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Author Interview — Daniela Sacerdoti — Really Weird

Posted on 14/11/2012 in Author Interviews

In case you missed it, here’s the interview with Daniela Sacerdoti, author of Really Weird

Q: Did you always want to be an author?

Daniela Sacerdoti [DS]: Yes! I was given a typewriter for my thirteenth birthday (computers weren’t that common yet) and I took it everywhere with me. I wrote all the time, but I never had the confidence to send my work to publishers and agents. The first novel I ever sent out was Watch Over Me, my book for grown-ups, two years ago. Before being a writer I was a primary teacher.

Q: What inspired you to write Really Weird

DS: The sentence “weird things happen when it’s windy” came into my head, and I saw the setting in my mind — the fictitious Hebridean island of Eilean. I wrote the first three chapters very quickly, and the whole book in two months. So many different things inspired me — books, music, films — even Doctor Who, a great favourite of mine! The story came to me very easily and naturally.

Q: Who is your favourite character from Really Weird

DS: This is a very hard question! I love them all! Maybe my favourite characters are the children, Luca and Valentina. Luca can be quite shy and insecure, but he shows great courage and is unfailingly loyal to his family and friends. Valentina is fearless and a little bit cheeky, but very generous and kind. They are my paper children!

Q: Did you base any characters on someone you know in real life?

DS: Well, I suppose Isabella is a little bit me — I’m Italian, and a Mum. And the character of Nonna Rina, the children’s Italian Granny — my own Nonna was called Rina.

Q: You’re from Italy, but you’ve lived in Scotland for ten years. What is your favourite place in Scotland?

DS: My favourite place in Scotland is a little town called Castle Douglas, in Dumfries, and its surroundings. I had so many lovely family holidays there — it’s full of happy memories. We try to go at least once a year — it’s like a second home to us. The landscape if Dumfries is similar to where I come from in Italy (apart from the Alps!), so it reminds me of home a bit.

Q: There are lots of great supernatural creatures in Really Weird, what is your favourite creature?

DS: I’m intrigued by the stone fairies — they’re little savages, aren’t they? They’ll definitely make a comeback. As far as mean creatures are concerned, I love the Baobhan Sith — they ARE scary! And they speak the oldest language on earth. I’m also very fond of selkies — Mary is an old friend of mine.

Q: If you had to choose between rescuing/removing a ghost, a swarm of stone fairies or a troll, which would it be and why?

DS: Whatever I was facing, I’d make sure I’d call Alistair and the children first! I’m not facing any supernatural creature without the Really Weird Removals company, thank you very much! I suppose the easiest one would be a troll — a ghost can be very dangerous, depending on the ghost, and the stone fairies can be a right nuisance.

Q: What three things would you put in your bag before a Really Weird Removals mission?

1)A notebook and pen
2)Pickled onion liquid

Oh, and a sandwich if I get hungry.

Q: How do you decide what the cover of your book looks like?

DS: Well, writers don’t really decide by themselves — but they can give suggestions and opinions to contribute to the project. My cover was illustrated by Nicola Robinson and the layout was cured by Helena and Leah at my publishing company. I fell in love with my cover as soon as I saw it! The illustrations are beautiful, and the bright colours are right up my street. I didn’t have any input in it because I loved it just as it was, and I’m sure my readers will agree!

Q: What is the best thing about being an author?

DS: Oh, just about everything. Making up the stories in my mind, writing them down bit by bit, receiving letters and emails from readers who enjoyed my books… It’s incredibly precious for authors to know their work is appreciated. I also really, really enjoy seeing my books ready, all shiny and new and with that lovely book smell! Being a writer is just brilliant.

Q: What book (other than Really Weird would you recommend all children to read before they grow up?

There are so many! It’s hard to choose. When I was a little girl I was a great fan of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy M. Montgomery. I also enjoyed His Dark Materials, a trilogy by Philip Pullman, and of course Harry Potter, one of the best series I’ve ever read — unmissable! My favourite character in Harry Potter is Luna Lovegood. She’s brilliant.

Thanks Daniela!

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