Interview with Giuseppe Raudino

Giuseppe, you are an Italian author who writes in English: how is that?
The English language is simply great: so precise, so many words, so specific and so incredibly full of nuances. Take as an example the words 'safety' and 'security': they express two different meanings, but in Italian we just have one word ('sicurezza') and we need to rely on the context to assign the appropriate meaning. I could come up with an endless list of Italian ambiguous words like that... and I definitely prefer clarity.
I feel confident about the English language and I accepted the challenge with this novel. However, since I am not a native speaker, I decided to hire a professional editor from the US who checked my style and fixed some minor flaws before my novel was published at Smashwords.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I have been living for eighteen years in Syracuse (Italy), a small but incredibly beautiful city on the eastern coast of Sicily, which was founded in 734 BC by Greek settlers. Siracusa (as we call it in Italian) is therefore very ancient, and you can find monuments and beauty everywhere. This has influenced my writing heavily - as a matter of fact the sunny Syracuse is depicted in my novel Until Morning.
At the age of eighteen I moved to Siena (Tuscany, Italy) where I studied communication and got my masters degree. Siena was a different type of beauty - dark, Gothic, medieval - but I feel a deep bond with it. By the way, also part of the story told in Until Morning is set in Siena.
Getting back to your question, I do believe that all the places where I grew up are an indispensable source of inspiration for me.
What are the main themes in your writing?
Definitely North and South. I am a southerner who had decided to live in the North. Both worlds are fascinating to me, although they are thoroughly incompatible. The former is about rules, the second is about feelings... The North is precise, reliable, efficient, productive and cold; the South is flexible, unpredictable, frustrating at times, laid-back but sunny and warm. Both North and South have something that I am truly in love with and something that disappoints me, but never simultaneously. I guess it's an eternal opposition that can't be solved.
Another theme in my writing is the Coming of Age. My characters often are young adults, people who just entered the world of adulthood or are struggling with. At any rate, I'm pretty sure this is a crucial part of my life, and it's not a coincidence if I chose a profession that puts me in contact with lots of young people (editor's note: Giuseppe Raudino is a lecturer at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences of Groningen, the Netherlands).
Finally, I can say that interculturality is a narrative theme that is strongly present in my writing. The same way I experienced it in my life, also the environment that surrounds my characters is a mix of different nationalities, cultures, habits and customs. The dialogue between different cultures is obviously more complicated, but it usually generates fantastic results. I am convinced that it is always worth exploring diversity, because one is confronted with new mindsets that can only be followed by a reflective and learning moment - not to mention the diplomatic skills, which are naturally enhanced by interacting with people for different cultures... My characters travel a lot, encounter foreigners, let the curiosity lead their actions and they are never afraid of exploring.
How do you approach cover design?
One of the modules I teach at the Hanze University is named "Media Skills" and entails some knowledge of graphic design. I have realized my own cover page: first I think of a fresh color that might serve as a background and then I start spreading some items related to the story onto it. It's like a collage: I move things within the canvas, I hide some, I upscale or downscale. As soon as I reach a sort of balance with shapes, objects and colors, I move on with the type. I make a few different versions and finally I decide which one is gonna be the actual cover.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love reading travel guides, like Lonely Planet, because I can explore a place even before getting there. They're just amazing! I also like spy stories about international intrigues and intelligence services: within this genre, my favorite novelist is Frederick Forsyth. In my downtime on the beach, one of his books is as essential as my sunglasses and my towel.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Since I travel a lot, I needed a small device, but not that small to make my reading unpleasant. Furthermore, I hate carrying several devices around, so I leaned toward a phablet that encompasses all of them. I also have to admit that I am a great fan of Android, so I chose a Galaxy Mega with a 6.3 inch screen.
Describe your desk
Notes, scribble paper, my inseparable Sheaffer Legacy Heritage, a keyboard, a lamp and a phablet. I know it sounds tidy, but I swear it a mess.
Who are your favorite authors?
Umberto Eco and Milan Kundera, for the intellectual challenge. Andrea Camilleri and Frederick Forsyth for the lighthearted reading. I also like Noam Chomsky when it comes to essays about media, power and politics.
What is your writing process?
It always starts off with a seminal idea. Then I move on creating a basic story, which I gradually make more complex adding details and sub-storylines. I care about the internal structure of the novel, I need a clear vision about what will happen next to disseminate earlier some hints. Everything must be consequent, homogeneous, coherent. I learned how structure important is while studying semiotics.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like the freedom that an indie author can enjoy. I know quite well the traditional publishing industry and, as far as I can tell, the editors have the power to change your book radically. Yes, in the end your novel might get published, but the authors don't have the last say. Besides, all traditional publishers have to base their choices on very subjective and market-driven evaluations.
Being an indie author gives me one of the greatest opportunities in the world: I can be myself and I don't need to compromise with anybody.
Published 2014-06-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Until Morning
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 55,880. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » New adult, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Until Morning is a story about different nationalities, habits, customs, common places and stereotypes experienced by a bunch of university students, a lighthearted account on young people's life in a “double speed” Europe, where North and South are not simply a geographical diversity but, most of the time, a source of social disparity and a different way of meaning love, sympathy and solidarity.