Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Certainly. I’m an author/land surveyor based in Sicily, Italy. I take great pleasure in observing, studying everything that draws my attention. And when something does, I have this almost obsessive need to understand how that something works, down to the most minute detail.
I’m a lover of fine arts, meaning anything whose whole value is greater than the sum of its single parts. Hence, fine art can be found nearly everywhere, be it a good dinner, a painting, a movie, music, even football.
I also adore impossible challenges, if nothing else for their paradoxical nature. Nothing is impossible. As for the writing, I first became interested in storytelling. In fact, my first endeavour of this kind was to be a comic book. It never really went on to be something more than just an idea, but I will work on it in the not too distant future. It’s a promise I made to myself, partly because it is a story worthy of being told.
As for the writing part, well, it all started as a game. I wasn’t even sure I could write a full-length novel when I put hands on That Which Must Happen. Yet, here we are.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
That Which Must Happen is a novel about fate. Not the same fate we’re all acquainted with, rather, a series of interconnected events all influenced by each other and by our choices. In other words, an active fate.
It’s also Benjamin’s story. Benjamin is a child able to foresee, forestall, and alter these events happening all around him. In other words he’s able to control fate. But does he do that of his own accord? Surely there must be a set of rules for this. What that set of rules is, I’m not going to say.
However, at some point during the novel, his personal attachments are going to get in the way, as the one person he truly cares about is faced with a less than ideal fate. Considering that every event is connected to another and so on, he cannot simply save her. That would make the entire novel rather dull, wouldn’t it?
He was a very interesting character to develop, as I had to think outside the box.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I was always fascinated by Luigi Pirandello's works. He has this way of turning psychological analysis into simple writing and concepts. The crisis of the relative self, his thoughts about humor, the contrast between life and form. These are all subjects worth studying in depth, as they're all enlightening. The fact that we're all wearing a mask, a concept upon which he wrote Uno, Nessuno e Centomila, is an actual psychological concept developed by Jung, (the concept is interpreted slightly differently by the two).
Although he’s not an author, Christopher Nolan's works are a great inspiration as well. Yes, he's a brilliant storyteller. His manipulation of time and subjectivity/objectivity is so thought-provoking and enjoyable. His films are study-worthy material.
What are you working on now?
A novel involving Romania, a priest on pilgrimage to Turkey, and nothing of the supernatural. (As Romania is home to Dracula, I feel it is my duty to be really clear about this). All set around the end of the XIX century.
It’s going to be slightly smaller than That Which Must Happen, probably better than it. It’ll almost be an exercise for my third novel. I’ve got some very exciting ideas for it.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Always, always edit your work yourself before sending it out to an editor. Let your novel alone for a few months after you finish writing it, then take it up and get editing all those surplus words you’ve written. Don’t be afraid to cut it away. If you’re not sure whether you need it or not, you probably don’t.
Also, always look for natural ways to evolve your story, never force it in ways that are less than so.
What are you reading now?
At the moment I’ve barely enough time to breathe! But I can tell you about the last book I read, The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings by Kevin Crossley-Holland. A very interesting read, it goes into some detail into Norse mythology. In fact, I’m planning to take it one step further and read the Elder Edda.
Oh, recently I also sank my teeth in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
Next? What does this Button do? by Bruce Dickinson.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Like everything else in life, I tend to take it on a “one step at a time” basis. Six years ago I thought I couldn’t possibly write a full-length novel. A few years ago I thought I wouldn’t get past page 1 of That Which Must Happen. Now it’s published. Next week (hopefully, if I manage to take a breather for 5 minutes) I will start working on my next novel. After that who knows? Any number of things can happen. Hopefully most of them good.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Difficult to say, there are various.
Eco’s The Name of the Rose would be one of them. Simply for the staggering amount of details and historical accuracy, it’s astonishing. “Book always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.”
Pirandello’s The Late Mattia Pascal, of course. Satire concerned with the nature of the self, how could I not love it?
But most of all? The Odyssey.
Author Websites and Profiles
Sebastiano Lanza Amazon Profile