Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Robert Sanasi.
About the author:
Robert Sanasi is an Italian poet, novelist and lyricist born in a small town of Southern Italy in 1981. He’s been living abroad for nine years.
After graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Lecce in 2006, he started composing journalistic articles for local magazines and short poems. He then moved to Bologna for a year ‘to escape the alienation and monotony of the provincial life’. Immediately after that, he flew to Dublin, Ireland in search of work and new life experiences. There he worked at several American multinationals and shifted towards a more creative kind of writing, focusing on poems and song lyrics in English and Italian. The family drama connected to the car accident of his older brother only a few months after his departure, his coma, and his subsequent rehabilitation had a deep and strong impact on Robert’s life and writing. This is also described in his first literary novel ‘Dublin Calling’, to be published by Wallace Publishing in December 2016.
All his works have a strong imprint of autobiographical authenticity which clearly refer to the Beat Generation. He particularly loves American literature of the 1900s and authors such as Kerouac, H. Miller, Fante, Roth, Bukowski, Mcnirney, as well as European authors such Celine, Hamsun Buzzati, and Tondelli. He defines his style as “visionary-expressionistic realism” that focuses on the emotional side of life and literature. He has recently achieved second place in the Poetry section of the online Italian writing contest Word Selfie with his poem Angel of the Street, which has also been selected for an an international event and anthology of poetry called 100 Thousands poets for change.
Apart from the six years spent in Dublin, he has also lived for a time in Copenhagen, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, Prague, and Warsaw. He defines himself as a ‘2.0 migrant urban writer’ and a representative of the current “Generation on the run”.
Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.
Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?
I’m really doing everything possible (and maybe even impossible) to get there: being a writer. I’ve been “working on the dream” for so long and so hard. Now I’m ready to start it up.
Which writers inspire you?
The ones who are not afraid of writing everything down and try all the time to be original yet authentic. I get inspired mostly by autobiographic writers and real-life stories.
Tell us about your book?
Dublin Calling, as the title may also evoke, is a journey, meaning both physical and existential. It’s the story of a young Italian emigrant who moves to Dublin in search of a job and above all of new life experiences. After his initial enthusiasm, a very tough family issue arises back in Italy and from that point on his soul and life feels like split in two: one in in his home country and one in his new one, Ireland. In the turmoil of the events, he finds himself in a private and restless quest for some sort of meaning or belonging or a piece of full happiness in the most different ways: through love, sex, poetry, trips and attempts to run away from a reality that he doesn’t feel as his own which might be seen as an escape from himself in a city, Dublin, that is just more than a mere story setting. It’s more like a woman to love and hate at the same time and at the same intensity. And which will affect his years, his growth and maybe his life forever. It’s based on many of my personal autobiographic experiences. What I wanted to do was to leave a sign of this “generation on the move” by means of a novel.
How long did it take you to write it?
Pretty much four months. The objective was to finish it just before leaving Ireland for good and I managed to do so.
Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?
Other than finalizing my latest novel, I’m currently working on a script. It’s based on a couple of my literary works. Writing for the screen is quite different from writing a novel but I must say I’m enjoying it. I think I have a cinematographic vision.
Why have you chosen this genre?
Because the realistic narrative is to me the most powerful tool to represent what I want to represent. It’s the only genre I feel comfortable with. I don’t think I could do something different.
When did you decide to become a writer?
It happened twice actually: when I was 22 after reading Kerouac’s On The Road For The First Time and (in the middle of a long hiatus) after I completed Dublin Calling. Then I truly understood it was my own path.
Why do you write?
Complex question that can be simplified this way: to express myself, to create something. Because I’m in love with arts. I guess this just happens, at a certain point, to all artistic minds. It’s something natural and spontaneous. It’s within and comes along the way at some point.
Where do your ideas come from?
Really from anywhere! It’s crazy how ideas and inspiration may come along at any time and in any place. I get many ideas listening to music or watching movies but even in the streets, among the people, in the buses or trains, often when I first wake up in the morning and it’s better to have always something to write down notes or it will be lost. You must be fast and ready to catch that idea or it will fly away.
How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
Laptop most of the time. If I’m around and some inspiration comes up I take notes on some paper or even on my phone.
What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?
On The Road for sure as it all started from that, then Ask the dust, Tropic of Capricorn, Journey to the end of the night, Portnoy’s complaint.
My favorite authors are Kerouac, Henry Miller, Fante, Celine, Tondelli (and I’d like to add Rimbaud).
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
In the last three years, I’ve been writing totally four novels, which are a lot considering the timeframe. I guess I’m still in a kind of “artistic ferment” having so many stories to tell, therefore it was always easy to move on.
I’ve never really experienced the famous Writer’s Block so far. Probably because I mostly write when I kind of need it, when I know I will enjoy the most. I’m still in a time when I’m not obliged to follow schedules or specific requests, so I write when inspiration comes. If I’m writing and something is not coming up at all or the way I want, I just stop and have a break. It means it’s time to pause. One hour or one day later, it will go better for sure.
What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?
To follow their passion, to seek improvement and new ways of writing, to be determined, to take themselves seriously as writers, to be professional when contacting publishers and agents or any other person in the publishing industry, to be open to critics and accept an initial failure or delay in results. Persistence is key to becoming an author. Last but not least, to get the necessary satisfaction from what they are doing. Above all, writing is a pure pleasure.
Thank you, Robert, for all your insightful answers!
About The Book:
A Southern Italian man who finds himself hungry for life decides to emigrate to the crazy Northern European city of Dublin. From that moment onwards, no matter where else he chooses to travel, Dublin is forever calling him! Dublin Calling is a fascinating and honest insight into the life of a 2.0 migrant. “I was jumping on a rollercoaster for a long and amazing ride. I was a young soul waiting to take-off and experience unpredictability. Hope, pain, love, sex… and everything in between. Dublin was calling me.”
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