INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF, "THE WINDS OF TIME" & "DANTE'S SYMPHONY" RICH DISILVIO
Hello Rich, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. It seems you are quite the history lover. When did you begin to realize your passion for history and the arts?
Hi Kitty, and thank you for inviting me. As for my passion for history and the arts, that actually began at a very early age and grew over time. I enjoyed the visual beauty and expertise of many famous works of art by the great masters or looking at the impressive achievements in architecture; seeing with my own eyes the Empire State Building or looking at photos of the Roman Coliseum. As I grew older, music became another fascinating realm to explore, especially classical music in my late twenties. As such, I had begun to read about all these great figures in history that created these masterful works, and that in turn led to reading about all the great leaders during those different eras—be they politicians, generals, scientists, authors, explorers, businessmen,etc.—all having played a significant role in shaping our very culture and history. So it snowballed over time.
If you had to choose one historical figure that was your favorite who would it be and why?
That’s a very difficult question, and one that I always seem to be asked. You see, as a young boy my first and favorite idol was Leonardo Da Vinci. I was captivated by his amazing skills, not just in painting, but also in so many other fields as well. Leonardo truly was the quintessential Renaissance Man. And subconsciously I seemed to have followed his path, not as brilliantly of course!, but I have lived my life by following my curiosity, thus explaining why I have done many different things in my professional career. But, as I grew older, and read and learned more, that list of idols grew tremendously, hence today being crowded with many figures that all hold a special place in my heart. So, by today’s standards, I cannot answer this question with a single favorite person. With figures like our nation’s Founding Fathers, FDR, Edison, Tesla, Fermi, Marconi, Von Braun, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Franz Liszt, Dickens, Twain, Darwin, Einstein, Steve Jobs, and ancient giants like Augustus Caesar, Vespasian, Hadrian, Constantine, Dante, Columbus, Galileo, Newton, Queen Elizabeth, and countless others, you can see why I cannot pick just one.
You have quite a list of works to your name, tell us more about each of your books and the inspirations behind them.
Well, I have written articles for magazines and web resources, but as for my books, I’ll say that “The Winds of Time” was my magnum opus. It was an analytical study of the titans who shaped Western Civilization. It was an ambitious undertaking that covered many of these great figures I had studied all my life, and they are all fascinating individuals that we all should take time to learn more about, as any one, or dozens, of them can inspire people today. Meanwhile, my latest novel, “Liszt’s Dante Symphony” is an historical thriller that covers the rise of Prussia under Otto von Bismarck, which leads into Hitler’s Nazi Germany. A murder mystery is woven into this historical narrative, with some very unique characters and twists. It features the famous Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, who uses the score of his Dante Symphony to send encrypted messages, as well as people like Napoleon III, Victor Hugo, Rossini, Joseph Goebbels and the notorious Nazi leader himself, Adolf Hitler. The primary inspiration behind these books is to give twenty-first century people a real taste of the past, whether by pure non-fiction or thrilling fiction, as we are indeed apt to repeat the mistakes of our past if we don’t learn from it. And as noted, most of these figures are great role models that can broaden our own horizons, help redefine who we are and what we wish to strive for, and invariably enrich our lives and those around us.
If you had to choose just one of your works that was your favorite to write and do research for which would it be and why?
Hard question, as I truly enjoyed writing about Franz Liszt, Einstein, Hitler and so many others in “Liszt’s Dante Symphony,” as well as devising a twisted fictional plot, but I would have to say “The Winds of Time”. That’s because it covered so many of the great titanic figures I loved learning about and enjoyed sharing in this colossal work. This book also covered the titans that shaped our world in bad ways, hence including men like Hannibal, Hitler and Stalin, among others. So, it offers a wealth of food to nurture one’s mind, especially since it was not just dry academic biographies, but rather thought-provoking, analytical commentaries that delved deep into often uncharted or taboo territories. As such, some of what I uncovered goes against the grain of prevailing traditional beliefs, revealing that many things we had learned in school or college were, and remain, misleading or, in some instances, are pure distortions that were intentionally made for various reasons.
When you say you were once a remodeler what was it you remodeled, homes or something else?
Okay, here we jump to one of my very different interests. After college I had started my first business, Creative Construction, which later became Creative Design Contractors. And, yes, I remodeled mostly homes, but also small commercial buildings. The “creative” part of that business was my passion to conceive of and draw unique architectural designs that made my company stand out from the so-called pack. I enjoyed that for many years, yet some 15 years ago I switched gears and went into new media and art.
You are also an artist, is any of your work on display? If so where can we see your work?
My fine art has appeared in several different galleries across the country, but can be viewed online at my personal website www.richdisilvio.com As for my commercial artwork, that can be seen on that site as well, and features music album covers, book covers, and animated ads for many star celebrities, including Cher, Pink Floyd, Yes, Moody Blues, Willie Nelson, Jewel, Sheryl Crow and many more. Naturally, I designed my book covers as well.
You have a lot of different trades that you do well in. What are some of your favorites out of the ones listed in your bio?
Well, I currently enjoy creating artwork for books and albums, and of course I love writing. Another project I enjoyed immensely was conceiving, designing, and programming the first interactive, educational software program for autism. It was a project that had, and still has, a great impact on that community. And having been able to contribute to an important field like autism is something I am very proud of, as helping our fellow human being, especially those less fortunate, is a special calling. My hat goes off to all those that work with children with autism on a daily basis, and I’m glad I at least made a valuable contribution to such a serious disability and epidemic as autism.
What is your next book going to be about and when can we expect it out?
I’m currently working on another historical novel, this one dealing with the Gilded Age in America. But, as of now, no release date has been determined.
Do you have any advice you'd care to share with other authors?
Follow your heart and gut. It is very true that you write best about what you genuinely have a love or passion for. However, the sad fact is that most publishers view a work purely as a money-making vehicle, and if they view your Ferrari as an Edsel, you’re hard work will be tossed into the trash heap of history! So, making sure your book has a target audience is crucial to sales. Being a bit of a maverick myself, I sometimes have a hard time following my own advice, but there it is just the same!
Please leave us your links so we can get to know more about you and your works!
Thanks again, Kitty, for this interview, and I hope your readers will find it of interest. Here are a few sites for more info:
Digital Vista: http://www.digitalvista.net
Rich DiSilvio: http://www.richdisilvio.com
The Winds of Time: http://www.thewindsoftime.com
Franz Liszt Site: http://www.d-vista.com/Liszt
DV Books: http://www.dvbooks.net
Autism Academy: http://www.autismacademy.com
USA Gifts: http://www.usagifts.net