Frances, as a HUGE fan of your work, and someone in love with both the South and Italy, I am so excited to write to you! This. may be a double question, so I apologize in advance! First, as an aspiring "writer as a second career in life", how often did you write when you were first getting started? And second, where do you find inspiration...or do you just write what is on your mind, and organize later?
I don't recommend my habits--I'm erratic. I write in fits and starts, not on any sensible timetable. This is suitable for poetry--more "inspired" writing. I did write Under the Tuscan Sun in great bursts of enthusiasm. The novel, Swan, was more labor intensive. Whatever works to get the words on the page! I find my mind focusing on subjects or images, like a bee going for the heart of the rose. What obsesses you is likely a good subject to mine.