Today’s interview is with Angela Guidolin. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.
First of all, thank you Lela for having me, I’m honoured.
After graduating in Business Economics in 1995 in Venice, Italy, I went to London, UK, to polish my English.
That was a magical time in my life. London was a fantastic cultural melting pot. The three months I had planned to stay stretched to eight years, during which I got married and worked in different jobs.
Craving sun, warmth and sea, we left London and headed to the South of France, but wound up in the North. We ran our coffee shop and although tough (we used to work 70 hours a week), life was sweet, especially after the birth of our daughter.
A few years later we moved to Italy to live near my family for our daughter’s sake. There I worked in my parents’ business (ice cream!), assisting my father in Sales and Marketing. For a while, I held also the position of Quality Assurance Director. I was good at my job, but emotionally and spiritually it wasn’t for me.
Eventually my muscle problems, that had started in 1998 and not yet healed, worsened so much that I could work only for half a day. After many tests and visits, I was diagnosed with acute stress and bacteria pain and no remedy was offered to me.
I left the company five years ago and since then we’ve been living on the beautiful English Riviera in the South East of England, UK, where I’ve been getting into shape, taking care of my family and writing.
That sounds lovely. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer, the idea was implanted in me!
It was the year 2000, and for the past two years I’d been struggling to keep my job in a travel agency because of the crippling pain in the upper part of my body, especially in my wrists.
One day I passed by my favourite bookshop in London, Watkins, and on their shop window there was the ad of a tarot reader. I went in and booked a reading.
During this reading, the tarot reader told me, “You’ll write a book in the next couple of years, but you have to study and prepare yourself for it.” No, I’m not making it up.
Although I had no idea of what I would write about, I heeded her words and, 14 years and a few relocations later, I published a novelette titled Homecoming in the SF magazine Nebula Rift. It took me longer than two years, but I got there at the end.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a plotter and a discoverer. When I have an idea I let it grow until I feel it’s ready to be dissected and caged in a plot. I can spend a few weeks tweaking it before I’m confident enough to start writing the first chapter. And when I’m happy and let my guard down, my characters hijack the story and force me to change the plot.
Plotting is a way to put my mind at ease, to pretend I’m in control. The same thing happens in my life. So much so that I’ve stopped making plans a long time ago. I mean, I have goals and plans which I modify along the way.
Once I finish a chapter, I edit it on my laptop, then I print it, edit it again and send a digital copy to my first readers. As soon as the story is finished, I print it out, check it all again and send it to an editor.
What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?
Science fiction. It seems I can’t write in any other genre. My new book, Across Spacetime is based on how I met my husband. The idea was to write a romance, but it soon morphed into a SF romance story.
To use Ray Bradbury’s words:
“Science Fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. … Science Fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about. “
I totally agree. Of course, it’s Bradbury. We can’t not agree with the don of our genre. What are you passionate about?
Our civil liberties, like free speech. They’ve never been so much under threat. Governments are taking them away from us “to keep us safe”. Well, politicians lied to us in so many occasions (the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were never found, for example), that more and more citizens distrust them. Censorship in any form is the only way for them to stay in power.
If you read 1984, Brave New World and The Hunger Games, you see that what’s in these books is not science fiction anymore. For the most part it has been implemented and I don’t like it. I want my daughter to grow in a free, abundant and caring society.
You and I are of similar mindsets on that subject and for similar reasons. What is something you cannot live without?
Meditation, writing, and my daughter’s love.
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
My life and science news, although the core idea for Homecoming was given to me at a workshop I attended in London a few years before.
What sort of research do you do for your stories?
For the scientific part, in Homecoming I studied how the Sun works and how auroras form. For Across Spacetime, I researched theories on the multiverse, Mars, the Saturnian system and especially the moon Titan within it.
For the spiritual, esoteric part, I’ve been researching and practising it for the past 30 years so I don’t do much ad hoc research.
If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?
A reader told me that my style reminds him of Vonda McIntyre, whose works I haven’t had the pleasure to read yet. I would say it’s essential, without long descriptions of characters and places.
I create an atmosphere and let the reader fill in the details, so make the story his or her own.
Do you have a special place where you write?
In the sitting room, facing a window which overlooks a beautiful garden.
What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?
First person singular. I feel it’s a more direct way to involve the reader in the story and keep he or she wondering how the story will unfold.
For example, in Across Spacetime there are two main characters, Samir and Beatrice, each one telling the story from their point of view.
I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?
I meditate for 3 or 4 hours a day, then go for a walk to ground myself and remember all the things I’m grateful for. In the evening I use the knitting needles and wool I’ve brought with me and make jumpers for my daughter’s toys-I’m not that good at making jumpers for humans, yet.
After a walk to admire the midnight sun, I snuggle up in bed with SF books like Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson and yours, Lela. They’ve been in my wish list for a while.
And whenever inspiration strikes, I write on a notepad. Better let my laptop have a rest too!
Talk about your books individually.
Homecoming is a short story about an immortal being, Shr who lives on the Sun. As part of her training to advance her career chances, she incarnates on Earth for a few lifetimes and this experience changes her in ways she could never have imagined. Her forced homecoming has a deep impact on the Sunnians, the inhabitants of the Sun, because her actions have shed a light on their political system.
You can download Homecoming for free when you subscribe to my mailing list, the Seekers’ Starguide .
Across Spacetime is my brand new SF romance novella, which will start pre-sale on 3 February 2017 and will be released on 31 March 2017.
It’s the story of two time travelers from the future, Samir and Beatrice, who meet in London in 1995. They fall in love despite a very wide cultural gap and must decide whether to stay in the past, where they feel free to be together but where they don’t belong, or go back to the future and face the prejudice of their society.
Pre-sale starts on 3 February and sale on 31 March. For details please check my website .
Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?
My stories have always a message because I want to contribute, in my small way, to create a happier society.
What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?
I’d like them to feel empowered. Everyone matters.
Where do readers find you and your books?
You can connect with me on:
US Amazon is:http://amzn.to/1X9ZPAh
UK Amazon is: http://amzn.to/1WKsDic
My website: http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/