HWA Italy Chronicles #3: The First Lady

I would like to continue to introduce the members of Italy Chapter (hey, now we are 32!) so, after Stefano Fantelli, I interviewed another new Active Member, Simonetta Santamaria, the "First Lady" of our chapter.

But, before we start, I want you to know that soon I’ll have the opportunity to introduce, in the flesh, at the StokerCon, another member of the Italy Chapter, Paolo Di Orazio, an HWA Active Member. We’ll attend the event together; it will be an opportunity to present and sign our collaborative forthcoming book The Monster, the Bad, and the Ugly. You’re thinking about Sergio Leone, aren’t you? Well, you’re right, but be careful: there will be more blood for you.

And now is time for our "First Lady," and gallantly we have to make way for her.

Introduce yourself.

I’m a thriller and horror fiction writer. I like to tell the dark side of life and people, which is hidden inside all of us. We’re afraid to find out this "shadow," to awaken it, to not have full control over it. For this reason, as a weird "shadows hunter," someone says I'm a strange person, and I'm okay with this, because I don't like what is called "normal."

Name one of your books we should read, and why?

I See You, only because it's my latest novel. You can’t ask a mother to choose one of her sons.

What are you most afraid of?

The darkness. It oppresses me and makes me think of the grave.

What is horror’s mission (in literature)?

Giving the readers strong emotions, injecting into their blood a fair amount of fear mixed with excitement, carrying them in the mists of the unknown, pushing them in front of the dark mouth of the mystery, but without making too much of splatter. What is not seen, what remains in the shadows, and to which the readers can give shape through their imagination, is equally important to the characters and events of a story. This is the true horror for me.

Your favorite horror writers (and books)?

One above all: Stephen King. I followed him throughout his literary production; I was even in Maine, in the locations of his novels, also just below his own house. He’s the master of the genre, as was Poe, another author I admire greatly. But there are great horror writers even in Italy, you know.

Your recurring nightmare?

A maze, in the dusk. I have to leave it in a hurry, even if I don't know why. Then, when I almost reach the exit, I come across a new maze, which overlaps the other like a tile on the stack of the others. And then, another maze, with the need to escape, constantly, from something.

An endless anguish.

How about your new projects, as a writer?

Keep writing on my way, and finding a publisher to give life to my nightmares and dreams without asking me to work on a more easily marketable project. If I wanted an easy win, in this profession, I would have already done it.

Recommend a horror book by an Italian writer

Many are friends of mine; they will excuse me if I mention only one of them, Danilo Arona.

I like his whole literary production, but my favorite book is the novel L’Estate di Montebuio (The Montebuio’s Summer), an exciting and surreal story.

Why did you join HWA?

I hope to get out of the Italian borders where the horror genre is still imprisoned in a market niche. Although I was one of very first female Italian horror writers, I had to overcome many obstacles and difficulties in order to follow my path. This still happens today.

Perhaps it is true that no one is a prophet in his homeland.

About Simonetta Santamaria

Thriller and horror fiction writer, journalist, irreducible biker, cat and orchids lover.

She won the XI Edition of the Lovecraft Prize and the Fantastique Award, as part of the first Fantasy Horror Award in Italy. Among her works, the novels Dove il Silenzio Muore (Where Silence Dies, Cento Autori) and Io Vi Vedo (I See You, Tea/Tre60), the collection Donne in Noir (Women in Noir, Il Foglio) and Il Segreto della Janara (The Secret of the Janara, MilanoNera Press).

Her illustrated essays Vampiri – da Dracula a Twilight (Vampires – from Dracula to Twilight, Gremese) and Licantropi – i Figli della Luna (Werewolves - the Children of the Moon, Gremese) were translated in France and Spain.

She’s an Active Member of the HWA and lives in Naples (Italy).

Web site: www.simonettasantamaria.net

About HWA Italy Chapter:

Web site: http://www.horroritaly.org
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/hwaitaly/
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