Dieselpunk 1920s Noir
It’s life as it is, but not quite. And in that ‘not quite’ bracket there is an entire universe of meanings, discoveries, clarity of vision, new understanding. Because we are forced to see reality form a different angle, we see things that are hidden to our normal perspective.
There are readers who enjoy a fantasy story. Places where they can meet people they will never meet in their everyday life. Places that don’t look like anywhere they have ever gone. Timelines and strings of events that aren’t in their past and will never be in their future.
And still these readers also like to see what they know in this fantastically different stories. They like to recognise events they’re familiar with in the fantasy event they read. They like to recognise a familiar geography in the maps that go with these fantasy stories.
These readers like to recognise these familiar elements and they like to hunt them down in the real world, and so discover new historical events, new historical personalities, true life experiences. In this distorted mirror which is the fantasy story, they like to search for the true image hidden there.
This is how they enjoy the creativeness of the author, but also his/her commitment to the truth.
I know, I’m one such reader.
Since I started choosing my own readings, I’ve always preferred fantasy, but I’ve always been into history too. It was my favourite subject at school - it goes that far back. I’ve always been fascinated by the fantastical, by things that never were, but I’ve always prefer when those creations connected with reality: fantasy stories inspired by history, by real life mythology, by real life cultures. Walking that fine line between fantasy and history thrills me.
I started writing stories – high fantasy stories – when I was a kid, but as I grew up, my fascination with history hunt me down. At a certain point, I even wrote a series of fantasy stories set in a city which geography and history echoed the geography and history of Verona, my own city. Then, when I started working in the bookshop and had the opportunity to come in contact with books I had never thought I could be interested in (anthropology was my great discovery), my interested moved from my own city and the Medieval time I was so familiar with, to completely new geographies and times.
My fascination with the inter-war years also goes back to my childhood, when I would watch black and white Hollywood mysteries on tv with my grandma. The black and white, shadowy atmospheres. The smooth, morally questionable characters. The beautiful, dangerous women. The damaged, doubtful men. I discovered them back then and they stayed with me, even if I barely realised it. Then I discovered dieselpunk and everything clicked.
At that point I wouldn’t be happy with just a generic 1920s/1950s setting with speculative elements. My love for history pushed me to try and discover those times more fully, on my terms. To go to the source, so to be able to create my own version of it.
I started working at my 1920s dieselpunk stories in 2010. That’s when I started researching the 1920s too. A fascinating time, more than I expected when I originally started researching it, and a time that echoes our own in a very unsettling way.
When I started this blog in 2014 I wondered what I would ever write on it. Then I thought, what about readers like me? What about the ones who enjoy fantasy, but who likes history too? True, I’m no expert, but I can still share what I know about the 1920s, within and without my stories.
Are you that kind of reader?
I was born, raised and I still live near Verona (Italy), though I worked for a time in Dublin. I started writing fantasy stories as a kid. Today I’m a bookseller who reads fantasy, history, mythology, anthropology and lots of speculative fiction. Somehow, all of this has found its way into my own dieselpunk stories.
I’ve been working to a trilogy of novels (Ghost Trilogy) set in Chicago in 1926 since 2010. The trilogy is completely written, though the novels stand at different stages of drafting. The first novel, Ghostly Smell Around, is done and I’m seeking representation for it at the moment.
But I know that in today world a writer has to be proficient in many skills, so this year I decided to try my hand at self-publishing and learn everything I can.
Give in to the Feeling is the first story I wrote with the characters from the trilogy, though you’ll probably barely recognise the original story after the make over I gave it.
I’m really still a newbie in this marketing game, this blog is also about this. I share my experience as a learning XXI century author. It’s an intimidating, but also exhilarating journey.
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The 1920s are known as the Jazz Age in America and not without reasons. Jazz expressed a new way to live life, more unconventional and with a completely new sensitivity compared to the past. It was the new sound of a new world. And it was scary
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