I was born in Turin, Italy on August 7, 1965, eight years after my brother Stefano and four years after my sister Loretta.
As a yougster, I did not want to go to pre-school; I did not want to miss the Popeye cartoons on television, and I much preferred to stay with ny nanny Giova who love to tell me about the frightening horror films she had seen.
I also loved staying with my paternal grandmother Pierina in Castelnuovo Belbo in the province of Asti. Friday mornings, we would take the bus to the flea market in Nizza Monferrato, where I could rummage through the bookstalls of previously-owned comic books to my heart’s content.
I didn’t do so well in school because I was always daydreaming and was basically very timid with others of my age.
My closest childhood friend was named Cristiano, and I spent more time at his house than I did at mine. He always had new games and comic books, and most important of all, he had a 16mm film projector, which was one step below the professional grade of projector used widely in parish auditoriums. You can imagine what a blast that was, when videocassettes didn’t even exist yet! We preferred the Gamera and Godzilla monster films from Japan, horror films such as Dracula and House of Wax and the first Terence Hill and Bud Spencer films. Cristiano and I started using my mother’s 8mm “Super 8” movie camera for filming shorts. It was an ugly day for me when I found out that Cristiano was moving to Florence!
I began to have more friends during secondary school, mainly because I got some of my companions involved in filming shorts. Even when I began studying humanities at university, I and my friends continued making independent films which were then shown at festivals such as the Turin Film Festival (then known as the International Youth Film Festival). Again during my university years, we started up a fan magazine called “Filmania’s Slurp” in which we reviewed those film genres that interested us most: horror and fantasy. We were the first in Italy to publish a monograph on Japanese fantasy movies, written by the movie critic, Riccardo Esposito.
But the actual defining event in my life was when a met my soulmate Giovanna, for whom I wrote my first story, “Ben’s Christmas”, whose protagonist is a type of beneficent house spirit, Rob Snulf, who protects the garret where a young couple, Joe and Joey live (a bit of an autobiographical reference, I admit!).
By writing this story, I had found a new means of expression that was much more congenial for me, and from then on, I gave up movies for childrens’ books because through them, I could relive the intense emotions of certain movies, comics or books of my childhood.
Thanks always to Giovanna, I’ve changed the way I look at nature, and especially at animals. My parents had never allowed me to have a cat or a dog, but when I met Giovanna, she had one dog, two cats and a terrapin. When we went to live in the garret (inherited from my grandmother), Giovanna brought her two cats, Ciattalina and Cocotte, to live with us (unfortunately, the dog and the terrapin had passed on from old age). Living with them was such a magical experience that, even though I’m allergic to cat hair, we adopted two older cats, Didi-Pippi and Lilli-Tove, who lived with us for only a couple of years.
Our present orphans are named Chapulin (or Ciapulìn, a kitty with a bit of the Norwegian in him, a tiger with long gray hair, the son of a stray who gave birth to him in a van below our home on the Po river) and Lea, a big cat, dark-colored with flecks of black and brown, that had been abandoned.
Our family has also grown in more ways than one; a large stray dog of the female persuasion decided that we needed her in our lives, so Shy adopted us in 2010, and she also found a virtual home in my new book, The Town of No-Return, clearly showing how the personal life of a writer is inextricably intertwined with his work!
So that's all for now!