Elisa has been daydreaming since childhood. She would concoct stories of passionate lovers and impossible worlds, and would sometimes publish these stories in the school newspaper in Barrafranca, in the province of Enna in Sicily. Now aged 30, Elisa is still that girl-next-door type and a seasoned dreamer, but she no longer publishes poems and stories in the local papers. She now publishes real books – she's both a mother and a successful writer.
After spending months waiting for a positive response, it seemed unbelievable that I could publish my novel in a single evening
A dream brewed up with a cup of coffee
Everything started in her parents’ bar in Caltanissetta, where Elisa worked as a waitress. “I was in my own little world between orders, daydreaming about the story that was taking shape in my mind,” she recalls. “With the teapot in my hand, I paused to imagine characters and settings, often getting strange looks from customers.” When she finished work, Elisa returned home and put down in writing her ideas of distant worlds, impossible loves and fantastical characters brewed up while waiting tables in the bar.
For Elisa, writing has always been a release, the best way to let herself go, to dream and to feel her heart beating. But she was shy, and despite her passion for writing, the prospect of sharing her deepest thoughts with others scared her to death, so her stories remained in her desk drawer. Destiny, however, had something else is store.
Her maternal grandfather’s death shattered her steady daily life, forcing her to deal with bereavement for the first time. It left a huge empty space. “My imagination needed something else – to believe that something existed after death.”
This propelled Elisa to open that desk drawer, which had been closed for some time, and complete her novel, “a story that winds its way through angels of death, witches and guardians of destiny, in which opposing forces lure each other in and the protagonists battle against death, always in the name of love.”
But despite the effort she put into it, the novel didn’t seem to reflect the tastes of modern readers, according to typical replies from publishing houses: “We aren’t interested in publishing fantasy stories – angels, demons and witches don’t excite readers anymore.” But Elisa didn’t lose her determination. She ventured on until one evening, she discovered the possibility of publishing her novel independently online using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
Touched by destiny
“After spending months waiting for a positive response, it seemed unbelievable that I could publish my novel in a single evening,” she recalls. “Seeing my name appear online on Amazon next to the title of the book filled me with an indescribable feeling. I felt like a real writer.” To increase interest in La carezza del destino - Touched (“Destiny's caress - Touched”), Elisa adopted an innovative, creative strategy. She recorded her own short video, like a film trailer, and had it broadcast in cinemas all across Italy before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Her creativity paid off – within the first week, she had sold thousands of copies of her novel.
Elisa didn’t stop there. She published her second novel in her paranormal romance saga, which quickly climbed the rankings in the Italian Kindle Store. La carezza del destino - Touched and l’Inganno della notte (“Night's deceit”) were first and second respectively in the fantasy bestseller list for more than three months. And that’s not all: Elisa was contacted by a film producer and several publishers. La carezza del destino - Touched has just been published in Spain, and Elisa has signed a contract with Nord, a publishing house.
Pages to fill
Elisa is now a full-time writer, and she sees her future being full of empty pages to fill, both on paper and online. Her hands are brimming with virtual ink in preparation for her next projects. “Even though I’ve now embraced traditional publishing, I’ll never be able to give up the reins of my work and let the publishers do everything. I like interacting and discussing with readers and listening to their advice. Once you start self-publishing, it becomes a part of you.”
The young author has just finished her third book, Il potere dell’oscurità - Brokenhearted (“The power of darkness - Brokenhearted”), and will soon start drafting the fourth book in the saga. Readers are happy to join her on her journey: after all, in her own words, “books are a means of transporting magic, where anyone can live outside of their own bodies and experience a thousand lives and incredible adventures.”