For the past few months, the writer and Alessio Vissani have been occupying the aperitif hours of Movieplayer’s Twitch channel, every two weeks on Fridays from 6 to 7 pm, to talk about books. Book Nerd, therefore, is the column that chats (it is appropriate to say it) about books read, to read, rankings and, as in a sort of online literary salon, invites contemporary authors to do the same. Just in one of our appointments with the writers of the moment we met Paula Barbatoone of the leading authors on the thriller italiano and not only.
Paola Barbato in a few lines
If it were possible to summarize Paola Barbato’s career in a few lines, we could say that for decades she has been part of the writing staff of Dylan Dog, published by Sergio Bonelli Editore, but also an author for Rizzoli, Piemme, Il Battello a Vapore and Starcomics and that she is also a book nerd like us. In fact, she confesses to having her desk and house full of books, with the problem of never knowing where to put them. And we understand it very well! It is not the first time that we meet Paola with Alessio: she has already happened to us in person presentations, but also online. The occasion, in this case, was not the release of a new book, because at the time of the interview it had not yet been announced The giftthe thriller coming out for Longanesi on 9 May 2023. As we have already accustomed you to in the other episodes, this too was a matter of freewheeling chatter on the world of books and writing, which always starts with a look at the weekly ranking of the best-selling books in Italy, a habit that breaks the ice and gives us the opportunity to talk about readings, memories, ideas and literary preferences.
From the beginning onwards
Paola Barbato, during the scheduled time (and punctually missed) immediately becomes unstoppable. And she confirms that, as always, books actually become an excuse to talk about much more, ranging from life to solutions to problems, because you know, writers are people first and foremost. In the episode aired in January it was she who hosted us in her house, under a fané light that made her very “mystery writer”, even if in reality it was due to a vaguely unstable connection. Although Paola needs no introduction, besides being Dylan Dog screenwriter since the late nineties, she officially began her career as an author in 2006 with poised (BUR Rizzoli). His biography reveals to us that since his adolescence he dabbled in writing and that, therefore, from then on, he has never stopped writing, and he does it in all possible forms.
The infamous Booktok!
We started from a topic that, apparently, seems to have nothing to do with books and literature: Tik Tok! For the uninitiated, in fact, on this platform there is a channel called #BookTok, where we talk about books and it is precisely from here that trends, the most acclaimed bestsellers are born and the fate of the stories that come out in the bookstore is decided. Well, I asked Paola how her adventure on this platform was going, since Paola Barbato is on Tik Tok and in her channel she offers very short reviews, around the minute, exclusively of books that she loved. She dozens and dozens of “flash” videos in which she simply shows herself and she is holding the paper book she is talking about. Short and effective videos, precisely, because Paola believes that reading teaches writing much more than many courses or other types of training. For example, a tip for writing realistic dialogue? According to her experience, reading Pennac and Benni: for her they were true masters in this sense too. “I write to live, I read to nourish myself. These are my favorite foods”, reads the description of his channel. We have no doubts that this nutrient is rich and bears excellent fruit.
Telling: books and more
If on TikTok she talks about other people’s books, on her Facebook and Instagram pages Paola dedicates herself to talking about her life, (almost) with no holds barred: every occasion she experiences becomes a real narrative made with her pen. Small hints, but also brushstrokes of poetry scattered here and there. Or gifts that she tries to give herself every day to lighten her days, while at night she writes, plumbing the human soul to create the plots of her new thrillers. Paola’s relationship with social networks is a requited love. And social networks are also the place where she took refuge at a particular moment in her career, when it seemed that traditional publishing had suddenly turned its back on her.
The turning point on Wattpad
AND Wattpad the platform which, in that case, welcomed Paola Barbato with open arms. The writing social network par excellence, which gave birth to the new queens of international literary rankings such as Anna Todd, author of After or Italian, like Rita Nardi, who wrote the most recent Free as the snow. Here novels are published free of charge, chapter after chapter, that readers can comment on without a filter, even helping the authors in some cases to unravel complicated situations or suggesting how to continue the stories. And who, if not the direct voice of the readers, is able to provide the first form of inspiration? In Paola’s case, Wattpad was the genesis of I’m not doing anything to you, the novel which then marked his great return to Edizioni Piemme. As you reiterated several times during our chat, Paola loves the relationship with readers, many of whom have become official beta readers and, very often, real friends. Therefore, when it was not possible for her to publish with a publishing house, she still preferred to keep in touch with them via a social platform which, on the contrary, led her to make herself known even by people who up to that moment had not they had never read her books by her. In addition to being a vehicle for words, social networks also become a means of spreading new stories.
Scripta manent: a suffered book, but with a happy ending
The writer’s life is full of successes, but more often of refusals. One of the novels that had to be rejected, for example, was Texts remain (Edizioni Piemme), which however followed a still different path compared to Wattpad. In fact, it was first released in France, translated by the Denoël publishing house. Paola told us about the genesis and peculiarity of this book and the very close relationship that has also developed between the French author and translator, Anaïs Bouteille-Bokobza. Texts remain was released in France in 2018, with the title of good to kill. Only later, fortunately, was the book also published in Italian, to the delight of the waiting fans.
The Gift, the eleventh novel
Paola announced a preview of the release of her next novel right on Facebook, The gift, which will be in bookstores and online stores officially on May 9th. We already know the plot of the new thriller, published by Longanesi: “It was my heart. It wasn’t me“. With these words, and a bloody knife in his hands, the man welcomes the police. Everyone knows him, he is a journalist who has always dealt with crime news, the only person to whom many criminals have decided to give an interview An upright, calm, esteemed man. Who has now become a brutal murderer. A monster. The book is already eagerly awaited by all his most passionate fans and the calendar of the booktour of presentations is already ready, which starts from Brescia on 7 May , to then arrive in most of Italy. Paola, Milanese by birth but Brescian by adoption as she defines herself, is happy to start with the promotional tour right from her city, which this year is also the Italian Capital of Culture .
One more curiosity
Perhaps not everyone knows that Paola’s partner is also a famous writer: it is about Matthew Compassalso a cartoonist and author of books, but of a completely different kind, starting with Sleepless nights, Kisses for breakfast (published by Einaudi Stile Libero in 2018), in which he describes his daily life as a father of three daughters. Paola has also recently written a book that talks about her daily routine with her partner and daughters, and all the unexpected events in her life: Seen from here. Small daily tragedies (always published by Longanesi). Small stories interspersed with sketches made by him, unpublished drawings that embellish the pages. Something very different from the thrillers he has accustomed us to, much more similar to the immediacy of social media and perhaps, to the person behind the thousands and thousands of written pages.
Looking forward to find The gift in the ranking of the best-selling books in Italy in the next episodes of Book Nerd, we give you an appointment for the next episodes and we await the guests who decide to accept the invitation in our virtual living room!