Today I’m chatting with Aly Locatelli, one of the contributing authors in the upcoming murder mystery anthology, ‘Death Among Us’.
Thank you, Book Squirrel! It’s so nice to be here.
What inspired you to write?
I began writing when I was 11 years old. My family and I had just moved to the UK from Italy, and my English was very poor. All I knew were the basic school-taught phrases that, unfortunately, didn’t really help in real world situations. My English teacher at the time suggested I try writing short stories in my spare time to practice the language. When I handed in my first short story and she really enjoyed it, I realised how much I had enjoyed writing it. From then on, I would write short stories and beginnings of full-length novels and hand them in every week.
Practicing English also came in the form of listening to audiobooks, reading, and watching shows with the subtitles on (a habit I still have to this day), but writing really cemented my learning.
What’s your favourite thing that you have written?
I’ve written a couple of books that I’ve had a blast writing. One of them features a haunted island and a very unlucky teenager and her family; another is high fantasy with dragons, magic, political intrigue and talking sloths. I hope the world gets to read them one day.
What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?
Oh gosh. I am a huge fan of V. E. Schwab. I’d read her shopping list if I could get my hands on it. A Darker Shade of Magic saw me through some rough days, and is a book I turn to whenever I struggle to live in the real world. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas is another, even though I haven’t finished it. I have a lot of thoughts on those last two books. Also Tana French and Gillian Flynn, for the murder mystery lover within.
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
*stares at teetering TBR pile*
This year has been hard for me when it comes to reading. I haven’t had the right head to sit down and actually get through all the books I’d planned on reading. However, I absolutely adored Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan and Sadie by Courtney Summers.
What are you working on writing now?
I’m working on a few projects at the moment. I’m trying out the whole “plan, don’t pants” thing and… well. We’ll see how that goes. One of a horror/mystery and the other is, of course, fantasy.
Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?
Coffee. Coffee gets me through every single challenge. It’s like the writing buddy I never knew I had.
Forest, country, beach or city?
Forest! Give me silence, solitude and cooler weather any day of the week.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I started off wanting to be a lawyer. Then a psychologist. Then a criminologist. And then, somehow, I wanted to work in publishing if not become a published author myself. I guess I’m kind of getting there with the last one, ha!
What’s your favourite season? Why?
Winter. I grew up in the mountains bordering France and Italy, right in the peaks. We had some of the coldest winters with thick snow and blizzards. Something about winter is just endlessly romantic to me. Hot chocolate, thick blankets, fluffy socks… *sighs*
Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?
George RR Martin is top of my list. The guy managed to build an entire world, several languages and a multitude of stories that have captured the world. I’d love to be like him one day.
V. E. Schwab. She’s published quite a few novels, all whilst getting her degree. She’s also public about mental illness and her day to day life living with it and for someone who struggles with depression and anxiety myself, I feel seen by her.
Jay Kristoff. The way he writes is magical and captivating and even his darkest novels (Nevernight and Godsgrave) are humorous with some light-hearted moments. He’s another author I’d love to meet one day.
What’s your favourite quote, ever?
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” Delilah Bard, A Darker Shade of Magic.
Name three people you admire, and give reasons.
My mum and dad are two of the people I admire. I know it sounds cliché, but we truly have been through some stuff in our time. Awful, depressing stuff that most people wouldn’t come out of. My mum and dad have always been my constants, people I could turn to even just for some words of comfort. My mother is so strong — mentally, physically, emotionally — and my father is tough as nails and as wise as can be. I’d be lost without them.
The other person is my boyfriend. We’ve been together almost two years but, again, we’ve been through stuff you wouldn’t think possible. He’s been my rock and his sense of humour and positive attitude has pulled me out of more than one “dark day.” I don’t know what I would do without him, and hope I never have to find out.
Name two things in life that you wish were easier.
Life in general would be great if it were simply easier. Joking aside, writing is definitely one of them. If only there was a universal rulebook we could all follow when it comes to writing books, that would’ve been fantastic. Another is accepting criticism, personally. I actively seek out people to criticise my work, but then sit there for days self-hating because of said criticism. It’s helped me grow, that’s for sure, but I wish it were easier for me to brush it off and move on.
Before you go, why don’t you tell us about ‘Death Among Us’?
‘Death Among Us’ is a collection of 23 murder mystery short stories that releases on July 7th. It is a really varied and interesting multi-genre collection by some really great authors.
That sounds great! Where can we get a copy?
Thanks for being here today, Aly. It’s been great to get to know you a little better.
Thank you for having me!