Domenico Attianese is a recent university graduate who has transformed his love of writing in the start of a professional writing career. One of his first novels is Punto Nemo and places Captain Nemo in a battle against Cthulhu and similar creatures. Attianese has not only gone on to publish other must-read stories, he is currently writing a script to adapt Punto Nemo for television. Wanting to learn more about Attianese and his career, he allowed me to interview him for ScifiPulse.
Nicholas Yanes: Growing up, what are some stories that you loved? Are there any that you enjoy revisiting as an adult?
Domenico Attianese: If memory serves me right, the first book I read was a book of mythology for kids. I do not even remember if I was old enough to go beyond the figures, but I remember as if it were yesterday how fascinated I was by these stories as soon as I could read them.
Greek Mythology, Nordic Mythology and Christian Mythology were the first stories I approached. And, of course, as time passes, mythology remains and always will be a part of me, even when it comes to writing. It is no coincidence that one of the last flash fiction I wrote is a horror story about a Christian saint.
Yanes: When did you know you wanted to become a professional writer? Was there a specific moment that crystallized this goal for you?
Attianese: I remember it, yes. I remember it because I had never thought about it before. I had always loved reading, I had fun writing imaginary characters when I was a kid, and the love for mythology was also due to a love for building worlds, but becoming a writer? It had never crossed my mind. It was love at first sight, I was in a bookstore, I was 15 or 16, and I saw the announcement of a writing course, on an advertising bookmark. I took it, read it and, right there, decided what I wanted to do for a living (or maybe I had always know, who knows) was to write.
Yanes: On this note, what are some authors and creators you think have influenced how you tell stories?
Attianese: Whoever it was, millennia ago, who told the first stories, legends and mythologies. Obviously, H.P. Lovecraft always fascinated me because of his enormous talent for creating worlds, a whole mythology. Neil Gaiman is certainly one of my sources of inspiration, in the themes, genres and in the extreme ability to know which chords to strike in telling a story. Among those who most influenced me, I can mention Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, who has great narrative skills. I could also mention Alan Moore, Terry Pratchett, Quentin Tarantino, Clive Barker, Wayne Barlowe…the list would be really long.
Yanes: As an Italian, what are some classic horror stories from Italy you think more people across the globe should know about?
Attianese: Italian regional folklore is full of terrible and obscure stories. Fantastic stories, which are rooted in the Middle Ages, in the Christian religion (and therefore full of demons or devils) or in popular beliefs (with witches and monsters of all sorts) that multiply from region to region. Besides that, I think everyone in the world should know a horror master like Dino Buzzati.
Yanes: Also, given that you speak Italian, French, and English, how has this access to three languages impacted your writing? Do you ever find yourself shifting from one language to another?
Attianese: Honestly, I never reflected before on the fact that my linguistic knowledge could influence my writing. I started writing seriously during my university years, five or six years ago, at the same time as I was studying to increase my English skills and learning a very academic (and now rusty) French. As a result, I never wrote while I knew only one language, so, returning to your question, even if there was an influence, I don’t feel it consciously.
Yanes: Your first published work is Punto Nemo. What is this story about?
Attianese: Punto Nemo is the first story that I published on Amazon. Punto Nemo starts with a very simple question: What would Captain Nemo do if he were to fight Cthulhu and the Great Ancients? It is a story halfway between horror and adventurous fiction, and it has been so successful as to push me to write a sequel, and some other stories still waiting to see the light of day.
Yanes: Since you first finished Punto Nemo, how do you feel that you’ve grown as an author?
Attianese: Punto Nemo was really a turning point. Before then, I had submitted my stories only to a few publishers, gratuitously, which was not what a professional author should routinely do. Punto Nemo, in short, was my first work like a pro. And since then I realize I’ve grown a lot, I could say I’m a completely different author, improved and renewed. I realize that a few years ago I would not have been able to write the stories I write today. But since then, many things have happened, good and bad, which certainly made me mature even as an author. I am also convinced that an author never ceases to grow and improve.
Yanes: You are currently developing Punto Nemo into a TV show. How has this opportunity allowed you to expand on the story you wanted to tell in Punto Nemo and its characters?
Attianese: While I was writing Punto Nemo I always had a sequel in mind in the form of a novel. But I have too small an attention span to write novels because I get bored. Too much time writing about a single idea is not for me. But, with time, the idea of a script took hold as the only way to follow up on Punto Nemo. Also, to measure myself with a new form of writing. In the end, the script went a completely different way than the short story, to the point where they only share some characters, some situations and themes. It took me four months to organize the plot of the Pilot. It was an awesome creative period, the evolution of a world, delineating a plot that would unfold in numerous episodes, developing characters, ideas and situations. During that time, I realized that there was something else I loved besides writing stories: writing screenplays. But again, a story and a script have many things in common, from the creative point of view.
Yanes: When people finish reading your narratives, what feeling do you hope that they leave with?
Attianese: Amazement, surprise, wonder, anguish, emotion. It depends on the type of story, I suppose, but, in general, I want them to get lost in my stories, to be passionate about them, no matter whether they are printed on paper or on a screen, streamed online or watched on TV or in a cinema.
Yanes: Finally, what are you currently working on that people can look forward to?
Attianese: For the Italian market, I am currently working on an essay that will be released next year, and I also have a couple of stories ready, but I do not know when I will publish them yet. For the international, English-speaking market, however, I am preparing the publication, again for the next year, of at least three stories. Meanwhile, of course, I’m also working on a new screenplay. But I’m still at the beginning: will it be a movie or another pilot? I still have to decide!