Hello, everyone! Today, the lovely Sami Gardner is having me at Queer for Books for a chat about my writing - especially my love for magical realism and the international writing scene!
9. You were raised in Northern Italy and now live in London. How does your international background influence you as a writer?
I’m glad you asked, because I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a lot recently. For quite a long time, I thought it would hold me back. The first and major issue is that I had to learn to write in a second language that’s very different from my mother tongue, and it’s really not easy; it’s a constant challenge. I’ve only been writing in English for about four years and, while I think I’ve made significant progress – looking at my early attempts is quite embarrassing! – I still have a lot of work to do.
I also thought the cultural aspect of things would be an issue. After all, working in the American market, the vast majority of contemporary, mystery, noir, etc. novels are set in the US; and not knowing ‘American life’ well enough felt, for a long time, like an insurmountable obstacle. I think it’s part of what pushed me towards genre fiction and made-up worlds: it just always felt like stories set in my country, talking about the society and customs I experience everyday, would not have the same popularity as ‘American stories’. After all, even the most famous TV series or movies are always American; Italian literature and cinema tend to remain local, to remain a curiosity. I didn’t think an American audience would be interested.
But lately I’ve started to change perspective, thanks in no small part to some very enlightening conversations with fellow non-American authors. I realized that there aren’t many authors with my cultural background as well as a good knowledge of the English language and experience in the American publishing industry; therefore there aren’t many authors that can take the unique and largely unknown features of my culture and present them directly to an international audience. Now I believe this is a unique opportunity; there are unique stories in my culture that deserve to be told, and that I hope international readers will find interesting. I have decided that it’s not fair to push them aside and try to adapt to the ‘mainstream’ market. I want to go back to my cultural origins, and make them the heart of my writing. The process won’t be easy and won’t be quick, but this is the direction I want to take.
Read the rest of the interview HERE!