Author Stefania Mattana is not a native English speaker being from Sardinia. This has not stopped her from writing several short stories, a blog on the Huffington Post and her own website. She also has a sense of humor that may show in some of the below answers, but surely on her writer blog. Why do I say that, well let me just give you a bit of what she writes about herself.
“I write crime novels and detective stories because I’m a snooper. I always have been, ever since I was a kid.
I’m from Sardinia and currently living in London, a city I really love. The only things I miss about Italy are my little dog and the bidet. Nothing else, as I’m able to prepare an outstanding pizza by myself… so problem solved!”
So, that’s just a bit on the author and now lets get on to the questions and her answeres.
Question 1: What inspired you to write Into The Killer Sphere?
It might sound rhetorical but I got inspiration from two of my favorite Agatha Christie’s books: “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side” and “Hercules Poirot’s Christmas”, which is also one of my fav books ever. If you have a deeper look at Into the Killer Sphere I guess you will find some little details that will recall those titles, although the plot is not connected to them. It’s my way to pay credits to the queen of crime.
Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?
Yes, of course. I carefully chose my main character’s name, Chase. In English, “to chase” means going after with the intent to catch, which is basically what Chase does whilst investigating. Chase comes from a “police” family: his father is a Scotland Yard sergeant, while his older brother, Scott, is a RAF pilot. I like to think that Chase’s mother has felt her son’s deep soul before his birth and called him Chase for this reason.
The surname Williams comes from my passion for Serena Williams, the tennis player, and the former Wales rugby wing Shane Williams.
Concerning the other recurring character, I tried to stay with Romans/Italian names, as Giulia, Marcella, Paola, Luciano (the dog), Benito etc.
Angelo, Chase’s Inspector friend, is a different story. To create Angelo’s body feature I was inspired by a friend of mine whose surname is Angeloni. Since I didn’t want to use his name, Federico, I went for his surname. All the Italian surnames mentioned in my books are centre Italy popular/traditional surnames.
Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?
It depends. Chase’s life is not as smooth and happy as mine, but you can find some of my memories or things related to my life in other characters. For example, Giulia’s dog, Luciano, is exactly how my dog looks like (and behaves, unfortunately).
Sometimes I create places according to what I saw and travelled in my life, while I don’t dislike to build characters and places from scratch. I think it’s pretty normal for an author to mix reality and pure creativity to get things interesting.
Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?
When I was little I obviously loved fairy tales. I was more attracted by the horror/not-happy-ending ones than by the classic princess-marring-Prince-Charming, such as Hans Christian Andersen’s tales or my favorite tale ever, Bluebeard. I think it’s a masterpiece. Sometimes I also loved changing tales’ endings (my father told me that), like Little Red Riding Hood. In my version, the girl opened the wolf tummy and started eating him for revenge. I was four. Yes, I know what you’re thinking!
The books that changed my life while growing up are too many, starting from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (Jo March’s story really had an impact on me when I was ten), Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men or Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, along of many Dostoyevsky’s masterpieces.
Crime fiction speaking, I started reading Agatha Christie when I was about eight. George Simenon and Andrea Camilleri have influenced me as well, especially in the way they tell their literary world, they’re amazing.
Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?
Yeah, Chase’s fan are growing, that makes me feel proud of my British lad. Most of them ask me what the hell Chase did in London to be kicked out of Scotland Yard. I keep my mouth zipped as I don’t want to revel anything about Chase’s past. One reader also told me to not die unless I have already left a note about Chase’s past, lol. Well, I want to live as much as possible so I won’t put anything written about that… I can at least avoid readers’ attacks!
Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?
I am about to find it out soon as I haven’t already printed them. First of all because Cutting Right to the Chase is a very small ebook, so it doesn’t worth the effort. On the other hand, Into the Killer Sphere reaches a good length for being printed, so I’m currently working on the printed version. Can’t wait to hold it!
Question 7: Do you continue to write?
Yes, I do. The Chase Williams saga is just started and I’m on Pull The Trigger, a longer novella with two young dead athletes. The second volume of Cutting Right to the Chase, this time featuring 10 x 1000k words, will be out very soon. Another 100k novel is almost ready and two other plots have been developed. I can say Chase is meddling around pretty often in Tursenia!
Question 8: What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?
What I learnt from the greatest mystery authors is that if you want to deliver a great crime story you don’t have to hide any collateral message. The best message you might send is: there’s no perfect murders as long as there’re brilliant minds around. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?
Probably getting around with a lady enough patient to understand his troubled mind. I don’t want to spoiler anything to any potential new reader of my series, but honestly I don’t think that a guy like Chase could resist too much sitting in front of a monitor dispatching cashmere stuff. He has crime hunting blood in his veins.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?
I haven’t put any written dedication on my books, but my parents, my sister and my partner know that Chase would never exist without their support, inspiration, suggestions and – sometimes – cheers up.
The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
I’d probably choose the United States. First of all because it’s a huge country with a lot of different landscapes and things to see. Secondly because most of my readers are from the US, so it would be a way to thank them for their great support so far.