Today I am interviewing Francesco Dimitri, author of the new fantasy novel, The Book of Hidden Things.
◊ ◊ ◊
DJ: Hi Francesco! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Francesco Dimitri: I am Italian. I live in London now, and I write in English, but once upon a time I used to live in Rome and publish books in Italian. At some point I decided to start from scratch in another language. The only problem being – I did not speak that language yet.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Book of Hidden Things?
Francesco: I have very wide tastes. I think you can see traces of Robert Macfarlane, with his perfect sense of the connection between people and place, and Joe Lansdale, with his uncanny capacity to write stories you read in three hours and stay with you forever. Donna Tartt taught me the kind of magic I wanted to write about, and I regularly go back and study Angela Carter to learn new things about sensuousness in prose. That said, I try to keep the real world in mind as my main influence. I do like the real world quite a lot, with all its shortcomings.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Francesco: I wanted them to act, move, and feel, like real people. Not particularly good or bad, just human, with their human foibles, incoherences, and so on. Tony is the one I feel closer to: he believes that friends and family come before everything else, and so do I.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Book of Hidden Things like?
Francesco: it is the real world. It is Puglia, a remote and beautiful region in Southern Italy, amped up a little.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Book of Hidden Things?
Francesco: All of it. The fact is, I love writing. I have some of the best time of my life with laptop, tea, and a word processor.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Francesco: Art, I hope.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing The Book of Hidden Things? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Francesco: there are themes, though not messages as such: themes are more powerful than messages. I wanted to make readers feel the magic, I wanted to make them believe in it. I wanted to explore friendship, and memory, and the sense of loss you get when you realise that you always have to make choices in life, and whatever choice you pick, there will be a trade-off.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Book of Hidden Things that you can share with us?
Francesco: I’m not too comfortable quoting myself when I’m sober.
DJ: Now that The Book of Hidden Things is released, what is next for you?
Francesco: I’m writing a nonfiction book on how to reconnect with wonder. It is called That Sense of Wonder, and it draws on history, art, science, and other passions of mine. I’m putting the last touches on it right now. Once I’m done, and after some beach-intensive holidays, I will start the next novel. I have tons of notes and ideas about it, but I tend not to talk about projects which are not at least almost done.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Francesco: Only on Twitter, where my handle is @fdimitri. I don’t have a huge online presence. I really like chatting to people, and social media are just too distracting for me: I focus on one and that’s it.
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Book of Hidden Things that we haven’t talked about yet?
Francesco: it is hidden, of course.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Francesco: I tried to write a book that makes you forget about the world while you are reading, and makes you look at the world with new eyes when you are done. I can’t guarantee I succeded, but
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Francesco: My pleasure!
◊ ◊ ◊
*** The Book of Hidden Things is published by Titan Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
◊ ◊ ◊
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.
A visit to his house increases the friends’ worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can’t go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss’s daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.
About the Author:
Francesco Dimitri is an Italian magic realist author living in London, a business story-teller, and a lifetime searcher for wonder. He has written in many different forms (nonfiction, fiction, comics, cinema, digital media, essays, magazines) and worked for top business clients. In his quest for wonder he has shot documentaries about UFO cults, slept deep into the forests of Transylvania, conversed with mathematicians, artists, chefs, psychologists, stage magicians, and strangers in crowds.