Friday, July 11, 2014

Author Spotlight with Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli

 
About the Author
 
 
Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli is an Italian independent author.
She lives in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), where she works as a writer, technical, scientific and literary translator, and web copywriter. She is also a biologist and worked as researcher, tutor, and professor’s assistant in the field of ecology at “Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ed Ecologia” of the University of Cagliari until 2004, when she founded Anakina Web. As part of her firm remit, she manages her creative writing and translation activities, as well as web design and music management.
She writes fiction since 2009. In 2011 she completed her first original science fiction novel, which will be published in November 2014 in Italy, and in March 2012 she published “La morte รจ soltanto il principio”, fantasy novel about ancient Egypt, inspired by the movie “The Mummy”.
Between 2012-2013 she wrote a science fiction series titled “Deserto rosso”, including four books, which are having success in Italy. The whole “Deserto rosso” series was also published as omnibus in December 2013 (ebook and paperback). Thanks to this series, Monticelli was selected in February 2014 as one of the best ten Italian self-published authors by the Italian version of Wired Magazine and was invited to be a speaker at an event during the Salone Internazionale del Libro in Turin, the most important Italian book fair.
“Deserto rosso” is now being published in English with the title “Red Desert”.
She also published a crime thriller in Italian, titled “Il mentore”, in May 2014.
Since October 2012 she is part of the cast of FantaScientificast, an Italian podcast about science fiction. Since April 2013 she an Italian Representative of Mars Initiative.
As a science fiction and Star Wars fan, she is known in the Italian online community by her nickname, Anakina.
Interview with Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli
 
 
If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would you read?
Hello there, first of all thank you for your hospitality! Second, I must apologise with your readers because I’m Italian, so my English isn’t perfect. Hopefully they’ll understand me well enough!
Back to your question, that’s a difficult one. Oh my … one book. Well, it would surely be a book by Peter F. Hamilton, my favourite science fiction author, for instance “Fallen Dragon”, which I really loved, but maybe I’ll try a new and very long one (to tell the truth they are all very long). Then I think I’ll spend the rest of the time writing books so that I have something else to read. ;)
 
If you rewrite one part of your book, what would you change?
 
I wouldn’t change any part of my already published books, but I’m currently rewriting a novel. I had originally written it between 2009 and 2011, then abandoned after finishing the first draft. Now I’m rewriting it by putting the narration closer to the POVs, and adding a lot more of emotions of the characters to enhance the involvement of the readers.
I’ve decided to face this long work because in the meantime I’ve improved my craft (hopefully) and I’ve written other novels in the same timeline, so I must do some rearrangements.
These novels are part of a science fiction series titled “Red Desert”. The original Italian title is “Deserto rosso” and it includes four books, all of which have been released in Italy between 2012 and 2013. It is the story about the first colonisers of Mars and in particular of one of them, Anna Persson (you can find her on Twitter), a Swedish exobiologist. The story opens with Anna leaving in secret the habitat and driving into the Martian desert, with enough air for only fifty hours. We don’t know why she is doing so; it seems she wants to kill herself.
Today the English edition of the first book of the series, “Red Desert - Point of No Return”, hits the online stores. And the book I’m rewriting, “The Isle of Gaia” (original title “L’isola di Gaia”), is part of the same saga, called “Aurora”, but it’s set 35 years after the end of the last book of “Red Desert”.
Have you ever thought about doing a spinoff series?
 
All the time! There are so many interesting characters I’d like to develop. Actually “The Isle of Gaia” is technically a spin-off of “Red Desert”, because even if it is in the same universe the main characters and the settings are totally different. There are some points in common, but a reader would be able to read the book also without reading the previous series, or just in a different order.
It isn’t a series, though. Anyway it’s a very long novel made up of five parts, each one with a distinct story arc, and it might be published as a series, too.
What was your favorite book as a child?
 
I think the book I’ve liked most when I was a child was “Momo” by Michael Ende. I can’t remember most of it, but I do remember it was about some bad guys stealing time from people. That scared me! But also made me think about how precious time is and how much it is important to use it well. Maybe I’m a bit obsessed by time. It is never enough. I think it’s my worst enemy, and I started to understand that back when I was a child while reading “Momo”.
What was the first book you remember reading as a child?
 
It was “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. It took me about a month to read it, but I had mostly enjoyed the reading. In fact I had then read the sequels. It was my mother who gave it to me and I’ll never thank her enough for instilling in me the love for books.
Where do you get some of your ideas?
 
Mostly from my dreams. It seems like my mind records everything I see, hear, or read, and processes it while I’m sleeping. I don’t get the whole story from a dream, of course, but just the main feeling of it. This is the best way I can explain how it works, as it is just a feeling at the beginning. It can be an emotion of the main characters, a little part of a scene, a line of dialogue. Then I start thinking about it, taking notes, and structuring the plot.
 
 If your book could be made into a movie, who would play what role?
 
Some of the characters of “Red Desert - Point of No Return” have been inspired by actors. For instance Jan De Wit, the ex-boyfriend of Anna Persson, was created around actor Eric Stoltz. Well, a younger version of him. That was because at the time I wrote the first draft, I was watching the TV series “Caprica”.
But things become difficult for other characters. Though I have created some images of Anna and I know how she looks like for me (more or less), it’s hard to find a match to a real actress. While drawing her face for the cover I took inspiration from Caterina Scorsone (you’d remember her in the TV series “Private Practice”), but it’s just a far idea. Anna is different, also because she has got some Middle Eastern blood.
At a certain point I’ve imagined Jeremy Renner as a good actor for the role of Robert Green, one of the four other astronauts of the Mars mission Isis. And the mission director, who appears for the first time in the second book, is definitely Denzel Washington.
I’m still trying to find the right person for the role of Hassan Qabbani, the surgeon and the second in command of the mission, though I perfectly know his face as I have created it for the cover of the second book, “Red Desert - People of Mars”, which will be published in September.
Can your books be read as a stand alone?
No, all the books of these series end with a cliff-hanger, so you must read until the last one, the fourth, to learn about the ending. Anyway each book has got an arc, an important part of the story is developed in it and many threads are closed, but new questions arise. Even the last book has got a quite open ending, though the main story comes definitely to an end.
If you could step into a book world, what book would it be?
 
I would love to enter the universe of the Void Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, which is set in the 36th century. Hamilton has got the biggest imagination I have ever encountered in an author and it would be great to see and feel it directly.
If you could hang out with another author that you have never met, who would it be?
 
Maybe I’m a bit repetitive, but again it’s Peter F. Hamilton. I would ask him so many questions about his ideas, his writing process, how he is able to write 300k-word novels, very complex ones, without getting confused (!) and the like.
Besides, he seems a nice person. He’s quite talkative with his fans on Facebook and once he even commented on a series of articles I had written about the Void Trilogy, showing that he had actually read them.

 
Connect with the Author
 

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