An Interview with Cinzia Maro

Cinzia Maro was born and lives in Italy. She hasn’t a permanent place to live, and she travels around with a small bag, her laptop, and her camera. She loves to be free, although she frequently dreams about a place to call home. Perhaps the most bizarre thing about her is that she ends up resembling the main character of the story she is writing. So each story adds a new piece inside of her.

Q: What is it about shape-shifting characters that you find so fascinating?

A: They have just to understand what their alternative form is and already know a lot about themselves. For us humans, it is not so easy.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your characters, especially someone as fascinating and unique as Nemel in Encantado?

A: I simply try to imagine someone I’d like to meet to make my life interesting.

Q: Are your stories entirely fictional or do some elements or events of your own life work their way in from time to time? For instance, is there anything from Encantado that you borrowed from your own experiences?

A: I tend to visit places that I wrote about just after I did, but with Encantado it was quite the opposite. I found myself sitting by the lake, with a mortadella and pistachio sandwich and a can of beer, a scene that I have faithfully reported in the story, replacing me with Furio, the main character. Everything started from there. I felt that the lake was entering into me, and I had to write about it. That was a perfect setting for a story of a Lochness style monster. I thought of a shape-shifter, and I started looking on the Internet for a huge and strange lake animal. I found on Wikipedia the definition of a boto, just like Furio. When I read about the mythology of Encantados, I heard all the bells ringing in my head and all the pieces fell into place.

Another scene of the story is real, and that is the glorious dinner of fish that Reno offers to Furio and Nemel before trying to kill them. I attended that dinner, but I wasn’t the one to eat it, unfortunately. I was sitting at the next table. That stuff was too expensive for me!

Even my next release with Siren, Body Modifications, contains many episodes of my real life related to my experiences as a tattoo artist. The setting is Rome, a city that I love very much. Assuming that the tattoo affects not only the body, but also the personality of the recipient, the story is about a tattoo artist who begins tattooing himself with cheetah fur in the hope of being able to run away from a sad and painful past. Can you guess if he will succeed?

Q: Do you believe in love at first sight?

A: Sure, but I think that is an extremely rare thing. If you are lucky, it happens once in a lifetime. This never happened to me. At least so far.

Q: When not writing or reading, what are some other activities you like to do in your spare time?

A: I like taking pictures, even if I’m not so good at that. In the past I have painted and tattooed, but these things are not applicable to my current lifestyle. I wish I had a nice kitchen to cook in.

Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, or do you perhaps find you have the opposite problem with too many stories to tell?

A: I have never suffered from writer’s block, and for now I have the opposite problem. Sometimes it happens that I really don’t have a life.

Q: Which character do you like writing more: the protagonist or the villain? Why?

A: I do not really write about the bad guy, except through the eyes of the protagonist. I usually use a single point of view. I believe that the changes in point of view create confusion and undermine the identification with the main character.

Q: What’s the biggest thing that you’ve learned about or from writing that you didn’t know when you first started?

A: I always knew it would be tough. But I thought the dedication and sincerity in the long term would have paid off. I wasn’t keeping account of the laws of the market. I was not prepared to hear, “Yes you are talented, but for your books there is no market. Now Harry Potter is fashionable. Why don’t you write something sort of like Harry Potter?”

Q: What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?

A: I think the most dramatic episode in my life was when they took away my daughter, soon after birth, due to a sudden complication. I was alone, helpless, and no one wanted to tell me what was going on. It was terrible. Now my daughter is twelve years old, and she is healthy and beautiful.

Q: You mention you travel a lot and don’t have a permanent home. Where is your ideal place to settle down?

A: I’d like a place with a beautiful view. And someone with whom I’d enjoy it, of course.