Interview with P.I.Kapllani

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I go on internet and search for the bestsellers. Another way of discovering the e books is Facebook, book launches of my fellow friends, or even movies. Some good movies were based on most rated novels. Ads on the daily newspapers play a significant role on putting an e book under a spotlight. Interviews of other writers push me as a reader to download their books and read.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I run my own pizza joint for a living. I named it "Albany Gourmet Pizza" in June 2005, but the shop was opened in May 6th 2008. I work seven days a week, so when I find few minutes I go in front of my laptop and write, with my eyes watching the cameras for the customers who might come in.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a story about two brothers who fell in love with the same girl. The older brother was called Tomorr, a mountain in Southern Albania. The younger brother was called Shpirag, a smaller mountain facing the other. The girl's name was Berat, the name of the city where my mom was born. The brothers fought each other to death, since only one of them could get the girl. Tomorr became so angry with his brother as he slashed Shpirag with his sword. Even these days you can see the slices that Tomorr cut on Shpirag's shoulders. The younger brother fought back with artillery. His bombs opened deep craters on Tomorr's back. The fight was so fierce, as Berat cried so much as from her tears the river Osum was created. This was a tale from my grandma, which I tried to rewrite it.
What is your writing process?
It"s an ongoing process which might last for years. It took me more than fifteen years to finish "The Wild Boars", which I submitted it to a publishing house recently. I am writing another novel called "Acheron", which is based on my previous novel "Visitor in Hades", published in 2005 in Albanian. It took me another ten years to rewrite the draft and develop it all over again. This is going to be my next novel. Rewriting is the key to success, I guess. There is no reason to rush it. If I rush it, I'll definitely fail. Time is very expensive and to be honest I don't have time to waste it for no reason. I keep my best book in a back burner and wait. And wait! And wait! My inner feelings will show me when that magic time would come to make my book public. And it's not just that: I write in a second language, since my mother tongue is Albanian. It's a daily fight for every word if I have to put it this way.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was a teenager when I started to read. I remember that I used to read until three o'clock in the morning. I loved reading novels like "the Last of the Mohicans", "The General of the Dead Army", "David Copperfield", "The man and the sea" and many other stories. The impact on me happened in later days, when I read "Dolan's cadillac", a story written by Stephen King. A man who takes revenge for the death of his wife. That story made me a writer. I used the same point of view and wrote "The Hunter", which was chosen as one of the best novellas for 2015 by "Quattro Books" It was shortlisted! Then I expanded the story and wrote it all over again, producing "The Wild Boars".
How do you approach cover design?
I have a friend of mine who is a computer geek and I discuss with him my ideas. We brainstorm each other and decide for a book cover and suggest our ideas to the publisher. It depends on the publisher what to do with it.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books are "Devil wears Prada"-by Lauren Weisberger, "Madame Bovary"-written by French writer Gustave Flaubert, "The Old man and the Sea"-by Ernest Hemingway, "War and Peace"-Leo Tolstoy, "General of the Dead Army"-Ismail Kadare. I am really sorry that I can't mention all my favorite books, but they are so many and you asked me just for five titles. Every one of them is unique on its own. These works will never die and always will satisfy their readers. These are stories full of life. The characters are so real, as they don't let you down until you turn the last page.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read online newspapers usually, but I like reading novels the most. Writing a novel is like building a corporation. A novel is like a home with big and strong walls, with a roof standing on top. It would be a pleasure to read short stories as well.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I would say a book launch is most effective for marketing. A personal website would help to present yourself to the readers. Keeping in touch with your local newspapers and beyond would help to increase your audience. Giving interviews and publishing short excerpts would be a very effective technique to promote your work.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Albania, reading "Oh you mountains of Albania"-Naim Frasheri, who was one of the most prominent figures of the Albanian National Awakening, a poet and a writer who made a nation. Ismail Kadare, Dritero Agolli, Ali Abdihoxha, Mitrush Kuteli, Migjeni, Fatos Arapi, Xhevahir Spahiu, Bardhyl Londo, Ndre Mjeda, Pashko Vasa and many other writers were the inspiration during the communist isolation of my country. Their works were like little windows for my generation. I wanted to write as powerful as them, taking my craft very seriously and polishing my writing as much as I could.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest novel is "The Thin Line" published by Mawenzi House. It's a story about a boy from Kosovo who testifies against Milosevic at the Hague and attempts to heal from the wounds of the past. Here is an excerpt:

I will not be Ermal Bllaca! I will be H91 from now on! What kind of name is this? Is this respectful to my cause? Who am I hiding from? Why should I care for my life, instead of being able to look at him straight in his eyes? I want to see it for myself, what he is going to feel, when I will describe what happened to my mother and my three sisters! Is there going to be sweat running down his face? Will his skin crawl? Will his complexion go pale? Any movement of his eyebrows?! Is he going to keep the same frozen expression, as if he is wearing an icy mask? I am a real person and not just a number! I don't really care what might happen to me, as long as I'll be able to slam the ugly truth on his face. If he has the guts to protect himself, I have the guts to point my finger toward him! Yes, my little finger! Who the hell does he think he is? Is he playing God or is he sunk in delirium? Where does he find the morale and the strength to fire his lawyers and defend himself in front of the court? What about me, the victim? Why shouldn't I have the braveness to tell him the truth? How on earth doesn't he want to see what he has done? No, this is not right!
Published 2018-09-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Queen Teuta and the Little Prince
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 1,510. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Historical / Other
Since Queen Teuta could not have a child, the king asked the village girl Anila to bear the royal baby. As time passed, Anila felt that the king and queen took her baby away even that she had given her consent.
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 17,790. Language: Albanian. Published: February 28, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » European
Mbretёria e Ardianёve ёshtё e rrezikuar nga Ushtria e Romёs, e cila nё njё operacion rrufe shtie nё dorё 54 anije ilire. Romakёt hapin çadrat buzё lumit Generus dhe po bёhen gati pёr tё sulmuar Lissusin.
Mbretëreshë Teuta e Ilirisë
You set the price! Words: 15,550. Language: Albanian. Published: April 9, 2016. Categories: Plays » Ancient & Classical
Do të kalonin më shumë se 12 vjet, që nga debutimi i parë i kësaj drame në konkursin mbarëkombëtar të dramës shqipe të organizuar nga Ministria e Kulturës së Shqipërisë. Nga 55 drama të paraqitura, "Teuta" do të kalonte tre kualifikime dhe do të renditej në 15 dramat e përzgjedhura për çmime, duke lënë pas autorë të tjerë të njohur.
Babai në shishe
You set the price! Words: 35,770. Language: Albanian. Published: February 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
E zhvarrosa babanë, ia dogja eshtrat dhe hirin e tyre e futa në një shishe. Tashmë e kam nën sqetull. Pastaj e vendos në një valixhe, që bën pjesë në bagazhin tim. Adresa e mbërritjes është ajo e vendit për ku prej disa vjetësh kam emigruar. Babai, pas kaq kohësh heshtjeje prej të vdekuri, më flet që nga brenda shishes:
Beyond the Edge
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 34,020. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
When a Russian friend told me that he brought his father"s ashes to Canada, I was intrigued by his story and inspired to write „Ashes to Ashes." It is contrary to Albanian tradition to cremate bodies and the thought of this man, an immigrant, bringing the ashes of a loved one to his new country made me think that we all have unusual stories in our lives, some which we bring from a previous life.
Queen Teuta Of Illyria
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 18,010. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Ancient
This play was buried in a drawer for six years, until I met Cheryl Antao-Xavier, the publisher of In Our Words Inc., who gave me the inspiration to go ahead with its translation from Albanian into English. Often lost in the translation, I thought I would not make it. I want to thank her from my heart for making my dream come true—the publishing of my first book in English. I am so excited and deli
The Last Will
Price: Free! Words: 51,620. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Fiction » Historical » General
The Last Will is the story of Albanian Cham, Muharrem Shahini, who on his death bed, asks his son Zylyftar to return to their homeland in Greece to retrieve twenty hidden land deeds for his fellow Chams, living in exile.