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Rome inspires Hamburg novelist

Gina Fava
HAMBURG — Skiing off of cliffs and being chased by secret service are two experiences that inspired Gina Pangione to publish her most recent serial killer thriller novel, “The Sculptor.”

With the maiden name Borgese, she grew up with the nickname “Bean.” Inspired by that name, but with an attempt to keep her personal and professional life separate, she has now published two book under her pen name, Gina Fava.

“Pangione is a real mouthful of vowels,” Fava said with a laugh. “So I figured, ‘Hey, Fava would be a great pen name,” with a play on the fava bean and a nod to her longtime nickname.

“To me, it was more or less a natural extension of just being called Gina Bean,” she added.

Fava is currently a resident of Massachusetts, where lives with her husband.

Originally from Hamburg, she was a student in the Frontier Central School District. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from the State University of New York at Buffalo, she went on to receive her master’s degree in international business from the American University of Rome. Next, she attended law school in Massachusetts at the Western New England School of Law.

She frequently visits Italy, as her father was born in Tuscany. Although, despite her travels – both abroad and within the United States – she said Hamburg will always be her home.

“I do so much traveling back and forth [to Hamburg] it’s like I never left,” Fava said.

What brought on the inspiration to write creatively for a woman heavily involved in business relations?

“I’ve always written short stories. I’ve always read a lot of thrillers,” Fava said. She added that her experiences studying in Rome and crazy run-ins with “international incidents” were the main literary drive toward her publications.

“The Sculptor” was heavily inspired and based on her experiences studying abroad in Rome.

Her first novel, “The Race,” was published a year ago. That book is also the first of a separate series; a sequel is in the works and Fava said she hopes to have it finished by this time, next year.

First of a series, “The Sculptor” is part “whodunit?” thriller and mystery with a romantic thread; that piece derives from meeting her husband, Jamie, at the American University of Rome, which made the novel a “kind of labor of love,” she said.

Within the novel, the main character goes to Italy to shed her past but finds out she is being stalked. A secret from her past is revealed and sheds some light onto who that killer is.

“It’s more or less the feel of Rome that inspired it,” Fava said in regard to her novel. “There are so many locations. So many secrets and history of Rome ... ruins and sculptures that inspire stories. I was determined to write about it. There were too many stories to be told.”

She said she draws inspiration from authors such as “Silence of the Lambs” Thomas Harris or techno-thriller author Douglas Preston, who actually gave comment about Fava’s most recent novel:

“A harrowing journey of nonstop action, with vivid settings, sympathetic characters, and a serial killer to die for. Highly recommended.” Preston’s style of writing is what Fava said she aspires to.

Fava said she supports local booksellers, with her publications. Her book was published through Steepo Press, an independent company.

“Going indie with a small press isn’t such a bad thing,” she added. The books will be available for purchase at big box stores, in addition to local shops. She will also hold a book singing on Thursday, June 26 at Talking Leaves Books, located at 3158 Main St. in Buffalo.

“It’s funny the camaraderie you have with indie book stores,” Fava said. “It’s the mom and pop stores. It’s grassroots; they gave you your start.”

Speaking of camaraderie, she said, “I invite all readers and writers to connect. The writing community, whether it’s local, national or international, it’s really inspiring. It really is.”

Visit to learn more about the writer and where to purchase her books.


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