The Bot Room is a room where every now and then we lock up someone from our branches – authors, illustrators, graphic designers, editors, project managers... – for an informal chat, more or less! Today it's the turn of Davide Morosinotto and Pierdomenico Baccalario!
What’s your name?
PB: Pierdomenico Baccalario.
DM: Davide Morosinotto.
What do you do for a living?
PB: I write children's books.
Are you friends?
PB: Before this book, we were.
DM: We still are, don't pay any attention.
PB: What do you mean, before this book? What book is this?
PB: “The Crimson City Heist”, published by Salani. Although for us, for five years, it was just “The Duel”.
DM: It's a western novel. It's about a village lost in the desert. A place where nothing interesting ever happens. Until one day a gunslinger arrives in the village dragging a coffin behind him.
And in the coffin is a girl, who’s alive...
PB: This is the book as it is today. But at the beginning it was about a journey.
PB: The book told the story of a girl, Piper, and a boy, Roy, who set out on a journey to cross the United States to get to the famous lost village and so on. And then...
DM: Then we didn't know what was going to happen. A duel? A murder? A bank robbery? A great love story? A train robbery? All those things at once?
Sounds like a good story. Did you write it?
PB: Yes, all of it. We just couldn't decide how to end it. A duel? An assassination? A bank robbery...?
DM: Finally, after five years working on it, we looked at each other in the eye. We decided that the book wasn't working. Or rather, it wasn't as wonderful as we hoped it would be. So we threw it away and wrote another one. And now the journey is gone, it's just about what happens in the city.
PB: You see why we’re no longer friends... He made me throw away a whole book.
DM: But it's better now.
PB: So you say…
Easy, easy, don't fight.
PB: We never fight. In the twenty years that we've known each other, it's never happened.
DM: At most we challenge each other to a duel. Like cowboys do. After all, that's what this book was created for. As a challenge.
PB: The original idea was that I would write all of Piper's parts, Moroz all of Roy's parts, and in the ending only one of the protagonists would 'win'... Whatever there was to win.
DM: Maybe that was the problem, you know, now that I think about it? It had become an overly competitive book. Maybe I didn't like it that much because of that.
So how did you write it in the end?
DM: As perhaps we should have done from the beginning. Collaborating more. We decided in detail what would happen to both characters.
PB: Afterwards, Moroz wrote everything from beginning to end. He sent it to me, without even re-reading it. And I rewrote it all from beginning to end.
DM: That's what I call the 'O Captain! My Captain!' technique, from the film 'Dead Poets Society' (for those old enough to remember it). It requires tremendous trust.
PB: The first one has to trust the second one not to spoil the book and treat it well, that's a big responsibility. And the second one has to trust the first one, the choices he made one page after another.
DM: For example, Pier rewrote everything, but he didn't touch the incipit. I would have been offended to death if he had. And he knows that. In short, you have to be friends to write like that.
PB: I said we're not friends anymore.
DM: Enough, Pier, I'll challenge you to a duel.