Interview by Don Massenzio, see the author blog.
Today we sit down with author Claudine Giovannoni. She is going to tell us about her inspiration and work.
Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions:
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I loved to intrigue people with my stories since I was able to speak… I always kept a diary and when I started flying around for work, I used to write down many things from my feeling, the countries I visited, the people I met, about their habits… albeit some funny and some sad stories.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
A couple of years. I am never in a hurry, and the ideas have to first ripen… priorities are my kids and family, my cats… I am morally involved protecting fauna and flora (my husband is the World Wildlife Foundation – WWF president in southern Switzerland)… as Buddhists, we have much to share with whom are interested. I build up several ideas of changing the bad things happening in the world, so I start giving a good example.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I go around with a moleskin block notes. Ideas happen during the most improbable moments; I keep a trace, make some drawings, and try to fix the “instant” sometimes with music… but most of all I need to be in a quiet place, with some of my cats, the laptop, and my notes.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to imagine something magic, although for many people magic require such an openness of mind to understand…
Q5) How are your books published?
I was lucky enough to get my books published the traditional way. I am afraid I would not be able to be an “indie” even I do not know from where I should start. I need to have a book in my hands. Feel the paper and get the smell of the ink into my nostrils.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Mostly from my dreams. I am capable of dreaming with open eyes as well… Actually, there is always some autobiographical note… especially when I describe places and/or peoples.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, when did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first novel is a kind of collections of many adventures I told my kids when they were little. It was around 14 years ago. In the book, I describe many places I have seen when working for an airline, and the “adding” some touch of fantasy. There are four dragons, the protectors of the Earth, Fire, Water, and Air, which are taken from the old Japanese mythology.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Travel around the world with or without my family, be in nature or stay lazy with my beloved cats… or help others.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
The Lord of the Rings
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They all love my novels (or if they do not, actually then do not tell me). Sometimes you need to be captivated by the topics, which are tied up with myths, especially the Irish ones, and the traveling everywhere around the planet. We have such a beautiful Home! It is important to describe it with many emotions; this should help people to care more for Planet Earth…
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That dreams took consistency.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
The “cleaning up and cutting down” to make a story more easy to read and understand. Sometimes I am very poetic and I like to express it by digressing in descriptive details very precise. The reader (maybe closing her/his eyes to ease the process) may be convinced of being personally in the story.
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I published five books, but my favorite is the last one that is not jet published. Taiga’s Dream tells a story about a cellist and her daughter, a prodigy young violinist… Fiona Moira and Vladimira took the Tran Siberian train to the Lake Baikal: there is the mysticism of the Shamans and the magic of Music in each page. Both my kids and my husband just inspired me, since they are musicians.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
Actually, I prefer to call myself “citizen of the world”, I am not a writer.
I still learn each day something more from all the bloggers and books I read… I do not know if there is a “perfect” writer, each one of us can write. I try just to remain myself, a person in love with life, who cares about nature and all sentient beings. Writing is a way to give others to feel some special emotions, to take them along the story and really make them “participate” and be involved. I guess is important, to be honest with the readers and share with them openness without bluffing.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
Some people do not like to write feedbacks and I do not ask or force them, sometimes I can tell from a cute smile that a friend loved a story I wrote. Others say that you need to read a couple time my novels since there are so many details that you miss because you hurry ahead to see how the plot develops. For some of them maybe I am a bit too much poetic within descriptions… but there are not enough words to describe the beauty of a sunset!
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
Sensitive people. People who want to change the world for the future generations, people who are convinced they can make a difference! The one who believes strongly in a better world and into the power of our mind to reach the highest goals. How to explain it? An adult who still nourish the child inside himself… if this is enough clear for you.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
Depends, on the audience. I am very meticulous when I choose a new book. I do not like to be misguided by marketing actions, which are the makers of the best sellers, mostly full of sex and violence. I like to plunge into something quite different, something that leaves me a strong emotion but has not to be by forced empathy. Definitely, this is very subjective and maybe related to a special personal mood.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I guess am still a little girl, believe me.
I wanted to become an astronaut. I did not even start getting serious into it since I was not good in math and physics’. Anyhow, I spent more than 12.000 flight hours at 10.000 meters above the sea level… isn’t that amazing?
Q19) Where can we find your books?
The first four, in the original Italian version, you may order them on the web IBS or directly in a bookshop; the last Novel “The Annwyn’s Secret” is translated into English by Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. – London and is available on Amazon.
Q20) Can we learn more about you and your writing?
Yes. Click on this link for an article about one of my books:
Il Kumihimo del Sole (novel – Seneca Edizioni Torino 2006 ¦ Italian)
Il Cristallo della Pace (novel – Seneca Edizioni Torino 2010 ¦ Italian)
Nebbie nella Brughiera (novel – Seneca Edizioni Torino 2009 ¦ Italian)
I quattro Elementi (illustrated story – Macromedia Edizioni Torino 2010 ¦ Italian)
Tracce (poetry anthology – Edizioni Ulivo Balerna 2011 ¦ Italian)
Il Segreto degli Annwyn (novel – Edizioni Ulivo Balerna ¦ Italian)
The Annwyn’s Secret (novel – Austin Macauley Ltd. – London ¦ English)
Connect with Claudine: