Livin’ La Dolce Vita!


“Malena Lott’s charming, heartfelt novel…will have you cheering ‘bravissimo’ as ‘Mona Lisa’ experiences her own Renaissance, courtesy of one very hot

 Leonardo da Vinci.”

– Award-Winning author Jenny Gardiner, Sleeping with Ward Cleaver


Ramona Elise is in a rut—a 36-year-old widowed mother of two, she can’t seem to find what make her truly happy in life. Making sure her kids are happy isn’t the hard part; Ramona’s looking for the passion she lost two years ago when she lost her husband and her world turned upside down. When a handsome Italian immigrant walks into her English class, Ramona never expects to find la dolce vita (the sweet life)  in a younger man—or in her self!

Come experience a renaissance to love and life as Sourcebooks Casablanca presents the heartwarming novel Dating da Vinci by Malena Lott (ISBN: 9781402213939; Fiction; $12.95 US/$13.99 CAN/6.99 UK; November 2008).


“Written smartly…satisfying and uplifting.”Publishers Weekly

This book was an extremely well written story that captivated me from the very beginning. I fell in love with the characters and Ramona’s journey… I will definitely be

 reading more by Ms. Lott.– The Book Binge



Finding herself on a new path wildly different than the one she envisioned with [her husband,] Joel,” comments BookList’s Annie McCormack, “Ramona Elise (or Mona Lisa, as da Vinci calls her) learns to open her heart to new possibilities in order to find la dolce vita in Lott’s delightfully affirming romance.”


“…a Texas-based hybrid of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Under the Tuscan Sun. Happily, Lott takes her story in several surprising directions: she throws some serious curveballs in her wise-in-the-ways-of-love Italian stereotype, and Ramona, in a refreshing plot twist, discovers that some of her carefully nursed unhappiness was the product of her own insecurities…it’s thoughtful, heartfelt, and undeniably engaging.” – Word Candy


By facing the suspicions of her late husband’s infidelity, and coming to terms with the fact that love never truly dies – it is just passed on – Ramona paves a path to a new romance and outlook, straight to la dolce vita!


This is a heartfelt, well written account of a woman’s search for self after losing her husband.  Malena Lott is a skilled writer and I look forward to reading more from her.


About the Author

Malena Lott writes humorous and heartfelt mainstream women’s fiction novels. With national speaking experience, she is a brand and marketing consultant and facilitates personal and professional development workshops for women. Dating da Vinci is Malena Lott’s second novel. Lott is a married mother of three and resides in Oklahoma. Lott invites you to her web site where she has posted cooking videos, and contests: www.malenalott.commalena2


Judi: I can’t wait to get my copy! This sounds like such a romantic book. What pulled you into this story and, as a writer, made you think, “I have to write this? What do you consider the heart of the story?

Malena: Women, especially mothers, tend to put themselves last on the list. I wanted to share the story of someone who has lost the love of her life and has focused on just “getting by” each day, but is ready to find a way to be joyful again, even through the pain. The heart of the story really is, is there love after death, and the courage it takes to not only survive but to build a great life again.

Judi: The title is wonderful. How did you come up with it?

Malena: The title came pretty quickly, early on. I love alliteration and really wanted to incorporate da Vinci since he’s the catalyst that starts Ramona’s renaissance. Since publishers have final say, I don’t get too attached to my working title, though. I do like getting credit for this one, though! Of course the book isn’t just about da Vinci and romance is only a part of the story, but I think it’s catchy and hopefully it will catch people’s eye to learn more about the book.

Judi: What great characters, and I love the play on Leonardo’s name. How do you come up with your characters’ names?

Malena: I spend a great deal of time with character names, even when I snatch them from real life. I used a lot of word play in Dating da Vinci. For Ramona Elise Griffen, you can pull “Mona Lisa” and “Grief” from her name. Leonardo is of course named after the real da Vinci and shares a lot of common traits with the genius. Pretty much all the characters have meanings in their names since Ramona is a linguist and it fits with the theme of the book.

Judi: What’s your author fantasy?

Malena: Writers already have active imaginations, so this one is a no brainer. Vision board, here I come!  Hit the top 10 of the New York Times bestseller list, have a long line waiting for me when I arrive for book signings, have my books optioned for films that actually get made and made well, and a few national TV appearances to boot. TODAY show, The View, Oprah, you know. Just the small stuff, you know? Not that I’ve given any of this much thought. Not a bit.

Judi: Do you have an excerpt posted?

Malena:   You can read the first chapter at

Thanks so much, Malena and I wish you all the success…and, of course, a dolce vita!