NEWS

GET TO KNOW THE AUTHOR


So hopefully, my images have drawn you into my page and you are wondering ‘Who is this woman who likes art and photography and says she’s an author?’

Good, I’m glad you’re here. I hope you stay a while and return often. My handlers say that the average visitor has the attention span of a dust mite. God, I hope that’s not the case with you. Tour the site. I promise to keep you entertained, but if you want to know more about me…well, grab a glass of red and have a seat. I’ll tell you a story. I assure you this will be better than reality TV.

I am the mother of two young women, aged twenty-five and twenty-one. They are gorgeous, brilliant, courageous and adventurous. They are musical and artistic. They are the future. But now, they are gone. I was married for twenty-one years; still am, but we’re separated. He’s down in St. Augustine, Florida and I remain in my home of twenty years in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. It’s a lovely place, built in the style of a Victorian farmhouse in 1879, cedar plank exterior over a brick base with stone shingle pitched roof. The interiors are chestnut, a species of wood which was wiped out soon after its construction in the great chestnut blight. I have a lovely garden on one third of an acre. Don’t laugh. This is a huge property for me on my own and is

very close to New York City. I am a lucky gal.

I love to garden and tend my flowers. I hate to mow, but I’m alone and refuse to hire a service. I’m often outdoors and entertain a lot. Again…don’t laugh, but I love to barbecue. I’m a better cook than most and I can barbecue better than anyone I know, from falling-off- the-bone ribs to salmon on a cedar plank. Everyone comes to my garden for cocktails and meals and I love it. I cherish face to face venues, although I think Facebook is a hoot too.

My home is filled with the hand-me- downs from three generations of my family plus the many acquisitions I’ve made antiquing and going to auctions. The public floor of my house (living and dining rooms) are filled with Empire furniture, paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. The sleeping floor is colonial and Gustavian Swedish. The top floor where I hang-out to watch movies or put up visiting guests in mid-century modern classics.

I was born in Rome, Italy in 1965. By the time I was a teen I related closer to hippies than the disco-dancing fools who surrounded me. I was a gangly youth and hated my height…almost six feet and thought I’d never be anything but a bean stalk. Then I filled out and hated it. Everyone stared at my chest and they called me a stick-bug with boobs in high school. That awkward stage passed quickly as I started modeling. I did this for thirteen years but never very seriously. Still, I roamed the fashion houses of New York and made friends with Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and many Italian designers. I found myself in Milan and the lake district three or more times a year for photo shoots and runway modeling. Some of my pics are actually me, but most are not. I’ve chosen carefully and whether me or another model, they all have the flavor of what I look like. I’ve been accosted in Italy lately by Italians who think I am a local actress and I am asked for photographs constantly. It was quite a compliment for the actress is more beautiful than I. Olive skinned, tanned, tall, slender and curvy, even at fifty, I’m pleased with the genes passed down by my parents. I am a combination of both my parents and have my father’s intellect and my mother’s charm and holistic take on life.

My dad was an American archaeologist and my mother an Italian sophisticate and hostess. Rome was home for the first six years of my life, then Paris and London, each for a year. When I came to the Upper West Side of New York, I spoke with an English lilt. I no longer do, but I use English words and idiomatic expressions all the time. I love the England of my youth and the head start I got in primary education while there.

I have travelled a lot. I won’t list the places but rest assured you’d be jealous. Comes from having a wealthy father and an international hostess of a mother. I have been to all points in Europe and the USA as well as to Africa and Asia, although with less frequency. I love to travel and do so all the time for work, but also to Italy two to four times a year to lecture on Roman Architecture and to unwind from my typically hectic New York lifestyle.

I attended the University of California at Berkeley then went for my Ph.D. at Columbia. My degrees are in Art History and Architectural History of the Roman Empire, although I also attended Pratt to get my architectural license. I practice in New York at a large firm where I head up a team of designers creating corporate interiors. I am often sought out to improve the health, happiness and productivity of the environments I create for my clients.

I married young and love my husband but he’s been distant ever since suffering a brain injury in an auto accident. It was his decision to move out, but I am pleased with my new-found independence. Just started dating again after many years of being dry.

Three years ago I started writing and my first book, Summer of ’71 was in many ways a catharsis. I was living a Walter Mitty life, imagining myself in the shoes of my characters and enjoying the physical intimacy which I lacked in my real life. At fifty, I cannot imagine continuing my professional career for much longer. The hours are long and the pressure high. I’d much rather make my living as an author.

My writing is mostly about Rome and Italy…at least, that is the backdrop. The romance and erotic aspects are all mine but a good friend helps with the thoughts and language of guys, as well as fact-checking and historical accuracy.

What makes me tick? I’m all over the place in this regard. I am a complex woman with many passions. I adore the arts and am an avid traveler and museum goer. I love food of all kinds. I’ll gladly eat a thick bloody steak, but love vegetables and greens of all kinds. My favorite cuisine is

sushi, a taste acquired years ago while visiting Japan multiple times. I enjoy the exotic things like uni, ikura, engawa, mirugai and yama imo. I cook Italian and am rarely satisfied at even the best local restaurants for I know I could do it better. The one thing in which I’m not accomplished in the kitchen is baking and perhaps desserts, although the artist in me can still provide something special in these areas as well.

I am artistic and have at one time or another made jewelry, painted in oils and acrylics, sculpted in bronze, potted and did flower arranging and event organization. I am a good photographer and videographer. I love to dance and was a member of the Columbia Quadrille Association, so I can

waltz and samba too! Love to dress up in period costume at masked balls in the city. I travel all the time. My lecture series on the architecture and town planning of the Roman Empire takes me regularly to Boston, Baltimore, DC, Chicago, San Francisco and LA. I also take groups for architectural tours to Rome itself twice a year. My tours are a wonderful time to engage my audience, to inspire and educate, but they are also about Italian culture, lifestyle, eating, drinking and nightlife.

I love to dress for the occasion and have far too many clothes. That’s a holdover from my modeling days when I walked off with several wardrobes of samples. I became addicted to decorating my body and playing a role; back then as an ornament, now as a professional woman in New York where one is apt to be judged by how you look. With little alteration, I can proudly say that I still fit in most of the clothes of my youth.

I’m a strong woman, both physically and emotionally, but I am also very girlie and prefer the company of a kind and cerebral man who is very dominant in the bedroom. Recent experience, however, has brought me to the conclusion that I also enjoy the attention of women, and in that regard, I am decidedly the dominant partner. I am just now beginning to explore that aspect of my long repressed nature. Mid-life crisis perhaps? No, mid-life escapades more likely. I’ve not felt so free to do what I like in years.

I love to take long drives in the country to balance my city life. I like to fish a pristine silver lake, but I do not like to hunt; just cannot bring myself to kill anything. My fishing catch gets returned to the lake. My best friend is my dog, Boris, a fluffy bright white Samoyed; the son of two champions and himself an exemplar of the breed. Everyone wants to pet him and I bought a tee shirt which reads Please Pet My Lonely Owner. Lol. That lasted for one trip to Central Park where it got out of control in the first half hour of our walk. A shirt better worn by a man, I think. I love to read and have managed to devour many of the classics, but I also enjoy fiction, mystery, adventure and suspense. I like Dan Brown, Tom Clancy (Yes, I’m a bit of a geeky techno gearhead type), JK Rowling, Jean Auel, Colleen McCullough, and on and on. I grew up with a father who was very masculine and fell in love with dinosaurs and militaria when I was a kid. Made me very popular with the boys and scored lots of points in college too. I revel in watching my daughters enjoy the same reactions from the men in their lives.

I love film, but my taste runs to classic movies of the thirties and forties. I like the actors of that bygone era as well; Gable, Flynn, Cooper, Taylor and the women; de Havilland, Leigh, Parker, Haworth, and many others. I like romantic comedies, musicals, and things which make me cry, something I enjoy doing! I am beyond sentimental and well-up with pride and patriotism. Having travelled the globe, I am conscious of just how amazing our country is; more the theory than the reality sometimes, but our founding fathers created something special and the vast array of people from all points on the globe who have come here to add to the American stew have made their mark.

I am a socialist who believes in government and active participation in the process of making a better life for everyone. I am pissed at the accumulation of wealth just for the sake of having more and would like to see a leveling of the economic playing field. I believe we should look after those less fortunate than ourselves. I believe in gender, racial, and age equality and am against discrimination of any kind. I believe that God is a woman and that men were placed on earth to serve us as devoted supplicants. Lol. Well, actually…I do believe that.

My writing is very personal. The erotic passages are assuredly me and if you want to know Rebecca Branch, just read my books. I hide nothing behind a curtain. But the things that make me who I am intellectually and culturally carry equal weight. I am sure that I would bore many to tears, but if you have a fondness for Italy, history, humor, relationship building, and self-awareness, you’ll get me and enjoy my writing. If you wish to date me, then just read my books and I will take you places you’ve never been, or perhaps to places you remember from your youth.

Welcome to my world.

Rebecca Branch