Frances Rivetti’s Literacy Landscape

Made Local (ML): What’s your background and when did you know you were a writer?

Frances Rivetti (FR): My background is in journalism. I was hired by my local newspaper in my senior year of high school in England and trained on the job as a reporter. I attended a three-year program with the UK National Training of Journalists. The first booklet I wrote and illustrated in elementary school was about the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

ML: You’re the author of multiple books set in our local area, including the Fog Valley books, Big Green Country, and most recently, The House on Liberty Street. How much does place factor into your work?

FR: I’ve written and published four books set in my adopted home territory of Sonoma/Marin counties and surrounding region. My Fog Valley books are non-fiction and my first two novels, Big Green Country and The House on Liberty Street, launched my foray into local fiction. I am writing a third novel set along the Sonoma coastline. I have a deep connection to the region after moving here as an immigrant and replanting my roots. I’ve raised my three sons in Petaluma and explored the area in-depth as a freelance journalist for 32 years. Community is key to my sense of place, and I find life here enriching and full of history and fresh intrigue.

ROOTED: Wordsmith Frances Rivetti’s stories bloom in the heart of Sonoma.


ML: Where else do you find ideas?

FR: Ideas for stories abound. I’ve a wide network of friends, neighbors, and community members with multi-generational knowledge of the area and its history. I’m equally interested in the region’s cultural and environmental development as we adapt to the needs of today’s population and future generations.

ML: You self-publish your books. What is that process like, and how does it feel to be able to be in charge of your work?

FR: Independent publishing has come a long way since my first release, in 2015. It’s empowering as an author to steer a book through the writing process, oversee editing and design, publication and distribution in a timely manner. Marketing is the hardest part, but I have a solid regional readership whom I consider my literary ambassadors in the area.

ML: You’ve collaborated with local artists for your book covers. Tell us about that process.

FR: I’ve enjoyed collaborating with local artists for original cover art. Nicky Ovitt illustrated my Fog Valley books and fellow British American Gail Foulkes illustrated The House on Liberty Street. Petaluma-based narrator Jennifer March narrated and produced the audiobook for The House on Liberty Street. It’s important to me to keep as much of my collaboration as possible local and around my kitchen table!

ML: What should locals know about you?

FR: Fog Valley Winter was awarded the Sonoma County Historical Society’s Editor’s Award in 2017 and an Independent Publishers Book Awards’ (IPPY) Silver Medal in the Holiday category. Big Green Country won a gold medal as best western regional fiction in the 2019 IPPY Awards. I’m an avid walker and backroad rambler, and I consider myself an ardent locavore, cooking fresh, seasonal foods in my Sonoma County kitchen for friends and family. I visit family in the UK each year, and I spent eight long but exciting hours amongst the huge crowd in the streets of London for the coronation of King Charles in May 2023!

Books and audiobook can be ordered through your local bookstore and online.

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