living in italy stef smulders

Meet Stef Smulders, author of Living in Italy, the Real Deal

HI everyone, and this week it’s the turn of Stef Smulders, an expat living in Italy with a lot to say about living in a foreign country. Stef, his partner Nico and their dog Saar emigrated to Italy to start a new life and set up their B&B Villa I Due Padroni. They sold their home, left their friends and family behind and took a leap into the unknown. In, Living in Italy, the Real Deal, Stef shares his experiences of emigration: buying and renovate a house, importing a car, becoming resident, and much more.

What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

Wow, what a starter! Probably no-one really knows that I sometimes (or often?) can feel quite detached from the external world, as if people, animals, things do not really exist (it is difficult to explain, sorry). When I am that mode (or mood) I have to concentrate to realize that these things do really exist, independently of me.

What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?

That the reader could not put down the book and stop reading.

Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?

I did in fact a lot of other things before I started writing: PhD in mathematics, bacherlors degree in Medieval Culture, work as a Traffic Engineer. I only discoverd my writing skills and my joy in being creative in producing research reports.

Have you ever written naked?

As the best ideas usually come to you in the middle of the night: yes, I have, getting up from bed to write down what came to me (only to discover the following morning, fully clothed, that at least 50%, well rather 90%, was rubbish).

Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?

This one is very tempting (Kevin Spacey, are you there?), but no, I have no idea really.

What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?

Rewriting the material from my blog in a form that would make sense to readers that do not know me.

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

Force yourself to start and forget all the misgivings you have (as I still have) about probably not being able to write something sensible. Take a deep breath, relax and GO!

How do you remain sane while working?

You seem to suppose I was sane before starting?

Are you jealous of other writers?


Where do you find your inspiration?

In stories people tell me, events of daily life, on vacation.

What is the strangest thing you have ever had to do to promote a book?

Attend a theatre show of a Dutch comedian only to have the possibility to meet him afterwards and present him my book.

What is the book that you wished you had written?

Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (really, don’t want to sound snobbish, it’s just that good).

What is your favourite TV moment of all time?

Many scenes from the British Tv-comedy ‘Yes, minister’, diffcult to relate and the scene from, again a British tv-comedy, ‘Fawlty Towers’ where a very haughty lady with a hearing aide  pesters Basil (John Cleese) so much that he decides to play mute, moving his mouth without making a sound. Upon which the lady adjusts the volume of her aide and Basil shouts at her at the top of his voice. Or (you got me started) the scene where wants his Spanish assistent Manuel to say a specific thing, which he refuses (“I know nothinggg”) stubbornly until Basil syas: “ Say it! Now! Or one of us is ging to die!” Hilarious.



You can find  in Living in Italy, the Real Deal in paperback format here:

You can also catch up with Stef on his website here:



These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

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