To celebrate the publication of Arcadia Awakens today we thought we'd share this Q&A with the Author, Kai Meyer.
A: I drove all over Sicily, something like 1500 miles. I visited lots of small towns in the mountain regions, the bigger cities like Palermo and Catania and Ragusa, several archeological sites and some very surreal places like the monument of Gibellina, which became the setting for the showdown of ARCADIA AWAKENS. Before I travelled to Italy I had read several books on Sicilian history, geography and, of course, on the Cosa Nostra, so I more or less new beforehand which places I wanted to visit. For example I went to Corleone, which is really only of interest because of its Mafia connections, and I drove as far as possible into the deserted hills east of Corleone which the locals call, the cemetery of the Mafia because this was were the local Cosa Nostra clan got rid of hundreds of bodies during the Eighties and early Nineties. It´s one of the important locations of ARCADIA FALLS, the third book in the series.
Q: The main characters Rosa and Alessandro are from rival Mafia clans, what particularly interested you about the Mafia to want to write about them?
A: I like to mix genres and I wasn´t aware of any other book that used the Sicilian Mafia wars as background for a fantasy novel. I´ve always been in love with Italy and its history and culture. One of my first specialties as a journalist for movie magazines around 1990 was writing about Italian genre cinema, from Mafia to horror films. I interviewed directors like Michele Soavi and Umberto Lenzi, went to Rome to visit the De Paolis Studios (at the time the main venue for B-Movies) and so on. So I´ve always been very aware of the way Italians like to incorporate their historical and mythological heritage into genre storytelling.
Q: Did you have to do a lot of research into Ancient Mythology?
A: Sure. I have quite an extensive library on mythology because that´s one of the themes predominant in most of my novels since 1995.
Q: Are you ever nervous about handing your books over to be translated into another language?
A: Not really nervous, because obviously it´s the only way authors can reach an international audience. But I´m curious and even more so if it´s a language I can actually understand like English. It´s a bit different with countries like Japan or Turkey – you just have to trust the translators. But I´m sure most of them know very well what they are doing.
Q: If you could shapeshift into any animal what would you choose and why?
A: Something with lots of arms and eyes. In my house I have thousands of books and DVDs I haven´t read or watched yet, so an animal that can write and consume stories at the same time would be very welcome.
Q: Can you give us sneaky preview as to what lies in store for Rosa and Alessandro in book two, Arcadia Burns?
A: Rosa visits her mother in New York where she has to realize that the American branch of Alessandro‘s family is even more ruthless than the Italian members she had already met. She learns more about the intrigue that let to all the terrible things that happened to her before she arrived in Palermo in the first book. The story opens up in several unexpected directions – they were unexpected to me when I wrote the novel – and becomes much bigger, more global and more fantastical. But after that trip to New York Rosa heads back to Sicily where most of the second and third novel are set. It´s probably my favourite location ever for any of my books so the story really keeps and honours its Italian roots.
For the chance to win a brand new copy of the book, head over to our Facebook Fiction page!
Keep up to date with Arcadia Awakens news follow @KaiMeyer or visit his website kaimeyer.com