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Ten plus One Questions with Author Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne DingliRosanne Dingli is a native of the small island country of Malta.  She was living in Malta at the time the country became its own country after becoming independent in 1964, and immigrated to Australia in 1982. She got a great education and is able to speak three languages and has had a variety of jobs. She has been a teacher, lecturer, and numerous other jobs but writing is one role she has done well. She has written multiple novels, collections of short stories and some poetry. As a person reads her first novel Death in Malta you will see how much she loved her native Malta and her new home Australia.

Now on to her responses to the Ten Plus One Questions:


Question 1: What inspired you to write Death in Malta?

I knew my first novel had to be atmospheric and meaningful – so something about my birthplace was ideal. What better than a Mediterranean island full of history, secrets, and engaging characters? My protagonist is an Australian novelist, so seen through his eyes I could portray the island just as I remembered it, set sometime in the seventies or eighties, perhaps. I used nostalgia, history, and the magic of authentic locations to pull the reader in.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

I always think very carefully about names – it’s important to have good memorable ones, that are not too ordinary, and yet not too strange. The meaning is usually abstract: complicated or complex, historic, or related to something about their features. They must also be authentically linked to the location.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

My memories of historic locations, yes. I rarely, however, include anything private or intimate such as my life events or particular feelings, even if my writing triggers memories. I find that my imagination is enough to conjure up a good story. Having said that, however: authors cannot escape their own particular way of composing a story out of what they know and understand intimately.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I liked the novels of John Dickson Carr, Daphne DuMaurier, Georgette Heyer and John Fowles. And do you know what – I still do. But I have added a great number of others since my youth. I particularly like AS Byatt, Annie Proulx, Robert Goddard and Ian McEwan.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of your books, and if you do what do they say?

Yes – social media makes sure that my readers follow me and make comments and observations, which I find can be either very helpful and flattering, or sometimes a bit too close for comfort. But there are ways of avoiding conflict or disagreement. Any contact is seen as friendly, and I welcome it.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

I can’t remember, because it’s a long time ago. Death in Malta was my first novel (2001) but it certainly was not my first book. My collected published and awarded poems came out in 1991, and I also edited a collection for the centenary of a Western Australian country town. Since 1985, individual pieces of mine have appeared in anthologies, literary supplements, magazines and journals all over Australia and on the internet, so being in print was a known feeling by the time my first novel was published. Mind you, receiving a box of books is always a good feeling – I’ve just opened five new ones, with copies of five of my books, so my hallway is now full of my writing.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

I am now a full-time writer. Most people know that authors have to supplement their income with other jobs, so since 1985 I have worked as editor, lecturer, teacher, heraldic artist, graphic artist, EIC, travel consultant, cook, and more. Since giving up teaching in 2008, I have managed about a book a year. 2015 will see publication of my fifth novel.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

I do not weave messages into my fiction. There is always a main premise, of course, which I hope readers pick up as they go, and there is always enough ambiguity in my main premise for readers to fill it with their own concepts. People always put their own meanings into ambiguity. I find that an excellent thing, because they invariably come back for more of my work, because they feel they can relate to it.

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

I rarely do this. It’s up to the reader to concoct and imagine one. Most of my protagonists are men, who would probably go one with much of the same as in the novels and stories I write. According to Luke, my second novel, brings my only female protagonist to my readers. I think I might bring her back in another, so she does have a future. There is a supporting character in my second novel which returns in my fourth. He might even come back a third time, but I do not think of it as his future.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

I nearly always dedicate my novels to my husband, because he is my first reader and most avid fan.


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 love Venice, and it would be fascinating to have a book tour there, even though it’s highly unlikely, since all my books are in English and getting them translated is a very difficult task. Even though I speak good Italian, translating is a specialist undertaking. Venice is a city I have returned to many times, and I’ve used it as a location in much of my writing. It has a particular atmosphere, and the people are quite unique.



Author of The Hidden Auditorium,
Camera Obscura, According to Luke, Death in Malta,

Counting Churches – The Malta Stories, The Day of the Bird,

The Astronomer’s Pig, Making a Name, The Bookbinder’s Brother,
and All the Wrong Places

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Interview


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