Who is Michael Gregorio?
He is two people, as it happens. Daniela is Italian, while Mike is English. Married for 36 years, they live and work in the beautiful country town of Spoleto in Umbria. They were teachers before they began writing full-time. Daniela taught Philosophy and History. Mike taught English and History of Photography. Their first novel, Critique of Criminal Reason (2006), an international bestseller, was translated into twenty-six languages.
Why did you start writing together?
“We were writing, though not together, and we weren’t getting anywhere. One day Daniela had a great idea for a short story featuring the ageing philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and his valet, Martin Lampe. We decided that it might having the makings of a novel. Four or five years later – we both had full-time jobs and could only get together at weekends – Faber & Faber (UK) bought the world rights, and commissioned three other novels featuring Prussian magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis. That was when our dream came true!”
Who does what?
“We work so closely together, it’s hard to say. Dania has the great ideas, and I struggle to make them work. After discussing, writing, revising, correcting, and so on, the story takes on a life of its own. Each book has its own magic; we adapt in response. I’m good at writing some things; Dani’s good at writing others. We divide our strengths, let’s say. This is good news for editors. By the time we’ve finished, there’s little left for them to say...”
What sort of books do you write?
“We’ve been pigeonholed a couple of times: ‘historical crime’ was used to describe the Hanno Stiffeniis series; the Seb Cangio novels are simply ‘mysteries.’ We enjoy the research and thrill of recreating a lost past – Prussia no longer exists, of course – but we also love the inventive freedom which comes from penning contemporary crime novels featuring the ’Ndrangheta, the mafia from Calabria, the most awesome criminal organisation the world has know. We like to think that the story is what counts, whatever we write.”
What sort of books do you read?
“We are both voracious readers. Fiction, of course, but anything else that takes our fancy. Research into history and the setting account for a lot of our reading. The love of writing comes from a love of reading.”
What do you get out of writing?
“The satisfaction of creating something from nothing is immense. At the end of each book, we marvel at the miracle of it, and promise ourselves a rest. Within a day or two, we’re back at the table planning the next one over tea and biscuits! It’s a huge challenge, but a constant thrill.”
What are you working on at the moment?
“Our literary agent is currently offering the first in a new series of fast-paced crime thrillers set in the aftermath of the Second World War. Raoul Sodano is a man with a Fascist past, and no regrets. Now, he is working with the Americans to ensure that democracy takes root in Italy. It’s a period of violence and great social unrest, as Italy shrugs off the past and moves into an uncertain future. It’s the most exciting thing we’ve ever done...”
Do you enjoy the public side of being an author?
“It’s fun to meet readers and other writers and see the world. We have been guests at some of the top festivals, and we never refuse the opportunity to talk about our work.”
We’ve been published in England, France, Germany, Turkey, Poland, Estonia, Brazil, Japan, China, Russia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan, the USA, and lots of other countries, too.
‘Critique of Criminal Reason’ was voted of the ten best books of 2006 by Playboy magazine.
Our cat, Lionello, was featured on the Arts pages of a national Polish daily newspaper!
We have lived through many earthquakes in Umbria, including the most recent ones in 2016.
We’ve been featured in Vanity Fair.
We are friends of the Michael Gregorio (the French singer)...
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Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency, Via G.B. Moroni 22 20146 Milano.
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