Interview with Stefania Auci, I leoni di Sicilia author
The Italian writer who told the Florio history
Stefania Auci is the true literary phenomenon of the summer of 2019. Although she has been writing since she was very young and had already published books of considerable interest, such as Florence, released in 2015 by Baldini & Castoldi, she experienced true success only this year, with the release of I leoni di Sicilia, historical novel published by Editrice Nord, which tells the story of the Florio family. The book was first sold in the United States, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany and only in May 2019 also in Italy. Within a few months it reached its seventh edition and the story was opted for a television series.
For us who love Sicily in general and Egadi in particular it was a must to meet this splendid author, who was able to express so effectively not only the soul of a family that made the history of these islands, but also the very spirit of Sicilian life, at the turn of two centuries.
Ramona Aloia met Stefania in Favignana, during the penultimate meeting of the literary review “Pagine d'estate. Authors by the sea ”. Scenario of the meeting was - could not be otherwise - the former Florio plant.
Elisa Di Giorgi then interviewed Stefania for us in Trapani as part of the review "InChiostro d'Autore 2019".
Here is the result of these two sensational encounters.
On 17 August the penultimate meeting of the literary review "Pagine d'estate. Authors by the sea" has ended. This time the Ex - Stabilimento Florio of Favignana hosted Stefania Auci and her successful novel "The Lions of Sicily". More than 400 people took part in the meeting once again confirming the interest that the author has managed to arouse in many readers, bringing to life the vicissitudes of one of the families that most contributed to indelibly weaving the history of the Sicilia.
At the end of the evening, we had a small interview with Stefania to try to bring home some suggestions and suggestions for the future.
What emotions did you feel to present your novel in one of the most representative places of Florio's entrepreneurial ingenuity?
"Well, goosebumps like carpet, I have to tell the truth. Much, lots of emotion, jokes aside. During the reading of the novel's passages I realized how truly the story was taking its size and its place, in the place where I had imagined it. "
I believe that when you write a sort of identification process takes place with some characters, even when they actually existed. Is there a character with whom you reflected most in writing?
"Actually a little in everyone because each of them has something of mine. To quote Harry Potter, a sort of "Horcrux" that I entrust to each character. But there is not something specific about each one. They are certainly people with characteristic traits and very particular human traits and they have impressed me, but I don't believe that there is only one element, one person, in which I can fix myself definitively. "
To reconstruct the Florio epic, you have studied and done research for three years. But how did you manage to capture its soul, to give real emotions to each character?
“Listening to me a lot, because then, in the end, the stories have their secret magic, more or less secret. The same story sometimes allows you to be told in one way rather than another and I chose this way and I'm glad that in the end it has reached so many readers and that so many readers are loving and appreciating these people, rather than characters . "
Yours has been defined a publishing case, as proof of the fact that a well written book is the key to reach as many readers as possible. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer who dreams of publishing a book?
"Two fundamentally, not one. The first, read a lot. Do not fossilize in any kind, don't be told which books are necessary to read, but let yourself be guided a lot by your instinct and not be afraid to experiment. The second, do not be afraid to write and delete, write and delete, write and delete. Because only if you are very bad, not severe, bad, with yourself then in the end you can pull out that drop that makes the difference. "
Elisa Di Giorgi also asked Stefania about the three years of research, and above all the reasons that led her to write about Florio.
Having done three years of research suggests that there is a particular reason why you wrote this novel.
"Well, the years of research, writing and rewriting are related to the fact that, unfortunately or fortunately, it depends a little on the characters, I'm a perfectionist, and I could never have made a book that didn't have the right historical references, the right steps. For me it was important above all to create a solid historical base, on which to then go to add a little to comb all the stories and personal and family events of the Florio.
We know that this book is optioned for a TV series. We would like to know who you would see in the shoes of the main protagonists.
"Fantacast is something I really enjoy! I've always said it: Francesco Scianna for Vincenzo, absolutely, and then Donatella Finocchiaro for Giuseppina. I have trouble locating Giulia, even though there was a very nice joke from Mastronardi in that sense, so who knows what can happen, here! "
photo by Stefania Auci at the head of Yuma Martellanz