It's hard not to be at least a little bit curious about a writer like Matthew Kneale. After all, he speaks 7 languages (sort of, at least), comes from a family of writers, and writes about subjects as diverse as arms dealers, Ethiopian mothers, Chinese wives and Middle England.
And on top of that, he gets to live in Rome.
When his novel "When We Were Romans" was published in Britain last year (it's now newly released in the US this summer), he sat down with the Independent's Katy Guest for an interview which confirmed my suspicion that he's a pretty interesting guy.
Perhaps my favorite gleaning from that piece (other than the image of his time spent at the beautiful Santa Maddelena writer's retreat near Florence – he says he suffered from writer's block there but it's hard for me to feel too terribly sorry for him) is his story about finding subject matter for "When We Were Romans."
Kneale had already produced the award-winning novel "English Passengers" (a historic novel about British smugglers and a revolution in Tasmania) and a short story collection called "Small Crimes in an Age of Abundance."