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GIORGIO FALETTI: It's Killing Time

Written by Ayo Onatade

Giorgio Faletti is an Italian writer, actor and singer-songwriter as well as being the author of five books – Constable and Robinson have just published the first, I Kill, in the UK. I am God (the fourth book) will be the second to be published in 2011. Passionate about car racing, he has written a number of articles for the Italian magazine Autosprint. He has also raced in the 1992 San Remo Rally and the 1998 Monte Carlo Rally. He was nominated in 2006 for the David di Donatello Award (Italian Academy Award) as Best Supporting Actor in the film Notte Prima Degli Esami. 

Ayo: For those of us that don’t know much about you, could you please give us a bit of background about yourself?

Giorgio: After my degree I never worked as a lawyer, instead with a couple of friends we created a publicity company that lasted two years. I left that job when I discovered that becoming a comic actor was my purpose in life. After some years of practice in theatres my TV career began in 1985. The show Drive In, which is still a cult in Italy, made me famous and I started to work for cinema at the same time. But I’m a musician too and some years later I started to collaborate with some of the most important Italian artists and I wrote a lot of songs for them. I was also asked to sing some of the songs I used to compose for others. In 1994 I won the San Remo Festival, which is one of the most important music contests in Latin music. In 2002 I published my first novel, I Kill. I would like to play a role in a movie but my main activity right now is writing.

Prior to becoming a writer you held several different jobs – what drew you to these different jobs and which was your favourite?
 I drove a racing car as a hobby but I have never been fast enough to become a pro. I have always had a good feeling about speed, but music is my never-ending love …

I Kill (Io Uccido) is your first novel. What made you decide to write a novel and why in particular this genre? How difficult was it for you when you decided to write? 
 During my life I’ve read a lot of novels, in a number of different genres. I chose thrillers because they are the nearest to comedy. You have to create a story and tell it to make the readers scared, on the other side you have to create a story and tell it to make the audience laugh as well.

 What was the impetus for the story in I Kill?
 I wanted to write a story of a murderer where at the end it would leave the readers with a sense of pity for him. 

 The novel is set amongst the glitterati of Monte Carlo. What made you decide on the setting?
 For five years I was resident in Monte Carlo. I can say I know the city very well. Besides, its location is famous worldwide and it has an international appeal. 

 With the book you wanted to create an “American style” crime novel. Do you think that you have succeeded?

 I think I wrote a good novel, one that has become the second best seller of all times in Italy. I don’t really care for labels … 

 It has been translated into twenty-five different languages and has sold over five million copies. How pleased have you been with this response? 
 The five million copies were sold only in Italy. I don’t actually know how many have been sold in the world. I was particularly pleased because I was so successful at my first shot. 

 Within the book you have created two different characters – American FBI agent Frank Ottobre and Police Commissioner Nicolas Hulot. How did these characters come about and are they based on specific people? 
 They totally come from my fantasy and are both broken and looking for a new way to be themselves! 

 How much of your real life can be found in I Kill? For example, one of the victims is an American racing car driver. You also have as a DJ as a major character. 
I think that every writer likes to put a little bit of himself in every novel. From a personal point of view I write about things I love. In I Kill it was the music, in Niente di vero tranne gli occhi it was comics. 

 I believe that the film of th book is in production. When is it due to be released? 
I don’t really know when it is going to be released as it is a big production and there is a lot to be done. 

What makes a character real for you? Must you work out everything about them or do you just let it flow? 
 A character is real when, while reading, you can feel him sitting beside you. I think that every character already exists, somewhere. I only have to find the right voice to call him. 

 Plot or character? Which do you think is more important in your writing and why? 
 Both. I try to take care of everything, because I never know from which direction success may come. 

You have also written Niente di vero tranne gli occhi (2004) Fuori da UN evidente destino (2006), Pochi inutile nascondigli (2008) and Io Sono Dior (I am God) (2009). Could you please tell us a bit more about these novels? Are they standalones? 
 Yes, they are standalone novels. I still have not found a character that I love so much to want it to become a series. On the other side, may be it is because I’m so easy to bore that I need new characters for every story. 

Niente di vero tranne gli occhi is a story of a connected investigation that involves Maureen Martini, a commissioner of police in Italy and Jordan Marsalis, an ex-lieutenant of the NYPD. They run into a serial killer that moves to New York City and the first victim is the son of the mayor, who is also the nephew of Jordan Marsalis. Fuori da un evidente destino is set in Flagstaff, Arizona, on the border of the Navajo reservation and tells the story of an ancient curse that starts killing after one hundred years. Pochi inutile nascondigli is a collection of short novels, which was such fun to do. They are fantasy stories that are a kind of personal homage to Stephen King. Io Sono Dio is a story of a terrorist that blows up buildings in New York, confessing his sin to a Catholic priest before every crime is committed.

How would you describe your books to someone who is about to read them for the first time? 
Usually I try to not describe my books before they are read. I prefer to ask the reader to describe the book to me after reading. 

Who were your influences when you decided to start writing? Do other books still influence your writing and, if so, what other types of writing are you attracted to? 
 Really, I’m a glutton for every kind of communication. I like to experience all types of stories. My favourite writers are: Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Jerome K Jerome, Isaac Asimov and Louis L’Amour and everybody in the past who wrote a great novel. 

Were you a big reader of crime fiction before you started writing and if so can you remember the very first crime novel you read? 
 Of course! I have always been a fan of crime fiction. The first novel I read was I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane. 

 Do you still read crime novels, thrillers, etc, yourself and if so, do have you any favourite authors? 
Jeffery Deaver who is a good writer and a great friend. 

 Is there a novel that you wish that you had written? 
I wish I had written The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I think that Hannibal Lecter is an enormous character, one of the best of all times. 

What is your normal work schedule like? 

Giorgio: I wake up and after a simple breakfast I write for four or five hours having a break sometimes for a coffee and a cigarette. (In my house smoking is not yet a crime …)

 What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing? 
 Acting, filming, composing music, painting … sport (swimming, skiing, tennis) … and some good sex at times. 

What do you find the most difficult when you are writing, and are you easily distracted? 
 I live in Isola d’Elba, a small island in front of Tuscany. It’s really hard to find the self-discipline when I look out of my window and the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the boats cross the sea before my eyes … 

 Part and parcel of being a crime writer is all the camaraderie that you get within the crime fiction genre. Do you enjoy going to conferences and book signings? 
Yes I do. After years spent in theatres on a stage the only thing I miss a little is an audience. When I go to book signings I can finally see the face of my readers and I have an audience again. 

 What are you working on at the moment? 
 A novel set in Italy in the seventies. A new challenge, as every new story actually is and should be. 

Some off the wall questions –
 I understand that you are a big fan of Juventus FC. What drew you to this club and how come you have remained such an ardent supporter? 
 Support is a kind of like religion. There are no true reasons why. Or why not?. 

 What one luxury item would you take away with you if you were marooned on a desert island and why? 
Megan Fox … she’s not an item but is a situation(?) nearer to luxury I can imagine. 

 If you could choose five characters, dead or alive, to have dinner with, who would they be? 
Megan Fox (on a desert island, of course, we would have a dinner together …)Jimi Hendricks, Mark Twain, John Lennon and Marlon Brando. (In the list there aren’t women. If I am on a desert island with Megan Fox, I couldn’t wish for more.) 

More information can be found at http://www.giorgiofaletti.net

I Kill by Giorgio Faletti Book jacket Published by Corsair, June 2010 paperback £6.99
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