domenica 12 luglio 2015

:: An interviw with Tom Piccirilli


Hi Tom. Thanks for accepting my interview and welcome on Liberidiscrivere. Tell us something about you. Who is Tom Piccirilli? Strengths and weaknesses.

If I had any notion of who I was, what my strengthes and weaknesses were, I probably wouldn't be a writer. It's through my fiction that I learn about myself and try to find meaning in who I am and how I move through the world.

Tell us something about your background, your studies, your childhood. 

It's all about as average and boring as you can possibly get.

What jobs have you held in the past, before becoming a full-time writer? What can you tell us about this experience? 

I had no significant jobs before writing. I had my first novel accepted the summer I graduated college and I've been pounding the keypad ever since.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Which is the moment when you realized that the passion of writing was turning into a real job? 

I started writing when I was a child but grew serious about it my senior year in high school. I started submitting my stories at around that time and kept honing my voice and craft and developing my style throughout the next several years.

Tell us something about your debut. Your road to publication. Have you received many refuses? 

In the beginning, certainly. It took years for me to hone my voice enough to begin selling my fiction, and then a few more years before I became completely comfortable with my narrative voice. You are a versatile author.

What made you decide to start writing horror fiction? 

I've always been drawn to dark fiction but Horror appeals to me less and less the older I get. I can’t get over certain fantastical elements used to propel the storylines. I prefer subtlety, and a lot of recent horror offerings just aren’t that. I just don’t buy into them anymore, can’t allow my imagination to play along. Maybe the wheel will turn again one day.

Why is a writer, with such obvious talent as you, not better known in Italy? Danilo Arona said: And a little 'because of the general public by the author from the Italian surname is judged without appeal and credibility. Even an author like Tom Piccirilli absolutely american not find in our market share because of his surname. What the hell does not work with the publishing business? 

Beats me. If you ever find out, please let me know.

Your style is very distinctive. Does this style come naturally to you or is it more self-consciously crafted and revised? 

No matter what form or genre I’m working in, the end product is usually a combination of very dark, atmospheric fiction underscored by some offbeat sardonic humor. Laughs along the way make the darker aspects really come out, and vice versa. And my themes transfer from one genre and format to another: secrets of the past, seeking redemption, fear of failure, middle-age disappointments, dysfunctional family life. For whatever reason it all seems to have a great meaning for me, and so I continue to dip back into the well.

Do you read reviews of your books? 

Sure, but if they're bad, I try not to let them get me down. Your first novel Dark Father at a very young age was a great success.

Can you tell us a little about the writing of the book? 

PADRE DELLA TENEBRE was purchased by the noted editor Giovanni Arduino for Sperling & Kupfer. While the novel barely made a ripple before sinking into oblivion here in the US, it seems to have done better in Italy and Germany, where it’s gone into several hardcover and paperback printings. Since it was my first novel, I know there’s a lot of literary flamboyance and atmosphere without enough foundation rooted in reality, but I was very young when I wrote it.

Headstone City is another your great success. What inspired you to write this book? What was the starting point in the writing process? 

I don't know where I get the kernels of my ideas from. I can't point back to a single incident or event and claim that's what set me on the path to writing one book or another. It's all a stew and the recipe is always changing. I wanted to write a novel that merged crime elements with horror elements and Headstone City was born.

What was the most laborious part during the writing? 

As for challenges: Writers of dark fiction are always indulging in their ugliest fantasies and fears. They’re drawn to the awful matters. That’s where they find their drama. That’s where they find their love. They’re tearing into their own scars and making them bleed all over again. And it’s off that blood that we make our art. If it’s art, in the end. But whatever it is, we create it by invoking anguish and conflict and scenes of blood and wreckage.

What's your favourite part of the writing process? 

The most rewarding aspect is when someone reacts to the work the way I hoped they would. When they’re moved and shocked and come to love the characters the way I do, and the writing has a real meaning for them.

Do you enjoy touring for literary promotion? Tell to our Italian readers something of amusing about these meetings. 

I haven't ever done an official tour but I've met many of my readers at conventions or at book signings. I have no quaint or clever anecdotes to share with anyone. I have fun meeting my fans and they seem to have fun meeting me. More than that, I appreciate anyone who shows interest in my work.

You cite Albert Camus, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, John Irving as a writing influence. Your novel evoked a richly rewarding literary tradition. Was this a goal? 

Well, a writer’s voice, like the writer himself, is always changing to some degree. We’re living, breathing things and our narrative voice is organic as well. My worldview has shifted, the motifs and themes that interest me are slightly different now at the age of 46 than they were at 25. I care about things now I didn’t understand then. The great fantasy author Jack Cady once told me never to throw any of unfinished fiction out, because somewhere down the line I’d have the skill and control to write about certain things I wasn’t capable of writing about at the time, but I also wouldn’t have the fire and rawness that I had then. And he was right. I’ve always felt that it was important to find the innate beauty of the language as I wrote. I never wanted to be a plain writer, but at the same time you always have to be careful not to write as if each sentence is taking a bow, which I was probably guilty of earlier on in my career. That “haunting” aspect is important to make the reader feel something deep for the work. Like a ghost, I want the story to hover and flit in the audience’s mind. I don’t want to just entertain them, I want to move them.

What is your relationship like with your readers? How can readers get in touch with you? 

They can come visit me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or just send me an email at

What are you reading now? 

I just finished an advance copy of Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane's novel LADY, GO DIE.

Finally, the inevitable question. Are you currently working on a new novel? Any other projects? 

My next novel is a crime novel entitled THE LAST KIND WORDS. It’s the story of a young thief named Terrier Rand who returns to his criminal family on the eve of his brother Collie’s execution. Collie went mad dog for apparently no reason and went on a killing spree murdering eight people. Now, five years later, Collie swears he only killed seven people, and the eighth was the work of someone else. Terry not only has to deal with an ex-best friend, a former flame, some mob guys, and other assorted badasses, but he’s also forced to investigate that night his brother went crazy and find out if Collie is telling the truth. But more than anything, he really wants to know the reason for why his brother went on a spree, in the hopes that Terry himself is never pushed to that kind of edge. I recently turned in the follow-up entitled THE LAST WHISPER IN THE DARK.

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