Interview with Maria Pellegrini

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like to observe reality, undress it, then dress it up the way I see it or how it could be. Of course this needs readers who are capable of decoding the meaning. Looking at the story is not enough. It is like looking at a picture... what the readers take away is up to them. Publishers on the other hand want stories to sell. Stories that are trendy, that have stock characters, plots, heroes, villains, assassins, the fight of good against evil and so on. As long as the mainstream continues to want that, things will only change, if at all, very slowly and people like me will have no future in the recognised publishing industry. But will not want it either. Being an indie author is like being an artist in my own studio. If I want to paint my hero like a big hand with six fingers inside a kaleidoscopic reality I can do it, and in my own time. Together with techniques, styles and content I can also decide the format, the front cover, the distribution channels, and last but not least, the price!
What genre best describes your writing?
I find classifying writing by genre extremely unsatisfactory. Of course you need to give an indication of what your book is about but discoverability should come in a different way than tagging. A modern book cannot be constrained into a fixed genre, even if the classification is now enriched with subgenres. The concept in itself is old. For example my interest is the effects of science and technology on society and vice-versa. To express that I create futures with completely new social structures which have evolved way beyond the present as have the minds and knowledge of people which gives rise to almost infinite possibilities to be explored. How can that be tagged by a genre?
Where do you live and how might your environment influence your writing?
My working environment has varied a lot. It has ranged from the bottom of a dark green garden surrounded by a gentle fog rising over a field of lovely fresh, damp English countryside to the window seat of an aircraft crossing continents, or a desk in a stylish modern or classic cosy hotel room, or the high floor of a modern minimalist apartment surrounded by a growing concrete jungle.
I think that living in South East Asia has had a great influence on my work. I am surrounded by, and very conscious of a great mixture of societies and cultures while I work. The other great influence is of course cyberspace in which we are all now immersed. I mean the Internet. The access to unlimited knowledge (while it lasts) leads me to read a lot about the fascinating, rapid developments in science and technology and where it might lead. This is wonderfully fertile ground for a fiction writer.
How would you describe your creative process?
I begin with a basic idea, a concept, a vision which I would like to communicate to the outside world. At that stage it is like a foetus and must be nourished. And the nourishment is research into current scientific developments and new technologies so that the elements of the initial idea can grow and be linked together until they can be transformed into a complete life form. That is the beginning of the creation process. From there I proceed to sketch out the work in outline and later when I have the result I want, I can begin colouring and shading rather like an art work. But of course ideas keep coming while I am working and it is sometimes a challenge to incorporate them all. In fact I have set aside many interesting thoughts for future works!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The Wonderful Voyage of Ulysses. This was the very first full book I remember reading when I was about 8-9 years old. I fell in love with the adventurous journeys, and later with Greece and Classical Antiqity, so much so that at high school I decided to study Classics. Later I switched to science but deep down my first love for Greece and travelling remains.
Lavirrealista is your pen name and Virrealismo Publishing is your indie brand. What's behind the Virrealism concept?
I describe Virrealism as the "art, culture and technology of our time". It is a concept that links the real and the virtual. By real I mean what we sense with our five senses, that is tangible matter. By virtual I mean the concept of matter experienced with the aid of technology (let's not forget that even a pen or a brush are technological tools... just a little old!)
Today we have Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality which are respectively the simulation and shadow representations of reality but they both still need our senses, for now our eyes and ears; soon the other three will follow. Virtual reality in particular takes us to the next stage and makes the experience more real.
Virrealism goes beyond this and in fact one of my favourite themes is how virtual reality may be implemented in the future and in my books I often refer to "Real Virtuality" and I invent futuristic gadgets and systems around this concept.
Can you give us an example of virrealism?
In 2015 I published a short story, Accidental Warrior. This small piece is just the prequel, the background, for Change of State First Phase. Much of the story is told via a device which recreates real experiences directly in the brain of the user so that the virtual becomes real in the sense that it is truly indistinguishable from reality. So today's e-book has evolved into a sensorial book, an s-book, in which words are not so much read as experienced.
Because everyone has different feelings, memory and experience, imagine the possibilities! But also immagine how an s-book device could transform the figure of a writer!
Tell us more about the Real Virtuality concept within Virrealism
If a device can encode and transmit artificially created reality into the brain exactly as the five senses do, then Real Virtuality is created. It is real in the sense that the experience is indistinguishable from real reality because the physical processes are exactly the same; the brain interprets the signals precisely as if they were received from the senses. So Virrealism allows us intentionally to rearrange reality in any way we wish. Just think then what kind of an artist the writer of the future becomes, being able to shape reality according to pure imagination.
Virrealism represents the way I see a Future in which the body and brain of an evolved species will live, unconstrained by reality. These are worlds where matter becomes of secondary importance; worlds that have lost their rigidity and objects have none, one and a hundred thousand forms.
How has your latest book, "Change of State First Phase", developed your concept of virrealism?
I introduced the concept of virrealism in my first book, "Real Virtualities". In that book a future race had actually evolved a new physical attribute which I called "hypersenses" to experience extended reality, whereas in the later work the new society uses technology to achieve a similar effect.
In Change of State I then explore in more detail how such effects are created and what can be done with them. There is no magic!
The world of communication is revolutionised too. With the ability to transmit information via "brain waves" messages become real experiences.
In other words, rather than trying to explain a sight, sound, or texture with language in Change of State society it is possible to transmit an experience directly. Simulations and direct brain messaging became the normal method of communication.
So virrealism opens up practically boundless possibilities, which of course gives me lots to work with!
What does Change of State offer to your readers?
Robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, transhumanism, virtuality... what kind of society we can expect... it is all there. But it is not all black and white and dramas, contradictions e doubts are all still there. By the way, there is a great story too; an escape out of the clutches of would be mind controllers, an exciting, dangerous journey and a scientific discovery so profound that it will change the whole concept of life, but there is no battle between robots and men.
Phase 2 which I hope to publish later this year (2016) will be quite shocking, taking a look at how humans and society have developed in the future from Phase 1.

If you want to know more about Virrealism or about my books or if you want to expand the above points, please visit my new web site.
There you can read more questions and answers and if you like you can even ask your own question!
Published 2016-03-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,970. Language: British English. Published: February 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Riding the ferocious cosmoidal currents of the Imperceptible and avoiding lethal Space Vortices will be the only way for the mission led by the intrepid commander Tuméng to reach a faraway planet and save again life in the Galaxy.
Tales from the Mother Galaxy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,860. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Stunning visions of the future: intelligence triumphs over politics and science and technology expand reality to the limits of imagination.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,380. Language: Italian. Published: February 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Cavalcare le feroci correnti cosmoidali dell'Impercettibile ed evitare i letali Vortici Spaziali sarà l'unico modo per la missione guidata dall'intrepido capitano Tuméng di raggiungere un pianeta lontano e salvare ancora una volta la vita nella Galassia.
Racconti dalla Galassia Madre
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 43,300. Language: Italian. Published: January 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Cinque lunghi viaggi in una parte misteriosa e inusuale dell’Universo. Sentieri di guerra, incubi e fughe da un totale controllo mentale, macchine da corsa per le strade dell’Universo, sentieri che si biforcano e moltiplicano i mondi. Infine incontri e scontri, inevitabili e coinvolgenti, dentro simulazioni di pensieri e sensazioni, durante celebri passeggiate aliene.
Planets Under Glass
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,070. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: September 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Alternative history, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
An intense, rich tale... a bit shocking for some but at the end of the day, as they used to say in another galaxy, "Planets you visit realities you find". A thought provoking tale.
Pianeti Sotto Vetro
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,040. Language: Italian. Published: September 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Una racconto intenso, ricco... forse un po' scioccante per qualcuno ma in fondo, come si usava dire nella Galassia Madre, "Pianeta che vai realtà che trovi".
Zetana The Disconnected
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,090. Language: English. Published: May 29, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Zetana The Disconnected is dedicated to the Freedom of Internet
The War of the Plutonidians
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,890. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Wars between Plutonidians were only ancient myths... but since the new settlement in a new world something happened and so chaos became order, noise became silence and peace... WAR!
Borrowed Brains
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,520. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Literature » Visionary & metaphysical
This story explores the mind of the central character, UÌGO, who becomes simultaneously part of two vastly different worlds questioning the meaning of reality.
La Guerra dei Plutonidei
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,870. Language: Italian. Published: May 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
"Così accadde che il caos divenne ordine, il rumore silenzio e la pace... guerra!" Il racconto esplora il significato della guerra e ha un piacevole twist alla fine. Buon divertimento!
Cervelli Prestati
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,060. Language: Italian. Published: March 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Un gruppo di scienziati scopre nuove particelle e un campo di forze fino ad allora sconosciuti. Dopo breve tempo viene realizzato il primo modello di teletrasporto mentale organico e servono volontari per collaudare la nuova invenzione. Cervelli Prestati è dedicato alla Mente, la manifestazione biologica più interessante e preziosa dei nostri atomi.
Zetana La Disconnessa
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,990. Language: Italian. Published: September 2, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
La Connessione Universale era il modo in cui la conoscenza fluiva attorno alla Galassia Madre. Ma nel pianeta Cloudio il Sistema Plasmario era diverso e gli abitanti ne erano fieri. Ma poi nacque Zetana...
Virtualità Reali
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 41,300. Language: Italian. Published: July 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Virtualità Reali è una storia avvincente ambientata in un futuro lontano emerso dai disastrosi eventi che avevano trascinato la Terra alle soglie dell'estinzione totale. E' un mondo diverso in cui la necessità di lavorare è stata superata e dunque la gente della Terra Futura si dedica alla scoperta e all'innovazione perdendosi dentro mondi virtuali, passati, presenti e futuri.
Real Virtualities
Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 44,450. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
A different scifi setting where post-humans are not artificial but reality is!