How would you describe yourself?
Dani: I guess I'm moody.
Mike: Easy-going, forgetful, enthusiastic.
What are your shortcomings?
Dani: Moodiness, what else?
Mike: I have lots of shortcomings! Procrastination, regarding anything that doesn't interest me. Impatience, regarding everything that does!
How do you like to spend your free time?
Dani: Watching a film, reading, or playing with our cat, Lionello (see photo).
Mike: Ignoring it! I'm too busy to watch the clock, or there's football on tv.
When was the last time that you cried?
Dani: Yesterday, watching Puccini's "Tosca" on Sky.
Mike: Quite often, really. For nothing - every time an opera ends and the singers take their curtain-call, for example. For big things - I just have to see a snip on the tv news. I am highly emotional.
The meeting that changed your life?
Dani: My husband. My cat. My agent. The order changes depending on my mood!
Mike: J. S. Bach, my wife, Lionello the cat, our agent, Leslie Gardner, our editor at Faber, Walter Donohue (strictly chronological order).
The happiest day that you remember?
Dani: The day our agent told us that she had sold the book.
Mike: So far? Hitting no. 3 in the Italian bestseller list with Critique. I'm looking forward to seeing Days of Atonement at no. 1 very soon in the UK, USA, China, Japan, and all the other countries where the rights have been sold...
Dani: Any day spent looking after my father, who has Alzheimer's.
Mike: There've been many. Fortunately, I have strong powers of recovery... That is, I manage to distract myself quickly. I don't think that's a very positive quality, do you?
Who are your favourite writers?
Dani: Charlotte Bronte, Kafka, Patricia Highsmith, Marguerite Yourcenar.
Mike: Classics - Dickens, Melville, the Russians, Shakespeare seems too obvious to name, but there you go! Moderns - Alan Furst, Craig Russell, Bill James, Don Winslow, lots of other crime and thriller writers, too.
What are your favourite books?
Dani: Jane Eyre, Memoir of Adrian, Murder in the Rue Morgue, Tales by the Brothers Grimm.
Mike: Great Expectations, Moby Dick, Panicking Ralph... many more.
Who is your favourite painter?
Dani: My father, Giuseppe De Gregorio (see photo)
Mike: J.M.W. Turner, the English watercolourists, Caravaggio, Holbein's miniatures, Dani's dad.
Dani: Puccini, Mozart, Dvorak.
Mike: Haydn, Boccherini, Bach, Scarlatti (father and son), Vivaldi, Kapsberger. Mozart, of course. Charpentier, Handel's operas and oratorios. I work to music, so I get through 8 or 10 classical CDs a day! I also like Roger Chapman's Streetwalkers - nasty British rock from the 80s.
What do you like to eat?
Dani: Pizza, Italian bread with prosciutto crudo.
Mike: Pasta in any shape or form. Pizza. Fish. I can't stand meat - when I look at the plate, I hear the lowing of cows, and see the horns!
Dani: Coffee, white wine.
Mike: Milk, beer, wine, whisky, water. Never mixed, of course.
Which historical figure(s) do you most admire?
Dani: Winston Churchill and Socrates.
Mike: L. J. M. Daguerre (the inventor of photography). Giuseppe Garibaldi - I have a large collection of original photographs of him, and have done a couple of exhibitions here in Italy.
Which historical figure do you detest?
Dani: All XXth century dictators. All religious fanatics.
Mike: Hitler. How in heaven's name did he get inside the German psyche?
Which 'sins' inspire your indulgence?
Mike: My own!
What is your personal motto?
Dani: An eye for an eye. But just in theory. I am too lazy, really.
Mike: Today was good, tomorrow will be better.