Friday, March 14, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: Lapo Melzi (Author of Horse Sense)

This week, I am excited to welcome middle grade author Lapo Melzi, author of Horse Sense, to the blog. Hope y'all will give him a warm welcome.

About the author:
Lapo Melzi is a poet, writer and filmmaker. He grew up in a little town in the north of Italy and went on to study writing and filmmaking in New York. He received his MFA from renowned NYU Tisch School of the Arts and now spends his time between the United States and Italy.

You can haunt Lapo Melzi at-
Website | Twitter | Goodreads


1. How did Jamie meet Acorn?

They grew up together. Jamie is not only Acorn’s best friend, but his godfather. He was the only one present when Acorn was born and he was the first to cheer him when Acorn first stood up and walked. Since then, they have grown up together and spent all their time together. They are basically brothers.

2. In Horse Sense, what is the most difficult thing Jamie will face as he enters adolescence?

The most difficult thing that Jamie will face as he enters adolescence is the recognition that not all people around him are good. In fact, many are bad, for different reasons, and will hurt him as soon as they have the chance. So, he must decide where he wants to stand in life: whether he wants to be true to himself and his best friend or to the people around him.

3. If you could tell Jamie just one thing what would it be and why?

I would tell him, “I am very proud of you.” There wasn’t anything anybody could do to make him avoid the pain he had to go through, but that brought out the best in him and for that, I am very proud of him.

4. What was the last book you read the left a big impression on you? What about it made it special to you?

It’s a nonfiction book: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Yeah, I know fun read, you think, but it was an amazing read. Written by a journalist that was eyewitness to many of the events of WWII it is the book that actually made me understand how WWII came to happen and the personalities of many of the people involved. History is one of my interests.

5. Three people or authors that inspire you and why they inspire you?

Tolkien was the author that at fourteen blew my mind away and probably ignited my desire for telling stories. The creativity, research and fun contained in LOTR are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Hillebrand I love because of “Seabiscuit, an American Legend” and her amazing portrayal of equine and human psychology. Bill Watterson, because “Calvin and Hobbes” is the perfect combination of humor, philosophical pondering and keen psychological representation.

6. Time for a little finish the sentence fun: "When I'm not writing, I enjoy doing ________?  I enjoy it because ___________?"

I enjoy hiking and dancing tango. I’ve had the luck to grow up near the beautiful Alps, so I have always gone on hikes in the mountains and I love it. Being in touch with such splendor and life (and a tad of danger) makes me feel alive. Tango I was finally able to start a couple of years ago and I love it because it is a most complex dance that takes at least five/six years to master, plus it’s called the “art of the embrace” which pretty much sums up everything about it.

7. Alright, Lapo, since you split your time between living in Italy and the US, what would you say is the biggest difference when it comes to living in both countries? Is there one thing you like more about one than the other?

There is a pretty huge difference in the style of life between the two countries. I prefer the US when it comes to working with people, because people understand teamwork and want to get things done. Italy I prefer because your worth as a human being is not tied to how much you “work!” and therefore you can enjoy your time much more.

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?

I have a character that could totally save the day and nobody would see him coming. It’s an ex experiment rat that was manipulated to have human intelligence and escaped his own vivisection. Now hiding underneath a comic book store, he’s been experimenting for years with the superhero gear that he has seen in comic books. If he got hold of some robot parts of the invading army, he could probably wreck havoc and save the Earth. Just saying…

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My writing cave in the winter is my bedroom and it thoroughly depresses me. My spring/summer/autumn cave instead is a nice park right on the shore of a beautiful lake nearby. My favorite spot is a bench surrounded by three lush trees that affords me just the right amount of shade and at the same time offers a nice view of the lake. That’s where I wrote most of Horse Sense.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?

I am working on “Moonboy” right now, the tale of the last soon of the Moon who sets up on a quest to build a bridge to reach Eera, the planet around which the moon revolves, in order to find a friend. Next, I will write “Quigley”, the story of a pet flying squirrel in New York that escapes from his apartment and with the help of an ex-experiment rat strives to free the squirrels of Central Park from the tyranny of a band of hawks.

 Thanks so much for stopping by Lapo. It was a pleasure chatting about your book; also, way cool that you included Tolkien as one of your answers (he's definitely a great writer).

Horse Sense by Lapo Melzi, October 14, 2013. Published by Irbis Books.
There’s nothing easy about being an eleven year old boy, especially for Jamie. As he takes the unsteady steps into adolescence, his days of knowing who his friends are and trusting the adults in his life are numbered. The only thing Jamie can really count on in this changing world is the love of his best friend, a horse named Acorn. Jamie and Acorn’s friendship has a magic that comes once in a lifetime—but the bullies around them want to rip that to shreds. Can their kindred connection survive as Jamie strives to carve out his identity?

You can add Horse Sense to your Goodreads shelf.  

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