The Heroine’s Journey of Rosa Tiziana Bruno

What is the best thing that I love about my work as storyteller? I love the ability to use words to invent the world – I can imagine anything and that’s thrilling. And it is also the reason that drives me to spend hours to arrive at a perfect sentence, to shape dialogues and look for effective adjectives. But there is also another reason. When I was a child, reading transformed my life in a wonderful way, giving me the opportunity to live exciting experiences, helping me to peer beyond appearances and to deal with setbacks or failures. My activity as a writer, today, allows me to continue to dialogue with my child part and to make young readers happy as I was as a child, and this fills me with joy.
What is my idea of happiness? I feel happy when I come into contact with natural elements, when I feel the fresh air on my face or the sea foam caressing my ankles, when I observe the acrobatic flight of swallows or the elegant gait of a cat, when I listen to the roar of the running river downstream, when I have the opportunity to breathe the intense smell of lime trees in the mountains. And I’m happy when I work to nurture my talent, and then share it with others.
What is my greatest fear? Not being able to fully live my time, losing sight of the really important things. Because today it is very easy to get lost in useless and superfluous things, much more than in the past.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? The pursuit of perfection in the things I do. I know it’s wrong, because no human work will ever be perfect (luckily!) But, even knowing that, every time I commit myself to something there is always a part of me that points to the perfect result. It’s my daily challenge, I’m working hard to win it.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? It is very difficult to choose because there are so many! Surely Aidan Chambers is a writer I admire very much for his extraordinary creativity and expertise, both as an author of children’s books and as an essayist.
What is my greatest extravagance? All my books, both novels and picture books and essays on education, always contain the word ‘wind’. It is a word I am fond of for many reasons, not only because I love the wind as a natural element, but also because I believe that the wind is the most suitable symbol to represent the essence of life.
On what occasion would I lie? Surely I could lie to save someone’s life. And to joke when it doesn’t hurt anyone
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I don’t like when a publisher limits my freedom of expression, forcing me to tell in a different way than I feel I want to do. That is the reason I always try to work with publishers that I highly respect and with whom I feel a good harmony.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? In particular, industriousness makes me happy: when I create a story or conduct sociological research. And then also the contact with my young readers. In particular, I savor happiness when I meet the children of Scampia, one of the most difficult places in the world, where the arrival of a writer in school represents a precious moment from a human and cultural point of view. For seven years I have been the artistic director of the “Scampia Storytelling” children’s literature festival and every time I go back to that place my heart fills with joy.
If I could, what would I change about myself? Nothing, I learned to accept myself as I am. But of course I try to work hard to smooth out my flaws, which are by no means few! I consider it an interesting challenge.
What is my greatest achievement in work? I am struggling to answer because I am deeply convinced that it is completely useless and counterproductive to try to become successful people. The goal to aim is to become people of value. It is not complicated, you just need to make a contribution to this world. We all have a gift to share. And we all can do our part.
Where would I most like to live? I asked myself this question many times, but I really could not choose. I believe that a single corner of the world, even the most enchanting, would be tight for me in the long run. I love to savor life in more places, stop long enough to settle in and make friends, but then I feel the need to go away to explore other places and cultures. Therefore I would say that I like living in the city where I was born, near Naples, as long as I have the opportunity to make long trips.
What is my most treasured possession? Life. It is the love that I give and receive from loved ones.
What is my most marked characteristic? The tenacity and the ability to accept the challenges that life offers me.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Without a doubt the marina! We call it “the brush” in jargon because its quay stretches towards the sea, resembling a brush resting on a blue painted canvas. The view of the gulf, the sailboats, the seagulls that flutter in search of food, the fishermen who prepare their nets at sunset, everything seems to be placed there to open mind and soul.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? There is more than one place where I like to go for lunch or dinner with friends. But of all, my favorite is a small ice cream parlor on the seafront where you can eat a very soft muffin stuffed with the best ice cream in the world!
What books influenced my life and how? I believe that all the books I have read have influenced my growth, enriched my thinking, encouraged my thirst for knowledge. Surely Dostoevsky’s novels represented an opportunity for reflection on myself. The readings that influenced my creativity were the stories of Hans Cristian Andersen. His stories, fairy tales and otherwise, have taught me that reality is complex and to be able to understand it you need to observe it from multiple points of view.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Probably a piece by Charles Mingus and soon after one by Mozart.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Miserables’. An ancient but eternal hero, in whom we all can reflect ourselves because he embodies the typical contradictions of human nature, but who fights with all his strength to feed the best part of himself.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My mother. She was my only heroine.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Very difficult to choose only one! But if I really had to, I would say “The green mile”.
What role play stories in my life and work? Stories are the deepest way I know of to communicate with others. Good stories are full of metaphors, and metaphor is a linguistic magic that allows us to say things that we commonly fail to say, and that would be destined to remain buried in the darkness of the mind. Through the metaphorical language of literary stories I can illuminate my thoughts and show them to others.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? Always in the works of a writer there is the story of his own life. So I too, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, tell about myself in my books. In the characters I invent, in their dialogues, in their actions, there is everything I observe inside and around me. My books, like my life, are the result of the encounters and experiences I live and which flow into a single story.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Definitely my nephews. Their vivacity, their ability to surprise me every day is the most precious help I can receive as a writer. They are my trusted collaborators, the most intransigent critics of my works, as well as the most assiduous readers. They are in fact the first to read my stories and, above all, they are my main source of inspiration.
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2021? As an author I would like to work again with Paolo Giulierini, the director of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. With him, in 2020, we created a new way of narrating the museal finds: for the first time a writer was commissioned to tell the “Magna Grecia” collection in order to help children and teenagers move in an exciting way through the halls of the museum. A fusion of literature and history for the promotion of an inclusive and immersive path.
Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would I love to meet in 2021? I would like to meet some writers I have always admired, many are no longer alive, others live overseas, but the beauty of literature is that it has no time or geographical limits and therefore I will be able to meet the most important authors for me by reading their works. I do not mention names but only wish myself to be able to read a lot in 2021.
What project, in 2021, am I looking forward to work on? I just finished a historical novel set at the time of Magna Graecia and a graphic novel about Mozart’s life. Both will be in bookstores in 2021.
Where can you see me or my work in 2021? I hope that the Coronavirus emergency ends soon, so that I can resume presenting my works around the world. But, in the meantime, there is my “Fiabadiario” Facebook page where there are videos and articles. What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? As far as I’m concerned it’s a great truth. I manage to get passionate about different things over time, but I always balance passion with reflection.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? I would invite Manuela Salvi, a very enterprising children’s writer who moves between Rome and London and to whom we owe the birth of the “Italian Children’s Writers Association”.
How can you contact me?

Photo credit: Antonietta Barra

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