1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I guess that writing has always been in the offing for me. My great-grandmother was a well-known author in her times and my father was a prolific writer. I started to try my hand at short stories in my early teens, but then very judiciously stuffed all my (horrible) work in a drawer, never again to see the light of day (except every now and then, when I want a good laugh). Then, one day in 2001, I woke up knowing that I had to write the story that had been taking shape inside my head and wasn’t letting go of me. That’s how my first full-length novel, Crossing the Meadow, came about. At that point, I knew that not writing, was no longer an option for me.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
My latest action thriller, Exodus ’95, blends my love for thrillers, and for the places where I grew up (Italy) and where I live now (Israel). It was relatively easy to write because I know the places where the action takes place in the book and have met people who remind me of some of the characters. The idea of turning the biblical narrative of the parting of the Red Sea into something relevant to our days was also an idea with which I had been toying for some time.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The book is pure entertainment, with no deep message—except that it wants the reader to see how different people may be from what you know them, and how they may grow when facing an abnormal situation. Our neighbor may be much less boring than we think, and at times, deadly so.
4) What drew you into this genre?
The real answer is that the characters did. I started out writing light, non-gory horror, but then I lost control. What happens is that you start thinking of a setup, then you meet your principal characters and get acquainted with them, and all of a sudden they grow a mind of their own and your plot goes in an altogether different direction than you originally planned. I think that with thrillers it comes very naturally to “listen” to your characters and to grow together with them into a story that you really enjoy writing. Other genres require more adherence to a detailed plot, which is fine in many cases, but not as fun as re-plotting on the go.
5) If you could sit down with any of your characters and ask them a question, what would you ask them and why?
I sit down with them, all the time! But I don’t ask them many questions; rather, I let them move around and do things while I play the observer. So, if I could sit down with the protagonists of Exodus ’95 and ask indiscreet questions, I would certainly try to find out how their relations changed from a pure business association into much more, and what was the turning point for each of them. I sometimes wonder whether they managed to fool me and started having feelings for each other while I wasn’t looking.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook, no question about it. I’m sure that other sites may be helpful too, but I have experimented with others, like Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and I simply don’t have the time (or the patience) to follow best practices. Facebook comes more naturally to me, as I feel that you can really get to know people and interact with them in a personal, non-phony way.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Developing a writing career is a slow, painful, disheartening and unbelievably exciting endeavor. If you decide to become a writer, prepare yourself to a long and hard course. You need time aplenty to develop your craft, to understand what really works for you, and to find your readership. If you are ready to go for the long haul and understand what you’re getting yourself in for, go for it, because there is no greater satisfaction that I can think of. But if you expect your first (or fifth, or tenth) book to become an immediate bestseller and mint money for you, find another hobby, because you are in for a heartbreaking experience.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I am halfway writing a dystopian novel and I’m having a ball with it. With my grandchildren’s help, I’ll release it by next June. If they stop helping, probably by next March.