Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday once again. So here we go once again prying into another writer’s mind to see what makes them who they are. Go grab a coffee and get ready for some fun. This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind I am going to be chatting with the insightful and world traveling writer Gian Andrea.
KADE: Good Morning Gian, Let’s tell the wonderful readers out there a little about who you are and what makes you tick.
GIAN: I was once born Italian, before I moved to the United Kingdom.
My pen name is Gian Andrea, which is actually my real first name – Giannandrea, only cut in half for obvious reason: Nobody really ever wasted much time to pronounce it properly, myself included, so Gian is more than enough – and I honestly like it better.
Here, in London, the exotic charm of a foreign name sometimes works.
I spent a good part of my life getting people drunk. Me included.
Now I’m vegetarian and currently working for Greenpeace.
I believe in Art, more than I believe in people.
Painter, rolling stone and passionate about different languages and cultures, I often travel across Europe, to visit their major cities and their artistic heritage.
I hold a Bachelor degree in Literature and History with honours, and a Master degree in Philosophy with honours.
I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world – except for another degree in Physical Cosmology or pizza. Sounds so much cliché’, for an Italian, – but I do love pizza.
KADE: That is outstanding, what an incredible life you must live. And I understand the pizza lust, it is glorious. So let’s find out about what you have written and your upcoming book.
GIAN: So far I’ve got one novel and one short biographical story out. They are both quite dark and deeply sad, in a sense, touching themes as addiction, free will, and the inconsolable human nature.
I started my next book again from these premises, a man confronting his own thoughts on his recent relationship with alcohol and a woman, and a revolutionary idea that could change people’s life for good. But this time I’m trying to take it a bit more softly – there is humour, it’s more centered on the bright side of life, and all in all it does not take itself too seriously.
KADE: Well, it sounds very engaging to me. What inspired you to write your first book?
GIAN: As a passionate reader first, and philosopher as well, I always found writing an excellent way to investigate the world around you and the human nature, as well as your own.
There’s nothing quite like writing, putting your thoughts on paper, to help you trying to figure out the meaning of this existence, or at least, to live it properly.
I believe it’s a sort of necessity, – as writing, like painting and any other form of art – deeply affects our life and daily choices, more than we may suspect.
Most of my favourites books, can be read as a work of physiology, digging inside our mind, – cause after all, writing is passing a life’s lesson.
So as for my very first book, it was both a way to analyze myself, and the world around me in relation with myself, and the will to convey a message to other people out there.
It was a way to say, “Hey, look, the world is not just what you see.”
KADE: Oh, I like it. Great answer. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
GIAN: Absolutely. I don’t think it’s actually possible to write anything that does not come from your own life experience. I mean, pretty much everything you can imagine has somehow roots in what you’ve learned or experienced so far.
KADE: Yes, I agree. Whether we know it or not, anything we write has rooted from within. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
GIAN: There is a chapter where I mention the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. I’ve always been very fond of Mythology, I consider it a highly sophisticated way of teaching – way more deep than we usually think – and the similarity between a statue that becomes a real person in flesh and bones, such as Galatea, in this very myth, and Agida in my novel, that slowly tries to become numb as a statue – I believe was quite interesting to write for myself as well.
The more I was writing about it, the more I could see where I wanted to go with the story and that character – and it also helped me to understand a thing or two about myself.
KADE: That is wonderful. With that kind of revelation, you must have felt such a connection with this world. How did you come up with the title?
GIAN: AGIDA – upon dirty art
I made it up, sort of Latin name; for some reason I wanted something that’d sound like those old philosophical essays I used to study at Uni – though without being misleading.
For the second edition, we got rid of the subtitle and kept only the Title, “Agida”.
KADE: Yes it does have an interesting sound to the way it rolls off your tongue. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
GIAN: Grammar. I do love it, it’s true. But I speak a few other languages other than English – so art first when someone pointed me out some misspelling or typos – I was furious with myself and quite ashamed. How could I not notice that? How could the editor not notice that?
On the other side – the best compliment is of course when someone told me my book changed their life or their prospective on life – which is exactly my aim.
More specific – when they wrote me that after month, my book was still echoing in their mind, and they would have to change their opinion about it.
KADE: I quite agree, how wonderful it must have been to hear someone say something so touching. Now, I know we all have our own ways of writing. Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
GIAN: Don’t think so, I write whenever I can, and wherever I can. I change house and location quite often, twice a year on average, so I don’t have a proper desk-board or designed writing area, let’s say.
KADE: Well then since you don’t have any quirks then tell us what is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
GIAN: If it’s actually possible for sperm cells to be absorbed through the perineal rectum, faster than they would by oral assumption, let’s say.
Fascinating science. I love it.
KADE: Ha ha yup that is definitely an unusual search for sure. So how about giving us an interesting fun fact about your book.
GIAN: The original cover picture, basically a girl’s bottom, was taken many years ago, when my first novel was still at a basic stage. Two days of shooting, the girl was a Russian model friend of mine – we shot so many different pics in different locations – and had quite a few cheeky drinks in the process. I always love that picture, I believe there’s something perfect in the way the hands are positioned, they tell a lot…but with the second edition we had to switch to a more soft, and way better, version of the same cover – this time personally made by a young talented painter and good friend of mine. Some people thought it was an erotic book, some found it deeply offensive and I’ve got even a couple of people writing me angry mail and one or two reviews addressing the cover issue. I personally found it quite amusing.
KADE: I believe that if you, the writer, has found a way to grab people’s attentions then you have done a good job. I am curious, do you work with an outline, or just write?
GIAN: I write, and build a sort of outline as I go – always ready to adjust it or just ignore it.
KADE: Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?
GIAN: I always knew what I wanted to do, I just had to decide how.
So, – after avoiding vanity publishers – I tried both way, collaborated with a couple of editors and publishers – and eventually had better results with self-publishing (even in terms of sales.)
Though I think it may be, just because I haven’t found a good one, yet.
But I did like the idea of being in control of every single aspect, from marketing, cover design, title to lines spacing, layout and any little details.
It was time consuming, and I was working frenetically around my laptop pretty much all day long – but the feeling I had when I published the first edition of my first novel was just incredible!
The worst part though is, – you’re in control of literally everything: which means at a certain point you’ll have to rely on someone else to help you out: a good graphic designer, editor, promoter etc.
KADE: It is a lot of work on the writer’s part when they decide to take on everything themselves but I applaud you for doing it, for doing what felt right for you. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
GIAN: I suppose I’d say I started writing my first novel three, four, years before I managed to actually release it. Truth be told though, it was something quite different from the final product, that changed as I kept changing place, job and people around me.
Definitely I didn’t expect it to become such a long story.
KADE: How did you choose the genre you write in?
GIAN: I don’t. There are things I would never write about it, simply because I think they are not worthy or don’t interest me. All the rest goes straight into my writing.
You can categorize a book only after you wrote it.
KADE: True enough. So, Gian, tell us where do you get your ideas?
GIAN: Ideas are all over the place, our own world is basically made by ideas and concepts, which means we are free to write about anything.
Flaubert once dreamed of writing a book about nothing that would contain the least matter. Still something, if you ask me.
So I just pick what I think it matters the most to me, and write about it.
KADE: That makes perfect sense. The world around us is full we just have to learn to stop and pay attention to the details. Many writers have muses or inspirational people that have helped influence their writing, is there any particular author or book that has influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
And definitely too many to be listed here, so I’ll quickly name C. Palahniuk and D. De Lillo for style and themes, J. Fante and C. Bukowsky for the irony and deep sadness and honesty in their language, A. Camus, E. Cioran and J.P. Sartre for the sharp philosophical accuracy they used to analyze the human nature, and of course, E. Hemingway as a great, fragile, example of writer and man.
KADE: Wonderful shortlist of great mentors. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
GIAN: The one I take for myself: write about what you know, what it truly matters for you, and write it simple and clear and don’t spare anything.
There is no such a thing as a good subject or a bad subject for a book:
if you manage to convey your passion, as well as your message, it’s half of the job done.
KADE: Oh I like that. Pretty straight forward and to the point. Something we can all use going into our journey of writing. Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
GIAN: Hard to say. Right now I’d go with “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” But it something that changes with time.
KADE: Very nice quote. Now for something a little more silly. Which do you prefer, Tea or coffee?
GIAN: I’ve never really been into coffee, though it’s weird since my Italian origins, still, I do drink it quite regularly, rigorously black – usually on morning as soon as I wake up.
Tea is more than a hot drink -it is an occasion, a ceremony: I mostly fancy fresh mint tea or English breakfast, but really I like them all.
KADE: Fair enough. What about your taste bud…Sweet or salty?
GIAN: I do have a sweet tooth, but I have to choose, – if I really have to, I’d go with salty.
KADE: Now that we are nearing the end of this wonderful chat, would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?
“Our cells, our memories, is all we’ll carry forever.
What we have done is what we are.
Relationships are not meant to last anyway; as if humans ever were.
She smiles at me, and her smile has wrinkles.
One foot already out of the door, my hand ready to pull the handle, I’m not quite sure what being happy means to me.
My body cells close to her body cells, lips-distance, I tell her, “I’m the son of a big nothingness.”
KADE: Oh now that is so sad. You have managed to break my heart. Wonderful. Alright, now it is time to let the world know the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
Facebook Book page: https://www.facebook.com/AgidaArt/
Facebook Profile page: https://www.facebook.com/gian.ebasta
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14170074.Gian_Andrea
AMAZON author page http://amazon.com/author/agida
KADE: Alright folks, I hope everyone had fun but we must say good bye to my guest and big thank you to Gian Andrea for taking time to let us peek inside his world and for taking the time to hang out with me today. Also I would like to say thank you to all of you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and place Author Interview in the topic space.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!