Adriana Trigiani, author of the New York Times' bestseller "The Shoemaker's Wife," returned to Williamsport Thursday night for the James V. Brown Library's 10th Annual Author Gala.
Trigiani, who also spoke at the third annual gala, said she considered the library to be a good luck charm because of the success that followed her after she visited the first time.
"James V. Brown Library is so beautifully operated and so devoted to the community that it's almost like a cultural center," Trigiani said.
Adriana Trigiani speaks at the James V. Brown Library’s 10th annual Author Gala, sharing stories about her family and her life at the sold-out event, held in the Williamsport Country Club on Thursday.
The crowd of more than 200 people in the Williamsport Country Club heard stories about different parts of Trigiani's family and life. She was raised in a small coal-mining town in southwest Virginia with a large Italian family. Her hometown became the setting and title of her debut novel, "Big Stone Gap."
Whether it was her mother who caused nearsightedness in her children because she never let them open the books all the way or their grandmother who kept a machete on her nightstand table in case the neighborhood thief came to visit, Trigiani let the audience know all about the people who helped define the characters in her story.
"The thing with my family, unlike me, is that they think they're in a book," Trigiani said. "It's true. Every life is a book."
During her speech, Trigiani announced that the money she was given to speak to them would be returned to the library, which helped make its fundraising goal.
Her interest in genealogy was sparked when she began traveling and hearing stories of the courage it took for the immigrants to come to America and build a new country.
"You can't just build a country," Trigiani said. "You need to build a community."
Part of that community comes from building a library. Churches and synagogues nurture the soul, but art, ideas, philosophy and architecture are all available at a public library.
"It's a great place to meet people of the opposite sex," she said, after explaining that she took a job when she was younger in an old-fashioned movie theatre to meet boys, but found that 99.9 percent of them already had dates.
The library serves a good place to meet people because she said by being there, you seem intelligent and you cannot say much.
"You'll meet a nice gentleman," Trigiani said.
Her newest novel, "The Shoemaker's Wife," is a multi-generational love story that spans two continents and two World Wars.
When writing historical fiction, she does not allow herself to change battles or dates.
"You can't move what actually happened," Trigiani said. "Anything else you can."
While writing the novel, she noticed that the actual timeline kept fitting perfectly with the information and the timeline she wanted to include in her novel.
Yet just because it worked out, did not mean it was easy to write. She said she had to work the novel, rework it, cut and cut some more.
"What this really is is this intense process," Trigiani said. "Hours and hours and hours of intense, focused labor."
Her next book will be out in 2013. Four of her books are in the works to become movies.