Interview With Paolo G. Grossi
Introduce yourself and your writing
Hi, I’m Paolo and The Tiergarten Tales is my first book. I was born and bred in Milan, Italy. Lived for a while in Amsterdam and Paris before moving to the Big Smoke a little over thirty years ago.
The project came about while in lockdown in February 2020. I had a few ideas about different stories and started to write them down in a disorderly way. Then it started to slowly take shape.
The LGBTQ+ / Historical Fiction genre is without a doubt niche but that is what I feel I want to write and I am generally happy with a few discerning readers who are into this kind of fiction.
How long have you been an author?
February 2020. However, I have written an autobiographical account of my first twenty-eight years in Milan. I’m not sure I will ever want to publish it.
What/who inspired you to start writing?
I am an avid reader of the genre (Miller/Renault/Fry, etc.) so I thought that maybe I would be good at telling a story too.
Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it?
The Tiergarten Tales is a loose collection of stories set in Berlin, across different periods of the city. There are connections between the stories and four of them are part of a mini family saga. Sounds confusing but so far readers have enjoyed the quirkiness of the format.
How did you decide on the title?
The Tiergarten is the huge park in the middle of Berlin. One way or the other, it witnesses the life stories of the characters, therefore I thought it should be in the title.
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
It is a dual storyline. One set in the present and the other in Renaissance Italy. It involves two very talented young painters, their emotional and artistic developments and some tragedies occurring on the way. It is a book about the envy that talent can cause and the consequences for all the people involved.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My laziness and not being a native speaker (not sure in which order!).
Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
That when your book is published it is no longer your book. Reader have come up with all sorts of interpretations which I had not thought about.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
There is no point in writing something just to sell books.
Are there any genres you prefer to write and if so, why?
My genre will remain LGBTQ+ / Historical Fiction
Is there a book you wish you had written?
The Master and Margarita. Because it is crazy (and so was Bulgakov).
What book are you reading at the moment?
Circe, by Madeleine Miller.
What other novels do you adore?
The Persian Boy, Achilles’ song, Heroes, Troy, Anna Karenina.
Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
I prefer imagination.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?
Felix. Unbearably handsome, generous, charming, good-hearted. But also reckless, maddening and self-destructive.
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about and planning them?
I think about them at night mainly.
Do you write often? Do you have a schedule?
I am a very irregular writer. Fifty or sixty pages can be done in an impetuous draft overnight. Then nothing for weeks.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2021 and beyond?
My second book is almost half-way. The third and fourth are in my mind already. I will take you to the shores of the Black Sea and back to the Roman Empire.
Are there big events in your life that affect your writing?
The death of my father when I was sixteen.
Are you obsessed with stationery? And if so, what and why?
MacBook buff here!
If you had access to a time machine just once, is there anything you’d go back and change? Either on a personal level or an historical event?
Wars. Any war.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things (or people) would you want there with you?
Why ruin the blissful peace of a desert island?