Interview with Antonio Amodio

Antonio Amodio is from Foggia, a town in Southern Italy. His dream is to be a writer. We have conducted an interview with him.

How do you craft the characters in your stories?
To put together a good character crafting system is no easy task. Actually it's the hardest one in my opinion, because good stories live and survive only when supported by strong and very down-to-earth characters. They don't need to be special. They could be weak, insignificant, even cowardly, but they have to be coherent above all. It's coherence that makes them real. Coherence is the soul of my crafting system, without it there aren't many appropriate characters good enough to set up a story with. The system I've been adopting so far is not perfect, but surely gets its job done. It took me six years to make it steady and efficient and still there's room for improvements, obviously. I always put family ties in first place. Mankind means relationships, lots of them, for no man's an island: being a widow could represent a burden as heavy as being a struggled father in the middle of a divorce, for example. The web of mutual relations between characters serves as fuel for the drama and good characters need drama in order to set themselves in motion. Relationships are a top priority during the characters construction process. Flawed relations or relations that lack balance, in my opinion, are the best source for drama. The second step of the system concerns characters' habits, tastes and opinions. TV shows, cigarettes, food, beverage, cars, attire, politics and religion, there's an infinite list of variables (some more important than others, and they all need to be considered). We are what we eat, feel and consume. Each element in the second phase of crafting (usually the longest one) directly molds the physical appearance, the last brick in the wall – so to speak. This system works very well most of the time, because it is as simple as it is flexible and versatile. Every single character I made is the result of this three-steps equation.

What kind of stories do you like to write about? Which genres?
It depends. Stories are like models, while genres are like dresses. You can always force someone into losing or gaining weight and then try to put a dress on him/her, but if you're working with an awful model that won't make any difference. Ugly model means ugly dress, even when the dress is ok. Genres conventions need to bend a little (not too much) in order to create a great story, for each story matches with a specific genre, or even a mix of different genres. Experimentation takes quite a long time. It's all about trying, failing and tryin' again for better results. Anyway my first short story was a war tale set in the Sixties – during the Vietnam conflict. It is called "Nella pancia della Bestia" (In the belly of the Beast, in English). I personally prefer gothic, horror, crime and noir stories. Recently I've been working on a noir trilogy set in a fictional city called Battersmith (in the British West Midlands) during the Nineties. The first two episodes ("United Kingdom of Nowhere" and "Erin Go Bragh") are done, the last one is in the W.I.P. limbo. I still can't find a good start.

Who are your target audience/s?
Everyone who's interested enough to get past page two. Lots of readers are very lazy nowadays, but people who read my stories said they were worth their time.

What is your unique thinking process(es) when telling your stories?
I tend to get surgical about my stories. It happens most of the time and because of that I need a particular kind of omniscient narrator. This technique is useful (and sometimes mandatory) in order to run plots the right way, but I make use of it far beyond the usual manner. My narrator is not a God, it acts more like a living "circle" blessed with self-consciousness. He represents an ideal nexus of every psychological and physical status concerning the characters and thus depicts a coherent ring where each "dot" embodies the life of a character. The fictional worlds I make and the people that live in them can't be separated from this kind of narration, because the narrator is the herald of the story itself and must deliver a "big picture" that only exists as the final sum of all the other characters' existences. In my opinion writing stories equals doing maths in a very creative way.

Where do you get creative inspirations for the plots and settings in your stories?
I walk, talk and listen. Like a lot. Everyday. This is the answer, there's nothing else to say.

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