Massimo has a scientist background. He spent years at CERN and at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in California, and moved on to leading positions with Apple Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He is also a partner in a new startup in Geneva for smartphones applications: TAKEALL SA.
Massimo lives in France, and crosses the border with Switzerland daily, but no, he is not a smuggler.
He has lived with his family on both sides of the Ocean Pond and they speak three languages at home, sometimes in the very same sentence ! They feel home where loved ones and friends are, and have friends in Italy, Spain, France, UK, Switzerland, Germany and the US. Ah, as golf player, Massimo has played courses in all those countries too. With mixed results.
Tell us a little about your book.
Daimones is part true life experience and uses real facts with an added “what if” to provide an explanation to current and past events. It developed into a post-apocalyptic 98,800+ words novel with an ongoing mystery and suspense till the end, where all “dots connect”, especially with Dan’s past—the main character—and which leaves the reader, as one reviewer put it, “with lots to ponder”. The conclusion brings closure and a whole new role for Dan, and a heavy burden to carry…into the sequel.
Daimones at times came out as a flood of images and situations, an uncontrollable flow. Sometimes I found myself writing as if in a trance.
There will be a whole sequel in the universe that it is building up after Daimones events.
How did you come up with the title?
Daimones is an evocative term in ancient greek. It is root to ‘gods’ and ‘demons’ at same time. A little research of “daimones” on internet, or Wikipedia, will give any reader lots of clues.
How are your story ideas born?
With Daimones, and with stories in the past—those that never saw the light, or got out of the drawer, I relied heavily on intuition. Those stories were built upon situations rather than a completed plot. Some ideas can be more complex and difficult, others very simple. Both kinds are seeds for situations where main characters are put in to evolve. Then you watch what happens and describe actions and situations in writing.
How much of the book is realistic?
All the pre-apocalypse facts are real, descriptions as close as they could be. The rest, comes from watching the characters react to the situations I created. These come as the starting point
What is your writing process?
In a sense, it is one of discovery. In lessons on creative writing from Brandon Sanderson, he described the two extremes of writing styles and writers. One goes through pre-organizing everything, the entire plot, from the beginning to the end, the various conflicts, each chapter, everything. And then fills up the gaps, more and more till the manuscript is “completed”. At the opposite sit those writers called “gardeners”. These ones plant the seed of the story, and then the story grows, evolves, takes unexpected turns, with the writer sometimes unable to tell how it will end, or what will happen if certain events were to occur. I found myself more into this last tail of the “writers distribution curve”. I’ve watched Daimones in my mind, heard characters discussing and reacting to what happened to them as in a movie. Sometimes I was unable to write as fast as the images flow I witnessed. The story and the characters had a life of their own.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?
To leave it in the drawer to face the same fate as all the other stories. Then I decided, for a change, to join a beta-readers group online. The reactions were extremely encouraging, with people from all paths of life telling me that the story was good, captivating, the characters real and that I was crazy to only think about leaving the story just for myself.
That was a real watershed moment.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I actually hired two editors one before publishing and another after publishing. As it happens, although the story has been accepted and welcomed by every reader so far, native English speakers urged me to have the manuscript reviewed by an editor. Wait a minute, I thought. I have done that already! It became evident the first editing effort was not up to the task and did not raise the novel to the required level. My current editor has found and corrected things that should have never went through the first pass of editing efforts.
She has done a phenomenal work and she is mentioned in the Acknowledgements for Daimones in the new Second Edition, already published and available. She is a writer too and well known for her impeccable editing and reading flow of her stories.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I think nowadays the traditional publishing business is going through a (R)evolution with online publishing. Traditional publishing houses, also because of economic downturns, are much less willing to take a risk with new authors as it was in the past. What happens today is the opposite, with publishers and agents lurking places like Goodreads, Linkedin, blogs, to “discover” new talents. And “new talents” for them means stories that sell already and have an established platform. Needless to say, as in all things, there are pros and cons.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Daimones is on Apple iTunes, and on Smashwords. Very recently it has been accepted on Smashwords “Premium Catalogue” so it will be distributed on their extended e-retailers list. It is currently on Kobo, Lulu, and slowly appearing on other distributors too like, e.g., Angus & Robertson.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
People talk about the “page turner” to describe a good story, something where conflict appears at every page, almost. There’s truth in there but it is not the end of it. I think a good story has to make you feel you are part of it, you turn the pages because you care and want to be reassured that something bad is not going to happen (or it is if you hate the character). A good story should make you laugh, cry, feel sadness and happiness, move you to tears, and lose track of time. It will not happen with every reader or at the same places in the story, but if it happens here and there, to some, even one, then the story has reached its goal to please a reader, allow him to escape and live in the same lucid-dream the writer used to create a different world. A good story will find its readers.
Purchase at Amazon
Dan Amenta and his family woke up one morning to discover the world had changed. Apocalypse had arrived.
They were surrounded by horrible disaster. They were surrounded by death, yet they were untouched by it. More and more they sensed that some sort of supernatural power had left them the only 3 people on Earth. They were not!
The efforts to survive and find other people brought Dan to discover the disturbing truth about the human extermination. Dan and his family met Laura, who brought revelations about this catastrophe.
The presence of Laura, a sexy, young, and disruptive girl, raises questions about what is right and ethical in this new reality.
Other survivors report what they have seen, forcing Dan to find explanations in his own past. Ancient hallucinations strike Dan with the force of a sledgehammer. They bring him face-to-face with his new role in a scenario with roots millions of years old.
Earth is in the hands of a higher, older power, but not the one Dan had envisioned throughout his life.