Posted on July 31, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Not everyone will learn a second language fluently or publish novels.
Laura Radiconcini, however, has checked both of those accomplishments off her list.
Radiconcini, who was born in Rome and still lives there, has been fascinated by vampires ever since she was a teenager.
But it wasn’t until a few years ago that she felt inspired to tell stories rather than simply read them.
You guessed it: Twilight was the spark of her desire to write, but it was the encouragement of her friends that kept the flames going.
Radiconcini is now the proud author of two novels — I Am No-Thing and The Pilgrimage, both vampire tales set in different eras of history — that she originally wrote in Italian and subsequently translated into English herself.
We recently spoke with her about her remarkable new career; check out what she has to say below.
SADYE: You sought publication fairly recently, but did you do much writing or dream about writing in your earlier life?
LAURA: I had attempted some writing as a teenager, sci-fi mostly, but then I stopped completely.
Later, working for Friends of the Earth Italy (Amici della Terra), and being charged with the relations between the Italian group and the Federation, I did write a lot, but they were political documents, press releases, and translations.
In fact, I owe to my job my capacity to write in English. I had no dreams to become a writer of fiction.
I read a lot of novels, though, and had book crushes. It was my discovery of fan fiction that made me start, when I was well over sixty.
I finally wrote English well enough to post on fan-fiction websites in English. It was due to my friends’ encouragement that eventually decided to go mainstream.
SADYE: What are the fun parts and challenging parts about translating your own writing?
LAURA: When I translate something I have written, it is a sort of in-depth review of the plot and the text.
If something can’t be translated well, then maybe it is wrong and I have to change it.
For this reason, I have a lot of doubts about my next novel, because I’ll be writing it in Italian.
The plot is based on a specific period of Italian history — Garibaldi and the conquest of Sicily — and it might not interest an international public.
But if I don’t translate it into English, I might not detect discrepancies and other non-relevant things.
And my writing style might not be simple and clear as I want it to be. Italian writers (at least the average ones) tend to have long paragraphs and too many adjectives.
Writing in English taught me to write a better Italian. No curlicues.
Now, one of my protagonists is a Sicilian nobleman and I am trying to make him speak not in dialect, but with a specific cadence.
That is difficult in Italian and impossible to render in English. At least for me. We will see.
SADYE: Who is your favorite vampire in literature and why?
LAURA: There are two, and both are of the new breed, emerged in recent literature. I call them biological vampires — not damned souls, but aliens, belonging to a different species.
Aliens can be evil, but they also can be good. Like any creature gifted with reason, they are capable of ethical choices (Alien and ET).
So my favorites are Carlisle Cullen and his family (Twilight) and Professor Edward Weyland, hero of The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas.
SADYE: What’s something interesting you learned about medieval Italy or vampire mythology (or both!) that you didn’t use in your novel?
LAURA: I try to use all my discoveries.
Originally I thought that The Canterbury Tales could be a source of inspiration for The Pilgrimage, so I re-read it. But I soon realized how different the social structures were.
In medieval Tuscany, where my story is set, there were already free municipalities, no traces of feudalism anymore, so my pilgrims are artisans, guild members, or merchants, people who work for themselves, not under some lord or depending from him.
As for the mythology, I created my own, a mix of different myths, but keeping in mind the idea of biological vamps.
SADYE: What has been the most exciting or proudest moment of your writing career so far?
LAURA: To dispense with an agent and find a publisher by myself for the second book, and, when I Am No-Thing was presented to the public in Rome, the speakers’ acknowledgment of the serious historical research behind the book.
I am indeed proud of it.
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Categories: Author Interview