Tuesday 5 September 2017

Guest Post | Daniela Sacerdoti on her writing inspiration

Published by Headline on September 7, 2017

Daniela's Writing Inspirations 

Have you ever heard that saying, the one about us being dwarves on the shoulders of giants? I think it’s so true. I believe my imaginative world and my writing skills are built of many tiny bricks, and each brick I owe to a writer who inspired me and moved me and taught me as a child and young woman, when I was at my most receptive.

My father was just as crazy about books as I am, so whenever I interrupted him when he was reading he’d sit me down and read aloud for me. This way I absorbed The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, two of my greatest inspirations. I remember being desperate to visit Middle Earth, and thinking that maybe, when I grew up, I would find a way. Although I never wrote fantasy, I was deeply influenced by Tolkien’s dualistic view of the world, deep morality and belief in self-sacrifice. When I began reading on my own there was no stopping me - my parents gave me some beautiful books from the Mursia collection, very popular with Italian children in the seventies and eighties, and I discovered Lucy M.Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. She became my heroine. I wanted to be just like Anne, and I was desperate to write just like Lucy!

When, years later, I read Emily of New Moon in English - it hadn’t been translated in Italian - I found my literary alter-ego: I was definitely Emily Murray, the aspiring writer and spirited, solitary, stubborn young woman. Those books are underlined, highlighted, ear-marked and quoted all over my diaries. Of Lucy Montgomery I love the way she describes the emotions and inner storms of girls and women, and how she describes life in small villages, their dynamics and web of relationships.

As a young woman I began reading in English, as it offered me a host of women’s fiction I couldn’t find in Italian (back then). My first discovery was Lesley Pearse with Rosie and Ellie, the kind of unstoppable, generous, abundant storytelling that made me feel like I was inside the story. Also I found amazing the way she didn’t shy away from controversial topics, and made her heroines go through so much strife before they found happiness.

During my year at university in Dublin I discovered Maeve Binchy and Sheila O’Flanagan: Maeve’s The Glass Lake and Light A Penny Candle were pivotal in showing me how skilled, how deep, how perceptive women’s fiction can be, though often (almost always) underestimated.

Although I’ve read widely, it’s mostly to Tolkien, Montgomery, Pearse, Binchy and O’Flanagan that I credit the writer I am today. A motley crew maybe, but what they all have in common in honest, truthful, soul-deep storytelling.

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