This week, I’m delighted to have, not a writer, but a publisher, as the guest on Inheritance Books. Ilaria Meliconi runs Hersilia Press. I knew her from rather too many years ago, when she was still studying history of science (which is one of the most steampunk subjects ever!) and I was still a real biochemist.
Hi Ilaria, welcome to Inheritance Books. Tell us a bit about yourself.
The most exciting thing I did in my life was going with a bunch of speleologists in some uncharted caves in Nicaragua. Anything else doesn’t compare even remotely! But I have been working in academic publishing for a while, and I have a background in both astronomy and history of science, which I had great fun while studying.
A few years ago I was looking for the English translation of some crime fiction that I was reading in Italian, and when I found out it hadn’t been published I thought that with a background in publishing it could be an interesting business venture, so I founded Hersilia Press: it was a calculated risk, given the status of publishing these days, and great fun, but if you want to do something like that, don’t underestimate the obstacles!
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
When I was little my dad was studying sociology and psychology so I read (without any understanding of it, really) Freud and Jung. Then I moved on to Steinbeck which I just found on the home bookshelves and I enjoyed immensely – Of Mice and Men is in my view one of the best books ever written. When I was a teen I didn’t really read any of the books for my age (like those recommended by the teachers); I wasn’t really interested in the bestsellers so I just read what I picked up from the bookshelves at home or form the library. I think I was one of the most active borrowers!
Which book would you leave for future generations? Why?
Which book to leave to future generations, I don’t know… if we keep acting this way there won’t be many books for future generations. I wish it was easier to educate people about to the impact of their actions on the future of their own children and of themselves – the consequences of what we do now will be seen in the very near future, not just in centuries from now.
That’s cheating! I’m going to have to assume you’ll leave Harry Potter (at the very least). Or an excellent cook book.
Thanks for sharing your Inheritance Book with us Ilaria. Hope all goes well with Hersilia Press.
The next book published by Hersilia Press is the second in a series of four by Giorgio Scerbanenco, who died in 1969 and has been considered one of the founding fathers of Italian crime fiction. He reversed a trend to write crime fiction in an idealised and unrealistic world, and set his stories in 1960s Milan, in direct contrast to its popular perception of a rich and debonair city. The “banality of evil’ is mostly appropriate here! You can find out more about Hersilia Press on their website, on Facebook or Twitter (@hersilia_press)