Tag Archives: interview

Neil Gaiman in conversation with Claire Armitstaid

3 Mar

Hay Festival (year 2015)

May, 29th – h 20.30, Telegraph Stage ; Hay-on-Wye , Wales

  • for further information on the Hay Festival click here
  • for more blog post about the Festival and my trip at Hay-on-Wye, the city of books, click here 
  • for the official interview, published by the Guardian, here

 

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Neil Gaiman joined Claire Armitstaid  on the Telegraph Stage. I was seated in the third line in front of the stage, and my heart was beating wildly. I had in my phone the ebook since february, but I bought the hardback copy of Trigger Warning only a few days before, and I had past my late evenings at Hay reading its short stories in the tent. So, I could not wait for this talk, I wanted to learn something new of the book that had me trapped and entertained so well in the past months. And, of course, I wanted to listen to the wise and charming mage of dreams and words that is Neil Gaiman.

pratchett

The conversation was immediately focused on Terry Pratchett, (who died on 12 march, last year). Neil loved to share the most exilaranting memories he built with his friend and co-worker of the fantasy realm. He talked about Terry as a magnificent grumpy;  a man with valours that believed humans being worthy of respect and honesty, and who did not forget nor forgive trachery. He was keen to put all of those whom had misbehaved or illtreated him in his Discworld series, as bad characters. Gaiman talked about this grumpy man full of irony and with a great curiosity of how things function or are done. He – said Gaiman – was a fantasy author with the brain of a Sci-fi author. And everyone reads his books.

Gaiman and Pratchett

good-omens

Neil recalled the year of Good Omens, he told us how this marvellous, funny book came to see the light – or for better saying – the publishers. One day Neil emailed Terry with the first five thousands words of the story, a fetus, really. At the time he was busy with Sandman and other things, and he didn’t imagine his mail would have been replied by Terry with a friendly phonecall : he was interested, yes, and why not writing this four-hands? … “I know what happens next!“, those were his words. Gaiman exposed how Good Omens was written, they write a part, they shared, revised and added some bits to the other’s part, and usually when Terry added at least one or two words to a Neal’s paragraph, it become 70% funnier. As demonstration, he read aloud a page or two of Good Omens (hardback copy  kindly offered by one guy of the public, and immediately signed!).  His voice has something of the ancient narrators, I think. I wanted just to close my eyes and listen with full attention. It was not an easy task for me, without the book open in my lap. Often, when I listen to an Audible performance in english, I help myself with a paperback or an ebook copy, just to understand every word. And, as Gaiman said, Terry loved to write about facts, he loved to write for smart people. Well, I consider myself sufficient smart for an Italian, but I need some time to get smart and well armoured with the english words, especially if I can’t read them, but only listen to. It was not a great problem. I listened, I laughed with the entire room and I also found what were the incriminated words. It was the delivery man passage :

“They’d come here to spoon, and on one memorable occasion, fork”

“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING … JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.”

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Then Neil recalled the best memory he has of Terry Pratchett. [See here, it’s perfectly reported]

From this relationship between old friend and co-authors, Claire Armitstead has moved on to Trigger Warning, his new book (published last year on february, the 3rd ). It’s a collection of short stories, some old, some new. In the first pages of Trigger Warning the reader will find an explanation, an introduction, about how and when these stories has come to life. He did the same thing in The Ocean at The End of the Lane, and in other works, because when he was young and he wanted to know how the writers do their work, he would often read similar introductions in sci-fi novels. As a young writer myself, I can say that I love to read these intro, and that I find them extremely useful and in some ways …reassuring.

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Trigger Warning and American Gods

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my signed copy of Trigger Warning

 

Talking casually to the public on the Telegraph stage, Neil Gaiman teased us with the possibility of a TV serie for American Gods. It was the end of May, and we were thrilled  just by the idea, without know that a few months separated us from an official statement by Startz. Imagine me, jumping full of joy, now that the casting has begun ! Meanwhile, we can read Black Dog, the last story in Trigger Warning, a new adventure with Shadow Moon.

Trigger Warning – Short Fictions & Disturbances, is a wondrous collection of stories. Neil discussed the origin and the meaning of some with Claire, as I said.  The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury – is about memory loss and lost friends. A lot of Neil’s works are on the problem of memory (see also The Ocean at the End of the Lane). How it is possible to forget of a friend you were close to for years ? Who collaborated with you ? Who, per sè, was so known, so famous ?

The Return of the Thin White Duke is a novel he wrote many years ago for the American Vogue Newspaper, a tribute to David Bowie, which should have had two parts. But only one was written, and ultimately Neil was fine with it.

From the public one girl asked how much is different the final product from the starting idea. And one other asked : how do you know when to finish ? The answer really surprised me, because usually I have an idea of when and how my story has to conclude is journey. He said : “When I can’t play much further with words. When I am interested more in the next thing, the next project “.  One asked : “How do you do the writer?” And he smiled, even if this is a question he answered many times. “You write” he said, very kindly. “You plot an idea, and then write until it is finished. You send your works out. You let your friends read them and you send them online as an ebook, or you send them to a publisher”. It is all very simple, but each of those steps is a milestone for every writer. Exspecially the “finish things” part.

On the importance and the contribution of social media : Neil is very present on Twitter and other platforms (like facebook, tumblr and his blog). The Calendar Tales come from a project with his twitter followers. For every month they were asked to post some ideas/prompt/curious fact. He collected the most interesting and worked on them, untill they become 12 short stories. He read aloud – as we were at Hay Festival it could not be more appropiated – the July Story. Funny, people laughed while he was reading, and I laughed too, but the story itself is very sad. The end is moving, I cryed the first time I read it. I loved listening to Neil Gaiman. It was worth the journey.

@neilhimself asked: “What is the most unusual thing you have ever seen in July?”

@mendozacarla replied: “…an igloo made of books.”

 

Footnotes :

  • This report was in part written last year, during the festival. If you notice any error, be kind and report them, please, critics and comments are always welcome. I will write an italian translation as soon as possible. I recommend to you all the Neil Gaiman books and The Sandman comics. I have yet to finish Good Omens and to start the Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett, and I can’t wait to read his books, seriously !
  • New release by Neil Gaiman : “The View from the Cheap Seats : selected Nonfiction”
  • You can read and listen to the July story and all of the others of the Calendar Tales project, narrated by Neil himself here
  • Pictures and fan arts are not mine, and I will cancel them imediately if required. I claim credits only for the two photos of my signed copy of Trigger Warning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annunci

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

15 Giu
Neil and Chris
29th May 2015, 11.30 a.m. – Tata Tent, Hay Festival

I smell of rain. I have found a seat near the stage, and I can see quite well. Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have to arrive, yet. I have to tell, I am freezing. But I am also so excited ! Tata Tent is full of people. I suppose this is the measure of success. Angie and Catherine couldn’t make the Starlight Stage full together, and that was a smaller hall. (Now. This statement is not to say they aren’t great. Or that they are less good. I like them a lot, as you can perceive from my last post. But Neil Gaiman is like Mum Jo and Uncle Stephen. Or Killer George. The Kings & Queens of writers. Like, for the actors, Cillian Murphy versus Robert Downey Jr. They are both great, but you just can’t win over RDJ. And, for the love of Merlin in a pink bermuda, I love Cillian Murphy ! I need to watch Peaky Blinders as soon as possible!. End of the rant.)

29 May 2015, 16.00 p.m. – Riverside Camping, Hay-on-Wye

I am finally restored, under my tent. The sun is shining, and my heart is a warm, wild, beating creature. The “interview”, or for better saying, the conversation between Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell – with the (small) support of Daniel Hahn – was spectacular.

Those two really had their way in entertaining the public. £9 well spent, I should say. They have talked a lot about The Sleeper and the Spindle, a short story written by Neil and brilliantly illustrated by Chris, that has its beginning with the wedding of Queen Snow White. It’s impressive, the twist that Gaiman has produced in this story. At the very start of the discussion, he felt the need to explain himself, (it seemed to me like an apologetic introduction, so usual in the past, but I could be wrong). He told us about how old are stories and faerie tales like these two, and how many times and in how many ways they have been retold and rewritten. For example The Sleeping Beauty in Perrault‘s variant has a second part that we usually don’t remember in these retellings, because it simply has not encountered people’s favor, nor in the past, nor today. So it’s like that : some stories are to be retold and reshaped in many forms, some others are just forgotten. What about Cinderella and its Chinese origins, Ye Xian, or Yeh-Shen  with the golden slippers ? The small feet of Cinderella are a telling detail. Chinese admired small feet in girls, in the way an European probably would have looked to legs, or breast. Like other loved stories, that of Cinderella has travelled centuries and continents. So the golden slippers became glass shoes in Perrault’s tale. Neil reported the mistranslation* of the french term vair, in verre : the fur slippers of the medieval age have changed, apparently for an error, in glass ones. “And aren’t glass shoes ridiculous!?” said Gaiman, among the general laughter of the Tata Tent.

A lot of other things have changed between one version and another, through mouths and pens. It is something that need, to be well explained, of an 800-pages-long book* from my History of Popular Traditions exam, if you wish to go deep in the ancient phenomenon of retelling. Something that nowadays touches another phenomenon, in my point of view, that of fan-fictions.  There are fans that write new stories taking from stories and characters they love,  reshaping them and inventing new characters, sequels and prequels, and then they publish their works online, for their fandom to read, to love, to hate, to judge, to critic, to transform, to reinvent. Then there are well-known authors, like P.D. James, that write actual books taking from unforgettable classics, and that’s the case of Death Comes to Pemberley, a thrilling sequel of  Pride&Prejudice ! Many are the faces and the means of retelling a loved, popular story. It’s something that happens a lot.

So yes, Sleeper and the Spindle is a magic, dark retelling of Snow White and The Sleeping Beauty, with a different ending, or better, with the fanciful imagination of what could be happened after the Happily Ever After. “It is not to affirm that my story is the best version” said Gaiman. Just, this short story, like many other variants*, has its right to be written, and the people have the choice : what to remember and what to forget.    

The Sleeper and the Spindle

Chris Riddell, seated at his right, was not a silent spectator. While Gaiman was talking, he showed to us the book, with its beautiful illustrations. Then he told his opinion about his work as an artist and illustrator, and about the Sleeper and the Spindle. He is, in my opinion, very funny, a nice man and a great artist. He has been perfectly good at taking every possible space in the conversation and sometimes he has directed the attention on new topics.

They talked about what it means to work together, as writer and illustrator. They recounted some funny anecdotes about their past, and the work relationship they have built , so that many times Neil send Chris some new story, or description, and Chris send some new designed character to Neil (as for Fortunately, The Milk).

fortunately, the milk 

Chris said : “my work is to take the space that has been left blank by Neil, that space between lines without words, and elaborate from there. Mostly, it is about taking that little detail that makes the bigger picture. It’s a joy to find these details when I read a new story to illustrate, and the curious thing about illustrators is that we don’t find the same details, and that we can work in very different ways on the same project, but still, I always find the beauty and the inspiration I need watching others works“.  He made the example of Dave McKean, another great artist that often works with Gaiman; author, among other things, of the illustrations for the US version of The Graveyard Book,  The Wolves in the Walls, Coraline, all by Neil Gaiman. I could feel the sincere admiration for him and his colleagues.

He noted the incredible amounts of illustrations that in the years have been published for Alice in Wonderland. 150 years of illustrations for this classic story. All of them very beautiful, stunning retakes on the same concept, (minus the Johnny Deep – Mad Hatter , he said – laughter -).

Then, Neil Gaiman came back to The Sleeper and the Spindle. He answered a question about the absence of princes, men that save the day. It is like this, he said, because he wanted to tell a story with a strong and independent woman. So, at some point, when the dwarves are embarrassed, and I will not say when, the Queen takes the lead, again. And she kissed a Sleeping Beauty… No spoiler. I will laugh to anyone who will shout out at the scandal for that kiss. Oh joy…

kiss

Nothing to say, the illustrations are beautiful, amazing. I was a little sad, I could not buy the book there, (I had just bought The Graveyard Book, which I love, and Trigger Warning*, the new book of short stories by Neil Gaiman, I was alone in Wales, and my wallet was screaming in pain, literally starving),  or else it would be now in one of my bookshelves, signed.

Questions were many and interesting.

The audience took Gaiman & Riddell to recalled their worst work. Neil said it was the Duran Duran biopic, first and last commitment he has done for money only. ‘‘I spent three months writing a book that I would not like to read, then the company failed. I lost money, and time. I learned to never ever do something for the only sake of money“. Chris recalled a set of illustrations for a Japanese class of English. He needed the money, too. And as he talked, he began to drawing the frog-girl in manga style, protagonist of this English workbook. The pencil in his hand was moving without hesitation, fluid and precise black lines emerged on white paper. “Last week I received an e-mail from Japan, they ask me permission to reprint the book.” he said, and he was laughing, still slightly embarrassed.

One child asked why Coraline’s hair were blue in the movie, and black in the book. Neil answered sweetly that he was happy of this change, and that it was a last-minute decision of the director Henry Selick, in the making of the movie.

A girl asked one last question, about the women, independent and strong, that have inspired Neil Gaiman. The answer was well-known, because he told many time that his editor and his wife are the women in question. I was expecting it, really, nonetheless it was not so good for me the feeling that he has been leaded to talk about his wife. (I love infinitely Amanda Palmer as a person and as an artist, but that question was so obviously unidirectional …).

All in all, it was a funny, interesting and inspiring conversation. As a want-to-be writer with a want-to-be illustrator for sister, it was a pleasure listening to two professional discussing about their works. I put myself in a hour long queue, with frozen feet in still wet shoes, just to thank them in person. Again, thanks for the dreams and the inspiration, Mr. Gaiman. Thanks for the kindness and thanks because when I confided you my ambition, my own dream, you haven’t laughed, nor with you mouth, nor with your eyes, but you gave me some serious advice.

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have said goodbye with a juicy news : they are working on a new story of Odd*, with Chris illustrations ! (*happydance*)

Infact, today, in Mr Riddell’s Tumblr – Sketckbook, I found these revealing sketches !!!

for more, see : Sketchbook, tumblr blog of Chris Riddell, with daily lives, funny and entertaining sketches ! Click on the pic, go go go !!!  

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notes :
*The mistranslation of the french term ‘vair‘, fur, that became ‘verre‘, glass, as it was reported for decades, is apparently false. For more, see : World Wide Words : Glass Slippers
*variants : is a technical term for the many retellings of a classic folk story, or fairy tale. So you can read the Grimm variant of Cinderella, Aschenputtel, with the elder stepsister that cut off her toes in order to fit the slipper, but you have to know that there are many other variants that diverge from it. Or Little Red Riding Hood variants.  For more, see : Folklore and mythology Electronic Texts .    
*Storia del Folklore in Europa by Giuseppe Cocchiara 
*Trigger Warning contains, among others stories, Sleeper and the Spindle, obviously without illustrations.
*You can find an Odd and the Frost Giant version illustrated by Chris Riddell that will be published on 8 September 2016. I think that at Hay Festival Neil and Chris were talking of a different, original story of Odd, that has yet to be written.
 

Angie Sage & Catherine Fisher : Exploring Fantastic Worlds

6 Giu

L’Hay Festival il 26 maggio di quest’anno ha ospitato due autrici che hanno molto in comune, per invitarle a parlare di mondi fantastici, guidate dal simpatico scrittore britannico Daniel Hahn.

Angie Sage

angie sage

è conosciuta anche in Italia per la saga di Septimus Heap. E’ facile vedere nella sezione bambini e ragazzi di molte librerie e biblioteche i primi quattro volumi della serie :  Magya, Volo, Alkymia, Rycerca– , non altrettanto vedere gli ultimi. Sulla pagina di Wikipedia è possibile però scoprire i titoli delle traduzioni ancora inedite di Syren, Darke e Fyre.

Per chi ama il mondo di Septimus, sappia che nel novembre del 2014 è uscito il primo libro della trilogia spin off, TodHunter MoonPathfinder, traducibile in Tod Cacciatore di Luna – Esploratore. Purtroppo l’autrice mi ha rivelato che non è stato preso alcun accordo con le case editrici italiane, e quindi questo nuovo libro, come gli ultimi della serie di Septimus, non verrà tradotto nella nostra lingua. Non ho problemi a leggere in inglese, mi spiace solo che un pezzo di magia letteraria venga tolto alla maggior parte dei piccoli e grandi lettori italiani.

Catherine Fisher

catherine fisher

è una scrittrice gallese che personalmente non conoscevo, autrice di poesie e di diverse serie per ragazzi, tra cui la saga di quattro libri Chronoptika. In questa occasione ha presentato il terzo volume, The Door in the Moon, e ha parlato anche dei due precedenti romanzi della serie : Obsidian Mirror e The Slanted Worlds. Questi romanzi non hanno traduzione italiana, a differenza di un altro libro dell’autrice, Incarceron (*di cui dovremmo vedere il film. Si parlava di Taylor Lautner come protagonista, anni fa). Per saperne di più anche sulle traduzioni in programma con Fazi Editore, vi consiglio di leggere l’intervista che il blog italiano casualmente omonimo ‘The Obsidian Mirror’, ha realizzato con l’autrice.

 

Ma passiamo all’intervista di Daniel Hahn in occasione dell’Hay Festival. Sotto il cielo stellato dello Starlight Stage le due autrici sono state portate a discorrere di vari temi inerenti ai libri che le hanno rese famose anche fuori dal Regno Unito.

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Daniel è stato bravissimo nel guidarle con domande molto acute sul procedimento di immaginazione e creazione dei mondi e dei personaggi, e sul modo in cui  pensare al lettore ideale, in un’ottica di vendita della casa editrice, possa influire sulla scrittura. Entrambe hanno asserito di non pensare in alcun modo ad un lettore ideale, maschio o femmina che sia, perché sono interessate più allo sviluppo e alla crescita interiore dei personaggi di cui scrivono in quanto esseri umani, a prescindere dal loro sesso. Eppure Angie ha sottolineato che ha scritto Pathfinder perché desiderava finalmente scrivere una storia con una protagonista femminile. Non che la saga di Septimus Heap manchi di personaggi femminili forti, decisivi e interessanti, (basti pensare a Jenna), ma quello che cercava Angie era una ragazza che finalmente fungesse da motore della storia.  E questo è il motivo per cui ha creato TodHunter Moon.

Catherine Fisher dal canto suo, mostrando il libro al pubblico ha evidenziato il suo disappunto per il cambio di design di copertina della sua saga, ora che si è alla pubblicazione del terzo volume, The Door in The Moon. Per due motivi : il primo è che il lettore bibliofilo, (*alza la mano*), di solito preferisce che le copertine di una serie costituiscano un visibile continuum tra loro. Sono infinitamente d’accordo. Ogni volta  provo un leggero fastidio nel guardare i libri de La Ragazza Drago, in fila nella mia libreria, e notare che L’Albero di Idhunn è l’unico tascabile. O Le Cronache del Ghiaccio e del Fuoco di George R R Martin, in edizioni e ristampe tutte differenti tra loro. Scherzando Daniel Hahn ha suggerito che questo è un trucco per far ricomprare ai fan Obsidian Mirror e Slanted Worlds. Il secondo motivo, dice la Fisher, è che basta guardare questa nuova copertina per capire che una fetta di lettori maschi, (che non avevano avuto nessun problema a prendere in libreria o in biblioteca i primi due volumi di Chronoptika- Obsidian Mirror), adesso probabilmente si sentiranno in imbarazzo. In effetti la copertina qui sotto si potrebbe immaginare più facilmente in mano a una ragazza. Cathrine Fisher pensa che prendere un libro non dovrebbe mai causare vergogna, o imbarazzo. Per questo ha fatto cambiare il colore della fascia inferiore, da rosa a verde. Un colore più neutro. Meno femminile.  Personalmente non credo che un lettore appassionato e intelligente dovrebbe farsi fermare da pregiudizi di genere. Bando agli stereotipi, aprite il libro e immergetevi in questa nuova avventura ! {79493B70-B6F4-44FE-A632-A398F1262AC2}Img400

TodHunter Moon – Pathfinder, ha un allacciamento ideale con la saga di Septimus Heap. Così ne parla Angie Sage dal suo blog :

-The first book, PathFinder, begins 7 years after Fyre ends. We start off with three new characters; Alice TodHunter Moon (Tod) and her best friends, Ferdie and Oskar Sarn. Through the incursions into their village of some vicious creatures called Garmin, their lives become intertwined with Nicko and Snorri, Jenna and Septimus. So we get to go back to the Castle and see how  everyone is doing, including Marcia, of course.-

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-Il primo libro, PathFinder, inizia 7 anni dopo la fine di Fyre. Cominciamo con tre nuovi personaggi; Alice TodHunter Moon (Tod) e i suoi migliori amici, Ferdie e Oskar Sarn. Con l’incursione nel loro villaggio di alcune malvage creature chiamate Garmin, le loro vite giungono a intrecciarsi con Nicko e Snorri, Jenna e Septimus. Così torniamo indietro al Castello e vediamo come se la stanno cavando tutti, inclusa Marcia, ovviamente.-

Allo stesso tempo Pathfinder ci tiene a presentarsi come qualcosa di nuovo. Magyk, questa essenza di cui si parla nella storia di Tod, è un qualcosa di scientifico, descritto e usato in modo tecnico. La Sage ha detto che se potesse riscrivere il libro adesso (-il secondo, TodHunter Moon- SandRider, uscirà in ottobre, n.d.A.), non inserirebbe nuovamente degli stregoni tra i personaggi, proprio perché Magyk non ha nulla a che fare con bacchette, formule e incantesimi. 

Questa è una delle cover disponibili sul mercato. Più tradizionale, si ricollega al design delle prime copertine di Septimus Heap.

La cover di Pathfinder presente al festival di Hay, nell’edizione stampata dalla Bloomsbury. Quale delle due preferite ? Anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte !

Catherine Fisher ha poi fatto un breve riassunto, privo di spoiler, sugli elementi principali di trama e personaggi dei tre libri della saga Chronoptika Quartet, (il quarto lo sta ancora scrivendo). Credo che leggerò Obsidian Mirror & co. perché il fulcro di questa saga è nei viaggi del tempo. L’ho già detto che adoro i viaggi nel tempo ?! L’autrice vi ha agganciato elementi di folklore e magia, e lli ha intrecciati al mondo che conosciamo. E’ stato un suo obbiettivo, ha rivelato alla sala, scrivere di viaggi nel tempo senza cadere in cliché alla Doctor Who.

Questa la trama del primo volume, Obsidian Mirror, dal sito ufficiale della scrittrice :

Jake Wilde’s father has disappeared, while working with his friend, the reclusive and mysterious Oberon Venn, on a strange black mirror that Venn believes to be a time machine. Jake gets himself expelled from school and sent to Wintercombe Abbey, deep in the heart of Devon, to find out just what’s going on.
Meanwhile a girl appears out of thin air pursued by a wolf of Ice and a Replicant from the future.. Sarah too ends up at Wintercombe, where Venn is desperate for the Mirror to restore his lost wife, Leah. Only she knows the terrible dangers the mirror will bring to the world’s future. And in the Wood all around the house live the Shee, and their beautiful, deadly queen, Summer. Who has other plans for Venn….
A mix of fantasy and time travel, with seven identical cats, breathtaking escapes through the cellars and alleys of Victorian London, a mysterious scarred man, and a servant who might be a genie, The Obsidian Mirror is the first in a projected set of four books- The Chronoptika.

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Il padre di Jake Wilde è scomparso, mentre lavorava con il suo amico, il recluso e misterioso Oberon Venn, in uno strano specchio nero che Venn crede essere una macchina del tempo. Jake si fa espellere da scuola e mandare a Wintercombe Abbey, nel profondo Devon, a cercare di capire cosa sta accadendo.
Nel frattempo una ragazza appare dal nulla inseguita da un lupo di ghiaccio e da un Replicante dal futuro. Anche Sarah finisce a Wintercombe, dove Venn aspetta disperatamente che lo Specchio gli restituisca la perduta moglie, Leah. Solo lei sa i terribili pericoli che lo specchio porterà al futuro del mondo. E nella Foresta tutto intorno alla casa vivono gli Shee, e la loro bellissima, letale regina, Summer. Che ha altri piani per Venn…
Un mix di fantasy e viaggi nel tempo, con sette identici gatti, fughe mozzafiato attraverso le prigioni e i vicoli della Londra Vittoriana, un misterioso uomo sfregiato, e un servo che potrebbe essere un genio, Lo Specchio D’Ossidiana è il primo di progettato  set di quattro libri – Chronoptika.    

L’autrice ha proseguito su invito di Daniel Hahn con la lettura delle prime pagine di The Door in the Moon. Mi ha entusiasmato, davvero tanto, non solo per il contenuto. Rispondendo ai complimenti del conduttore, Catherine Fisher ha ammesso di leggere spesso ad alta voce, e di amare la poesia. Per questo è molto attenta alla sonorità delle parole, e ciò influisce anche sul suo modo di scrivere, e nella ricerca dei nomi per i suoi personaggi. – A tal proposito, Oberon Venn è davvero un bel nome!– ha asserito Hahn a quel punto.  – E’ stata un’invenzione spontanea- ha detto Catherine di rimando, sorridendo orgogliosa del suo personaggio.

Angie Sage non ha letto con un’intonazione altrettanto accattivante, complice una brutta tosse. Anche la partenza di Pathfinder di per sé , bisogna dire, è abbastanza lenta. Eppure è riuscita a captare la mia attenzione con pochi sapienti dettagli, affatto banali, e ha chiuso con un hook magistrale. Mi sono chiesta perché Tod sembrasse così sola e spaventata. Me lo chiedo ancora, non vedo l’ora di leggere.

La Fisher invece per quanto brillante nella narrazione e nella lettura ad alta voce, per The Door in the Moon è ricorsa a meccanismi di partenza già noti. Il protagonista, Jake, sta dormendo. Ha un incubo su suo padre, che è intrappolato dietro una sorta di maschera, da cui il figlio non riesce a liberarlo … Al suo risveglio Jake viene minacciato nella sua stanza da due uomini,  che gli puntano un’arma contro e gli tappano la bocca. Il lettore immediatamente si preoccupa per lui, ma un angolo della sua mente non può fare a meno di interrogarsi : dove l’ho già vista/sentita questa scena?   

Le domande del pubblico sono state molte – non me lo aspettavo – , e molto interessanti, specie quelle dei bambini.

Come sai quando è arrivato il momento di finire il libro?

A.S/C.F. : Strutturo la storia, con una divisione in venticinque capitoli. So che qualunque sia il punto a cui sono arrivata, al venticinquesimo capitolo devo fermarmi. [Questo discorso vale  per le saghe più lunghe, mi chiedo quale sia la loro risposta per un libro autoconclusivo. **Neil Gaiman ha dato una risposta molto differente a questa stessa domanda**]

Che libro amavi leggere da piccola ?

C.F. : Alice in Wonderland (Alice nel Paese delle Meraviglie). Mio padre odiava leggere storie fantasy, o che comunque avessero questo pizzico di magia. Aveva una mente pratica e razionale che trovava inconcepibile e inspiegabile l’idea di un coniglio parlante e di un cappellaio matto… L’ho obbligato per molto tempo a leggermi solo questo. Lo adoravo.

A.S.: Winnie Pooh. Ogni membro della mia famiglia era un personaggio della storia. Io ero Pimpi, mio fratello era Tigro …

Quando scrivete, tenete conto dell’età dei vostri lettori?

C.F/A.S : Non mi piace restringere il campo dei miei lettori né in base al genere, come è stato già detto, né tantomeno in base all’età. (Angie Sage però ha ammesso che la regola che segue di solito è :  non scrivere cose che un bambino di nove anni non potrebbe capire. Avrebbe voluto inserire un po’ di romance, indagare meglio lo sviluppo delle relazioni tra alcuni personaggi, ma non le è stato possibile per questo.)

Quale personaggio tra quelli che avete inventato  vi piacerebbe incontrare, se poteste ?

C.F.: Oberon Venn. Perché ha un passato tragico, una personalità affascinante, ed è un tipo molto ingegnoso e misterioso.

A.S.: Silas Heap !

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Per concludere è stata un’esperienza magnifica, e la mia lista TO READ si è allungata di diverse righe ! Alla fine sono anche riuscita a farmi autografare il libro da Angie, e a ringraziarla personalmente per le belle storie che scrive. Mi ha detto che era la prima volta che autografava un suo libro in lingua italiana, e che era molto contenta di poterlo fare, finalmente !

Cosa ne pensate? Avete mai letto qualche libro di una di queste due autrici ?

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