Today I would like to welcome Kfir Luzzato to the blog. He is here to tell us more about himself and his book 'An Italian Obsession.' Thanks for stopping by!
What was the inspiration behind 'An Italian Obsession'?
I travel quite often to Italy, but when I visit my native Milan it is usually for work. It so happened that on one of those visits I managed to get a full afternoon to myself; it was a wonderful spring day and I decided to walk around the streets of my youth. That walk evoked many memories and I realized that I had the material for a strong book, right there in my head. I started working on “An Italian Obsession” on the same day.
Which characters spoke to you the most during the writing process?
I always maintain "a dialogue" with my characters, throughout the writing process, and develop a relationship with each one of them. Although the book follows Roberto, the main character, I was more fascinated with Alex (Alessandra), who is the real driving force behind all the events in the book. She exhibited a multi-faceted personality and an approach to life that was at the same time simple, on the superficial and daily level, and complex deeper down. That seems to be a constant trait of my female characters.
What kind of research did you have to do for 'An Italian Obsession'?
Since I grew up in Milan, more or less during the period in which the story takes place, I had all the atmosphere and general facts at my fingertips. Nevertheless, a surprising amount of research went into this book, to make sure that all historic facts checked out and were properly aligned on the time line.
What other projects do you have in the works?
I am putting the finishing touches to a new thriller, titled "ExtraLife, Inc.", which is planned for release in mid-2013. I am also working on the first chapters of a new action thriller (title TBA), which I plan to complete by the end of the year.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
As long as I remember myself I have always wanted to write. I actually wrote a short story when I was 12 years old. The plot was strong but, being honest with myself, I realized that the result stunk, so I hid it deep in my drawer and moved on. Then life got in the way and it took me some 30 years to sit down and do it again.
What are you reading right now?
I just got started on Umberto Eco's "The Prague Cemetery", which promises to be a great read.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I am fascinated by the past and want to be unfettered when fantasizing (on paper) about the future, so it will definitely have to be the past.
What do you love the most about living in Israel?
Israel is the most amazing country, because its people are amazing, and that's what makes living here so great in spite of all the difficulties. The country is beautiful too, of course, but the people . . .
Would you ever want to move back to Italy or live in America?
I love Italy and have strong feelings for America (see: "Why I Can’t Help Caring For America"), but Israel is home. I would like to be able to spend more time each year both in Italy and in America, though.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
While I am now generally perceived as being a regular, serious person, I did have my wild years during which I regularly tried to get myself killed riding motorbikes and climbing mountains. Eventually I settled down, however, which shows that you can let it out of your system and put it behind you.
Anything else you would like to add?
In my nightmares I dream of a near-future time when people have stopped reading. Luckily, the advent of digital technology has done exactly the opposite and made books more accessible. To me being able to reach an audience is a privilege not to be taken lightly, and that's why I make sure that my books deliver entertainment value, along with the ideas that compelled me to write them.
Thanks for your time!
Kfir was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier and WWII veteran, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis.
Novels: Crossing the Meadow (2003); The Odyssey Gene (2006); The Evelyn Project (2012); Have Book – Will Travel (2012 – with Yonatan Luzzatto); An Italian Obsession (2012).
Short Story Collections: His Darker Side (2002-2011); His Lighter Side (2002-2011).
Non-Fiction: The World of Patents (2002)
Blog: on the website
Young Adult/Historical/General Fiction
Title: An Italian Obsession
Author: Kfir Luzzatto
Date Published: 9/3/12
In the lax atmosphere of middle-class post-war Italy, sex and drugs are easy to come by. Roberto tries to find his own balance, but a crush he had for Alessandra in elementary school is reignited and the course of his life is changed forever.
It's the 1970’s, a time of political upheaval driven by disillusioned young people. Roberto is caught up in the times. He makes a new start, but his past catches up with him. Finding himself accused of a crime, he must defend himself even when he isn’t sure he committed it. A vivid snapshot of European post-war society, this novel is viewed through the eyes of a young adult coming of age.