Posted by Ognian Georgiev
– What is your latest novella, Goodbye, Padania, about?
– On the surface, it is about an extraordinary woman struggling against heavy odds to become ordinary in very hard times. At a deeper level, it is about the stupidity of racism.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– As a foreigner living in Italy, I was disturbed by the rise of a racist political party, to the point where it became part of the governing coalition and its leader was put in charge of the country’s immigration policy. I wanted to suggest politely that a racist state in the heart of modern Europe was not a viable proposition. And I wanted to have fun with my character, Daria.
– What was the biggest challenge during the writing process?
– Keeping track of the timeline, because the story dips into the past as well as the future.
– Tell us something more about your main character. Is it close to someone from your real life?
– I first named my main character Dario, after my boss of the time. Then I thought, “Why not make the killer a woman?”, and so Dario became Daria. A teenage victim of a predatory priest, her emotional detachment and single-mindedness allow her to flourish as a professional assassin. She gets fed up with killing people she does not personally hate, and tries to develop an alternative, but still finds herself having to choose between killing and being killed.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I wrote the novella as a series of short stories over a couple of years. Most of these appeared in an online literary magazine, The Hiss Quarterly. I published the novella as an e-book in 2012.
– What can you say about the Linehan series and your book Murder By Suicide?
– Linehan is an anti-hero, a sort of negative Candide. He, too, arrives in “Padania”, and what he encounters reawakens his long-dormant conscience. A second adventure sees him in China, trying to be good in the face of multiple temptations.
Murder By Suicide suggests how our secret services manage to kill with impunity.
– Who are you?
– An international vagabond, born in England and now happily retired in Italy.
– What are your writing habits?
– When I was still working, I wrote in the evenings, when inspiration struck me. Now that I’ve retired, I write during the day and keep the evening for other pursuits. Working on my first novel has made me more reliant on planning and less dependent on inspiration.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book, and do you plan another one?
– All my publishing efforts so far, namely this novella and a number of short e-books, have been preparation for publishing and marketing my novel, Revolution Number One, now in its second draft. I think I have learned a satisfactory amount, without unduly inflating my bank balance.
– What are you doing to promote your book in the best possible way?
– I belong to an authors’ mutual cooperation group and post on its blog, The Write Room. I also post on social media and I’m about to start a newsletter. However, the best sales tool that I have found is old-fashioned word of mouth (allied to new-fangled word of mouse).
– You have worked in many fields during your life. Which one of your jobs did you do with the greatest pleasure?
– I’m a soccer fan, so my best job was working as a translator at the Media Centre in Rome for the 1990 World Cup. The Olympic Pool was drained to house the Media Centre, and we could enjoy a swim in the training pool before and after work. I also got in to see the Final on a service ticket.
– Your books are in different genres, such as speculative fiction, psychological drama, poetry, short stories. How do you manage to switch between different themes and styles of writing?
– The point of my writing is psychological and social drama. I concentrate on that and let the “genres” take care of themselves.
– What is your Top 3 of the best places in the world that you have visited?
– The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Halong Bay in Vietnam and Inle Lake in Burma. I’d also like to say that although Sofia is not the most beautiful city in Europe, I really enjoyed the year I spent living and working there, in the late Nineties.
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– How can a writer with a tight deadline go eight days without sleep to meet it? By sleeping at night.