Paolo Ruggirello Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Paolo Ruggirello: I was born on Halloween in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. We moved around a lot when I was younger, but we stayed in Philadelphia for the longest time. My family still lives there now. However, a few years ago I moved to Minnesota, where I met my lovely wife and we had our beautiful daughter. While I had always used my imagination as a child, it wasn’t until my tenure in Philadelphia was almost over that I sat down to write my first full-length novel, Upheaval. I spent almost 10 years crafting the world I used for that book, full of rich history and culture. The sequel to Upheaval is about 70% done, I’d say, and it should wrap up the story nicely. I had plans of going on to continue to another arc 5 years after these events, but that didn’t quite pan out. Next on my list is a story I’ve been crafting for the last few years, set in my world’s second era. After that, I plan on publishing a pirate logbook and a mafia-esque story set just a few years before Upheaval.
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
PR: I strive to bring fresh, original content to an otherwise tired and overused genre. There’s no harm in trying it!
IBB: Where do you like to write?
PR: Anywhere the Feeling strikes me. I have written at work, on the road, in line at the store, at parties, during meals, in the middle of playing video games with my friends; literally, anywhere I get that inspiration. It’s a compulsion.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
PR: I prefer to have something digital so I don’t have to type it out later, but I can do with just a pencil and a napkin. One the I absolutely must have is inspiration. That Feeling. I wish it were easier to describe, but it is like this burst of energy in my brain. Images flit across my mind’s eye and I know I have to stop what I’m doing and write what I see while I see it.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
PR: I don’t think any specific books have influenced me as an author, because I try to be as original as I can. I can say that without books like Charlie Bone, Septimus Heap, and The Lord of the Rings, and the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, I wouldn’t have gotten into fantasy to the point where I would want to contribute as an author.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
PR: My editor. I remember the first few chapters I sent to them… those chapters came back riddled with errors and fixes. Now, however, I get a few errors here and there, but it seems I’ve gotten better at this whole ‘writing’ thing.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
PR: I want to create a lasting legacy that my daughter can use not only to live on, but to create her own stories that she can then pass on to her kids, and so on.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
PR: I have! I did an Instagram giveaway shortly after publication. One of those winners not only gave it a rave review, but they got almost 20 other people to read it and review it as well! I’ll always treasure them as my most beloved reader.
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
PR: Marketing! I suck at selling myself. I have tried many different things and none of them have caught on so far. I’ve read countless articles and webpages about how to market, I’ve reached out to influencers, I’ve paid for advertising, I’ve posted content myself, I’ve done giveaways; everything I can think of to try and get exposure but it just doesn’t feel like anything stuck yet. It’s a good thing I’m so stubborn.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
PR: Ask for feedback. Seriously, I don’t care about my feelings, I just need to know if what I wrote was good enough to buy. I can’t stand it when people don’t tell me honestly how my writing was, because then I can’t ever improve it. That and continuously writing every day. I practice in every way, text messages, emails, social media posts, all forms of writing are opportunities to practice.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
PR: I think I have the ideal relationship. The only way to make it better would be to pay my editor enough money per year to work on only my stuff. My editor is open, points out where I may have messed up or made a plot hole, catches my mistakes in my plotline and grammar, it’s great. This also takes consideration on my part, I have to put how I feel about my work aside and look at it objectively. After all, I hired them to help me, not to feel down about my work.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
PR: First, thanks for reading my work! I am the type of person to not only improve their work, but their overall self and understanding of life in general. Please, tell me how I can make it better and I will consider it.
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
PR: Write! Seriously, every piece of writing you make is an opportunity to be better. Stp usin txt lingo lol. Practice your grammar in your texts! Practice in emails! Write like everything you write will be published and you will get better in a matter of days. Just keep writing.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
PR: What I have planned now: finish the sequel to Upheaval; start writing my next story set in my world’s distant past, for which the storyboarding and characters are already done; start writing a pirate logbook that will help connect the plot of Upheaval to other books in that time period (the pirate ship was already mentioned in the book); start the mafia-esque story that will connect one of Upheaval’s iconic characters to their backstory that they mention in the book. After that, I might explore producing movies, television, and video games set in my world, maybe a character biography or two, explore a couple other ideas I have bouncing around my head, then retire and let my daughter take over if she wishes.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
PR: I hired a professional cover artist. I saw a sample of their work and really loved it, so I hired them. I’m so glad I did, my cover looks awesome. It’s not a generic character-looking person with glowing eyes and an ominous backdrop. Bleh. It’s actually designed by an artist who spent real time and effort on it.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
PR: I read every day. Even if it’s just a few minutes per day, I always make time for it. The genre really depends on what calls to me that day. I bounce around from: physics, theology, philosophy, psychology, fantasy, sci-fi, quantum physics, spirituality, general fiction, history and historical fiction, biographies, chemistry and alchemy, religion, biology and bioscience, mythology, occult studies, anything that’s written down and published I’ll read. Especially anything that explains the world around us in a way that can be verified.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
PR: Kristin Houlihan, my editor; and Kait Mitchell, my cover artist. Not only were they great to work with, their work is absolutely worth every penny and more.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
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