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

THE BIRD THAT SANG IN COLOR (release date: January 17, 2021)

Part family drama and part self-actualization story, this is about Donna Greco, who in her teens, subscribes to a conventional view of success in life—and pushes her freewheeling, artistic brother, Vincent to do the same. However, he remains single, childless and subsists in cramped apartments. She harbors guilt for her supposed failure until she discovers a sketch-book he’d made of his life, which prompts her own journey to live authentically.

 

While this textured story combines serious issues such as alcoholism, death, and family conflict, it’s balanced with wit and humor. We meet endearing, unforgettable characters as the story spans decades, beginning in 1970. Readers will be immersed in this tale as it poses an intriguing question: “What pictures will you have of yourself by the end of your life?”

“Hugely moving, beautifully rendered, brilliant,” Lidia Yuknavitch

“a refreshing family portrait about interpersonal evolution…presented with affection, humor, and insight…an inspiring slice of life blend of philosophy, psychology, and transformation that draws readers into a warm story and examines the wellsprings of creative force and legacies.” Midwest Book Review

“highly polished artistic prose…evolves fluidly; with great heart and humour…A consummate exponent in the art of storytelling and skilled in the imagery of words…Without exception, the characters are all emotionally complex…lyrical and lovingly written…profound and thought provoking,” Fiction Books Biz Book Reviews

“a heartfelt family story told with grace and humor,” Rose City Reader

 

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.  Her forthcoming novel features the same family and is entitled The Bird that Sang in Color. She also published a small collection of short stories, The Brightness Index (2016). 

 

Interview Questions

  1. What is your forthcoming novel, The Bird that Sang in Color about?
  2. How does this book tie into your previous novels and is there a particular order in which they should be read?
  3. What was your inspiration for writing this book?
  4. How did you come up with the title for this book?
  5. What do you want to resonate with readers after finishing this novel?