the page! I really do hope that you have an opportunity to read my book.

  3. This will be a fun read for me! I can relate to some degree on bringing a feuding family together. I love a good busy read and this sounds like you will never get bored!

  4. I love when humor is used effectively in a book, especially when it enhances the characters or makes a serious situation bearable or more engaging! Sounds great!

  5. This sounds a lot like my family! I’m thinking this might be a book that I can share with the rest of my goofy clan after I finish 🙂

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