Interview with Michele Amitrani!

  1. I could never grasp how amazing your book was and I still in a book hangover because it was amazing as it is. What is in your mind before you write Omnilogos? And why do you write that kind of story?

First off, thanks for finding the time to read Omnilogos, Rafael. I really appreciate the time you invested in my book and are happy that you really enjoyed it. Omnilogos was inspired by a true event I witnessed when I was 21, that is, the departure of the Space Shuttle Atlantis at Cape Canaveral. It was an awe-inspiring moment, watching the Atlantis lift off for the very last time. That liftoff marked the end of the Space Shuttle program and it was also the end of an era for the American Space Program. When I came back home that very day, something else ignited in my mind. It was an image, more specifically the image of a kid sitting on his father’s shoulders while pointing at the firing rockets of the Atlantis. That image was so vivid I could not stop thinking of it and after a while, I decided to write it down in order to keep it as sharp and as real as possible. At that time, I really had no idea I was actually writing the first chapter of Omnilogos. How did I come up with the rest of the plot is more difficult to answer, but basically it involved lots of reading, researchers and asking myself questions I had no answers for.

  1. What was the difficult part of writing Omnilogos? The process? The publishing?

Omnilogos is the prologue of a four-part Series. When I wrote it, I really wanted to give the reader the impression that it was a prologue, and to try to give that impression was one of the most difficult things to do. That is why the book’s structure is so similar to an anthology and why the story ark covers a quarter of a century, which, if you think about it, is a really long time for an 80,000 words novel. By contrast Pelargonium, the second book of the series is 270,000 words long. One could argue that in fact Pelargonium is the first real book of the Series and that Omnilogos is just a glimpse of the overall story. Think of what The Hobbit is for the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, and you’ll understand the role of Omnilogos in the broader Series. Another thing I really struggled with was the translation from Italian into English (I’m Italian. English is my second language). I could not afford to pay somebody else to translate the book, so I did it by myself. The entire story. Word by word. I think it was one of the craziest things I did in 2014. It took me around one year to complete that task. To even consider that I’ll probably have to do the same thing with Pelargonium, which is three times bigger…Gosh. I prefer not to think about it 🙂

  1. What specific part of Omnilogos or specific chapter of Omnilogos is your favorite among them? I love the debate and the game with 10 dollars to thousands. Actually, I love everything about your book!

I enjoyed writing each and every part of the book and I can’t say I have a favorite chapter. However, to answer your question, I can surely say that writing the relationship between Evangeline and Wei was very fun and somehow amusing. It felt natural and compelling at the same time. It felt like I was with them, listening to their conversation rather than creating it. I also enjoyed creating the Spine VS Gladia debate, and so many other things that it would probably take a whole book to name them all.

  1. What or who pushes you to write Omnilogos? Has it been your dream to be a writer? What made you write the book?

At the cost of sounding a bit cheesy, writing is something that completes me. Creating worlds I can populate with believable characters moved by different goals is what really keeps me writing. It is an exercise my mind always liked to do. I don’t think it is nothing special, really. Everyone is a storyteller in her own way, but the reason why I became a writer is because I wanted to show my creations to other people, and see their reactions to them. If my stories were interesting, if they elicited questions, if they were judged compelling or thought-provoking, than I was satisfied. Even when they are not, I try to understand what went wrong in order to improve my skills. I am a writer because I love telling stories that will survive me when I’ll not be around anymore. It is a sort of legacy I leave behind.

  1. Can you tell us a significant story in your life that inspires you to write the book?

As I said before, I was lucky enough to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis departing from Cape Canaveral in 2011. It was a really inspiring moment for me, in a way I can hardly describe with words. I have always been interested in space exploration and in everything NASA-related, so to actually be there and see the Atlantis’ rockets ignite while hundreds of people around me were cheering and smiling, was quite an experience for me. That was the starting of the Omnilogos Series, and of everything that followed.

  1. A writer wouldn’t be a writer in the first place if he isn’t a reader at the beginning, right? Can you recommend five science-fiction books that you really like? Enough of Star Wars, okay?

Sure. I’ll just consider Asimov’s foundation trilogy as one book if it’s fine with you ;). So I’d say those three books, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and Wool by Hugh Howey. I know it is kind of cheating on your question, but I’d also like to ‘insert’ some honorable mentions: Rendezvous with Rama, I, Robot and The Hunger Games.

  1. You write a possibility in the future that can happen. If we fast forward the year we have now to a couple hundred of years. Can you say that your book can happen in the future and it has a higher possibility that it could be realistic? Why do you say?

I believe we don’t need to wait for that much to see Wei’s idea happening, Rafael. Really the only major problem is our little understanding of carbon nanotubes and hyper filaments density and structure, which are what really makes the whole ‘Polaris idea’ standing. If we master that knowledge, and improve our technology (and of course invest a considerable amount of resources) we could build Wei’s mega structure in thirty years or even less. I know it sounds crazy, but the concept is really quite simple. We have most of the knowledge necessary to make it happen in the foreseeable future.

  1. What made you write a talented, genius and sad character? You killed his parents at young age and you made him indestructible.

I think Wei’s personality is the result of both planning and a ‘write as you go’ kind of approach. I always liked very smart, knowledgeable and ambitious people, who at the same time need to struggle with their own fears to achieve their goals. I think this combination makes people more real and vivid in our mind. I have to admit that the Omnilogos’ ambitions (his desire to ‘elevate’ humankind and to achieve the ‘status of spacefaring civilization’) are in part my own. I strongly believe that space exploration is something we need to do as a species in order to survive and to evolve.

  1. How many books do you plan Omnilogos to have? I wanted to have them! It so long that a book really caught my interest and I couldn’t explain what I am feeling. I just love it.

Four books compose the Omnilogos Series. As I said, I like to think to Omnilogos as a prologue of a trilogy. I published Pelargonium (the Italian Edition), the second book of the Omnilogos Series, just a few months ago and I’m now half way throw the third one. I’m planning to start translating Pelargonium from Italian into English after I finish the whole Series in Italian.

  1. Can you tell me some favorite songs of yours while writing your books? It doesn’t matter what the language is, what matters is the essence of the music and the melody.

‘Lose Yourself’ and ‘Sing for the Moment’ by Eminem

‘You’ll be in my heart’ and ‘Two Words’ by Phil Collin

  1. Random Question: Top 5 favorite foods!

Melanzane Alla Parmigiana

Saffron risotto with mushrooms.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Sushi and sashimi (Any kind)

Pistachio gelato

  1. Is Wei Wang’s character and personality is easy to compose? Which character of yours is difficult to write? I like Evangeline’s character and perspective. She makes me think outside the box, it’s lovely and wonderful at the same time.

Interesting question. One of the characters I really struggled most with was Avalon Moon. At first, I simply had no clear idea of who I really wanted to create, but slowly, thanks also to Wei’s interaction with him, Avalon’s personality was forged. Cantara too was not immediately clear to me, and for some time, I debated on Gladia’s feelings about HYPER and Wei. And yes, I feel what you’re saying about Evangeline. Her conversations with Wei remind me that we all have bounds we must understand in order to better ourselves. No one is omnipotent, but understanding our limitations can make us knowledgeable about who we are and thus better in many ways. Regarding Wei, well, I know this might sound a bit weird, but Wei still remains a mystery to me. I know how he would react to certain situations, and why he does what he does, but I guess I like to keep it shrouded by mystery. After all, mystery is part of what he is.

  1. What was it like to kill a character?

It feels different every single time, Rafael. It is like you are killing part of what you are. Someone you invested so much time and energy…well is just gone. Finished. But at the same time, I think it helps to make a character stand out; it helps to make it feel more real.

  1. Simulation and a lot of scientific words mentioned with your words. It has a lot of information to take and it needs a lot of research and studies to apply into your book. How did you do your research when writing your book?

I try to be as accurate as possible, especially when I’m talking about something I’m not familiar with. For instance, in Omnilogos I describe an object that could be used to make space exploration less expensive and more viable. I knew nothing about this specific object, and I figured I needed to study more to actually sound like I knew what I was talking about. Therefore, I decided to read a few essays, watch documentaries, YouTube videos, check out Reddit trends and several forums in order to familiarize with the idea. I do the same every time I felt that a deeper knowledge is required to make the story flow better. I just think it helps make the story more real.

  1. How did you come up with the concept of EVE in Omnilogos? It was amazing. It feels like I’m remembering Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s game but a different entity of literature. EVE is predicting the possibilities and outcomes of the future right? How did you even come up with the idea of it?

In some measure EVE was inspired by my love for Animes and Mangas. I’m not sure if you’re into that kind of stuff, but that kind of technology (artificial intelligence and such) is often showed in some of them. I’m pretty sure that my readings have something to do with that too, although I can’t quite point out one book in particular. And yes, EVE was programmed by Wei to predict possible outcomes and possibilities that could happen in the future, given some premises.

  1. What was Michele Amitrani’s childhood was like?

I was born and raised in Rome, Italy. I remember I always liked reading or playing video games, usually real-time strategy video games like Command & Conquer and Warcraft. I didn’t like going out too much, and I always had few but very close friends with which spent tons of time playing board games like Risk. As you can see, nothing really interesting or mind blowing 😉

  1. The cover of Omnilogos looks like a book that was inspired by you. Is it true? How did the artist make such stunning cover? Or whom was it Inspired? Wei Wang? What are your thoughts about the cover of your book?

This is another very interesting question. As a matter of fact, I worked relentlessly with the designer that created the book cover. We tried to try as much as possible the core of the book, which is sci-fi and mystery. The designer’s name is Benjamin Roque, from the Philippines, and it was a real joy working with him. He was relentless in providing the best artwork and was very patient in listening and implementing my suggestions. If the cover is so wicked, it is because of the time we both dedicated to it.

If you want to check out Ben’s works, you can do so by following this link.

https://99designs.ca/profiles/brobenyamin

  1. Any message to those inspiring writers out there? Any advice?

Read, Write, Publish, Repeat. Don’t stop or even slow down to promote your books until you have at least ten out there, possibly in two languages. As for the advice, just one. If you haven’t yet, go read the article by Indie author Hugh Howey called ‘So you want to be a writer…’. It changed my perspective of what writing really should mean for an aspiring author. If you’re serious about writing, stop what you’re doing right now, follow this link and read the article. I promise you will consume it:

So You Want to be a Writer…

  1. If there’s one thing you want to make a difference on Earth, what would it be?

To create LAND, and then hope that somebody comes up with HYPER soon afterward. If the Cold War taught us something, is that extreme competition is one of the strongest force that can fast-forward space exploration.

  1. What is your favorite quote with your book, Omnilogos? And why is that?

The dedication. It summarizes in three lines what Omnilogos means to me.

This book is dedicated to those who dream in the day and build in the night.

To the adventurers who have lost their path, but always find a new home.

And to those who believe that the impossible is only a possibility that has not yet been discovered.

Rafael: Hi, Michele! I love your book, totally! It’s been a long time since I read something that will capture my interest and will intrigue my mind. Thank you for giving me that kind of opportunity. You deserve an audience with this book – keen readers I know that will love your book. I hope you write more and tell the story in your mind to the world! It was an amazing journey and I want more! When will be the English edition of Pelargonium out? Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Wishing you all the best!!!

Thanks to you again Rafael. As always you’re very kind. I’m delighted that you enjoyed Omnilogos so much and thank you for your support. It really means a lot to me. I think I’ve answered above about Pelargonium publication. I really hope I’ll be able to publish it in English as soon as possible.

Best,

Michele

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