Interview to Women Plot author, Simona Incollu

by Erica Surace

Tell us about yourself.

My name’s Simona Incollu and I was born and raised in Sardinia, in a beautiful town where nature is absolutely uncontaminated and there’s a beautiful sea. I was very lucky. I graduated in Political Science and International Affairs, and in the meantime I became a mom. Writing has always been a part of me somehow, I have been writing since I can remember. I read a lot, from poetry to stories and novels. Than Women Plot came into my life and here I am. 

Let’s talk about your book ‘Narciso e altre storie’, how was it born?

It’s a collection of stories that I put together starting from 2015 till 2020. They are stories with characters that are completely different one from the other, so diverse that it would be hard to find a meeting point between them. Maybe the only thing they have in common it that, somehow, they all discuss about the topic of diversity. Some more spontaneously, some less, but they all touch upon this topic in relation to existence. We all exist because we are different and each one of the characters, whether they are invented or inspired by real people, tells about a way to be on Earth. If there’s a common setting to them all is the fact of it being a non-place, because in every story there is something fantastic, born from imagination. Inspiration has come to me from every stimulus that has particularly touched me during a day. I have even written some stories on my cellphone because something in that moment gave me the input to start writing. 

In every day’s life, how can we let imagination thrive  between the list of things we have to do?

A lot of the stories I wrote were born from the rhymes I used to sing to my son while putting him to bed. Plus, I think we need them to escape from the long list of things that we need to accomplish daily, it’s a way to unplug my mind and calm down a bit, finding my place in another dimension.

My characters are spontaneous, I write about them but I have no idea what they will decide to do, I find that out later. After all, they always end up doing exactly the opposite of what I wanted them to. It’s all a particular world the one that gave birth to ‘Narciso e alter storie’.

Inspiration came from various stimuli, but most of it came from topics that matter to me, like social margination, body shaming, and love in all its forms. So, I took inspiration from these hot themes that are publicly talked about a lot lately. I tried to find a way to discuss them, to reflect on them, it has been a catharsis for me, a way to vent my thoughts in certain moments.

How has your relationship with writing been through the years?

I always written. I started with poetry, rhymes, diaries. When I decided to write stories, start brainstorming ideas and, therefore, write in a more serious way, I found the sound of words really important. In certain contexts, in certain sentences, some words have a particular meaning, sometimes more poetic than others. I like that who’s reading can understand right away what I want to say, because the words make sense. 

What has been your writing process? What did it eave you with? What did it teach you?

I am a very reflecting person, so definitely it has been a way to put on paper my thoughts, to reflect on certain topics that I cared about, to remember some good life moments because I lot of things I write are inspired by events of my past. Plus, I felt the need to create something to leave to my children, something that was mine, so why not leaving something written?

Do you feel that Sardinia influenced your writing?

I think that the sea is definitely a big part of my stories, often my mind would picture it as the setting of the stories, but also the traditions, the idea of family, everything is part of them. 

When I was little, we used to meet with our neighbors in the evenings, after dinner, and we used to tell each other stories. Grandparents would tell us past stories and fun episodes. I remember that my grandma was passionate about anecdotes and she would spend days telling me things that happened over 50 years before. 

A message for someone who’s listening and wants to write a book?

Dare, be brave because, after all, life is one and it’s ours and all here so, why not? Write, put your ideas black on white, everything that comes to your mind, write it down.