DIEGO GALDINO: I STARTED WALKING, SPEAKING, GREW UP AND FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SMELL OF COFFEE
Diego Galdino lives in Rome and has a cafeteria where he works as a barista and uses all his imagination to delight customers with a variety of aromatic coffee recipes. After making a nice coffee, writing is his other passion.
The novel "Morning Coffee in Rome" ("Kragorzor") is full of love for coffee, the Eternal City, its visitors and it is very successful in many countries, including Bulgaria. When the author first shared that the book had a sequel - "Night Coffee in Rome," it pleased its many readers. His new novel is already on the bookstores and will make the summer passions hot.
Diego Galdino is fascinated by the interest of the Bulgarian public in his stories and the attitude he receives from his Bulgarian publishers. That's why, when they asked him for an interview that included questions for readers, he not only gladly answered the questions but also recorded a video message for his Bulgarian fans. You can see it here:
You have already written few novels. Who is the first person to read every new book of yours, and why do you trust them?
The first person to read my novels is my literary agent Vicki Satlow - she is one of the well-trained professionals in the international literary landscape. I trust her more than anyone else because she trusted me and wished to work with me when I did not even know that I was a writer. It changed my life, and her literary advice was and is very valuable to me. When she tells me that some of my novels is fantastic, it's kind of like winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
What inspired your passion for coffee and what inspired you to write novels about your profession?
In fact, I was born in the cafes. My mother's water broke while she was behind the bar of the same café where I cook coffee to this day. I walked among the cafes, talked, grew up, I fell in love with the cafes, so I think it was inevitable that I wanted to tell in my novels "Morning coffee in Rome" and "Evening coffee in Rome", my life as the barista.
Is Massimo man you see when you look at the mirror?
I think so. Perhaps he is a little nicer, both inside and outside. Massimo is a little like me when I started working at my father's café - a new cup that should be hot to be able to take all kinds of love ... ah! Excuse me, I mean all kinds of coffee.
"Morning Coffee in Rome" ends with a question that no one answers - neither Massimo or Genevieve. What provoked you to write a sequel to the story?
In the last few years, a bunch of bad things happened or at least not good. That's why I decided to write "Evening Coffee in Rome": to make the ordinary unusual. And I, like Massimo, the main character of "Morning Coffee in Rome," lost my Dario, my friend, my second father. And as it happens in my novel, it was a sudden, devastating loss to me and to the cafe. A few months after that my real father got a serious health problem. I stayed alone both outside and behind the cafe bar. Then, after a series of painful changes, I decided to write "Evening Cafe in Rome" by putting in the book all the extraordinary people who are gone now to recall their jokes and stories. These people were close to me, they were a family, and I added to them what has always characterized my writing ... Love.
You have already mentioned one of your characters, Dario, who is described with particular sympathy and affection. Who is behind this image?
Dario in real life was called Lino. This is Lino, to whom I have dedicated the novel. He came every morning in the cafe since I was 14 years old. He was the first person to whom I said I wanted to leave school to help my father in the cafeteria. God, how much he was trying to persuade me not to do it. He was the first to tell me that my girlfriend was pregnant, then became my best man, and to joke with him when I divorced, I told him that it was his fault that he brought me bad luck. He was the first to meet my current wife, and he said, "Hey! This time, get someone else to be your best man. Otherwise, you will become like Liz Taylor. "Every day he came to the café and sat in his place, bringing joy. The restaurant flashed in all colors and remained bright for the rest of the day, even out of the rain or if it was just gray. Lino was a second father to me, his loss was like the Nothing from "Tale of Endless" - devours everything, leaving behind a wasteland.
Massimo reveals to Mina one of the most beautiful and little-known panoramic views of Rome by taking her at a bench at Monte Mario - only the ancient Romans know of its existence and how to reach it. Can you share another place unknown to tourists in Rome, which Bulgarian readers can visit?
For me, one of the most beautiful places in Rome is Aventin - one of the seven hills. In a radius of one square kilometer it passes from the Mouth of Truth to Circus Maximus. In front of the ancient stadium is the Rosary of the Municipal, where in May one can admire hundreds of different roses. Behind the pink garden are all the most beautiful and significant medieval abbeys of Rome, where in the silence and in the light penetrating through the colorful rosette windows you understand the true meaning of the faith. A little further is one of the most beautiful gardens in the city - the Orange Garden, which, after passing through dozens of orange trees, can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas of the world, and finally it reaches Villa di Malta, from where through the opening of the gate lock is seen the dome of St. Peter.
In "Evening Coffee in Rome," you also tell the story of Francesca and her beloved, a story that is very moving and has strong feeling of great empathy - are they real people, and if so, do you know what the real outcome?
This couple is quite real, and everything I tell in the book actually happened. I do not know if their love story has continued, I hope so, because, as the character of my novel, I am always on the side of love, regardless of everything.
As a barista you've probably watched many love stories - with their beginning or ending. Would you share the one that most excited you - the best, the most dramatic, the most romantic?
The most beautiful love story I've ever seen in my cafe is the story between my father and my mother. They both started working in the café as very young but were convinced that, united by their love, nothing and no one would prevent them from living a full and happy life. And so it was.
With what types of coffee would you compare the different types of love that one experiences at different stages in their life?
I always liked to associate different types of coffee with the people who drank it and did it at the end of "Morning coffee in Rome," giving each type of coffee its characteristic identity. Something like a horoscope with coffees instead of zodiac signs in which every coffee lover can be found as a character. As for the love associated with different types of coffee, I can say that I see the passionate and sensual love of coffee cavern - a strong coffee that stays on your lips, in your tongue, in the nose, giving you strength and a good start of the day and to be perfect, it must be drunk in a hot cup. In this case, I see the cup like a heart. Love, like coffee, is nice and it stays long if it contains very warm. Mother love I see her as an extremely sweet coffee, ie. like coffee with a nuce. Forbidden - like the fourth coffee of the day - this coffee you should not drink because up to three coffees a day is worthwhile but from the fourth onwards it can hurt you but you so much like you can not go without it, as all that is forbidden. Cafe Moroccan is like great love, coffee with so many different tastes that reach your taste buds almost surprisingly, one of those wonderful surprises that fill your life with joy and which remains in your mind and heart forever ... every coffee is good for platonic love, it is important to drink in a suitable company.
What kind of coffee would you pick for Rome?
Rome does not look like anything else, as all the unique stuff ... But it could be like a very hot cup of coffee that can hold all the coffees and they are the best ones one can dring.
This interview originally appeared on Lira.bg on 21.07.2018
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