Thirty-eight years and a life as a protagonist. Of himself, before saying his name, he clarifies: “I’m Asperger’s and a gentleman”, because they are two distinctive aspects of his personality. Nicola Pesce writes books but reads thousands. The last one by him is published by Mondadori and is entitled “The fox who loved little things”. For a few weeks in the bookstore, there are days when it is the most purchased text in Italy. The discovery of Asperger’s syndrome, the acceptance and coexistence with this pathology. The story of himself and how the obsessive trait of his being is transformed into successful work.
She says before anything else: “I am an Asperger and a gentleman”. Because?
“Because that’s how it is. I say what concerns me. When I was younger I was convinced that I had a very bad temper. For example, if too many people were talking in a room, I’d start being rude, inappropriate, and thought I was downright grumpy. Then I discovered that there was a very specific reason behind that kind of reaction that surprised me, also because I have a kind and courteous disposition.”
What’s the reason?
“This autism spectrum disorder leads me to be too attentive to everything, to every word. So if there are 10 people talking and conversing in a single environment, I follow them all. This drives me crazy. Or, if you talk with the TV on, I follow both of them in detail and it’s absurd. So the syndrome is certainly a significant part of me. I also immediately say that I have Asperger’s because many mothers of children who experience the same problem as me write to me. They tell me that I set an example and therefore I do it for this too: to tell others that, by working a lot on myself, I have come out as a decent person with a minimum of social ability. And that gives a little hope to others, so I decided to make that aspect public and visible.”
How did you live your childhood before ending up on the shelves among the most read books?
“Up to the age of 30, I lived through very particular years. I was unable to make friends and concentrated on everything. Everything, every interest becomes an obsession for me. For example, I like to read and have read thousands of books.”
How did you know you have Asperger’s Syndrome?
“Look, people spoke to me but I didn’t hear, so I had the same concept repeated a thousand times. I went to an ENT who found no hearing problems. He was the one who told me it could be an autistic trait. So I deepened and was followed by specific professionals.”
Is there something about her that takes some sort of benefit from this issue?
“Yes, in the sense that I focus a lot on everything I do. For me a passion, a job becomes an obsession and I do everything with the utmost precision. I’m trying to delegate some tasks to others, for example, and for me it’s a huge effort because I find it very difficult.” This is how Nicola Pesce, writer, talks about his work in relation to his pathology: Asperger’s, he writes books and sells thousands of copies throughout Italy.
How does it penalize him instead?
“I rarely date more than one person at a time and I have some relationship difficulties. Paradoxically I get distracted by concentrating a lot. I do one thing at a time. I can’t do more things because every occupation is an obsession. For example, it’s hard for me to go out to dinner with a friend and not think about something I was doing at home. Often, only with writing I can open up and tell myself. But every day I struggle to try not to make these particularities that concern me excessively dominant.”
She has Aspergers, writes books and sells thousands of copies. Was that what she wanted to be when she grew up?
“As a child I thought I wanted to read and write. Then you must know that, in addition to being Asperger’s, up to the age of about 10 I was very often ill because at birth I breathed in the anesthesia they gave my mother. So in my childhood I had some health problems. Now on the front of infectious diseases I have become, so to speak, immortal. I never get sick. I don’t know if I’m already big. For now I like to write and it helps me a lot to feel good with my head.”
Is it also your source of income?
“Now yes. I earn very well, but it took me twenty years of sacrifices.”
His latest book is titled “The fox who loved little things”. In a previous text he always uses the fox in the title. How come?
“Look, I live in a country house and around there is so-to-speak wild nature. When I was thinking about this book I was in the villa and a fox came to visit me. Somehow she kept me company and so I got to talking about the fox.”
Why does he choose animals and not people in his book?
“I make animals talk because people have lost the habit of listening. So making an animal talk attracts the reader more. The story has as its protagonist a fox, in fact, who is looking for another fox that she loved and then lost. At the same time both she and others are looking for themselves.”
The text is published by Mondadori. How did he convince them?
“I’ve been looking for them for a lifetime but they never answered me, now they’ve been looking for me. I found a loving family and not a heartless behemoth. In the meantime we have made a presentation in Milan and in the next few days I will be in Sicily and Rome.”
Have you ever fallen in love?
“All my books are about a red-haired girl, girl or woman. Do you think I’m in love?”
What’s your typical day though?
“I wake up just before 7:00 and have breakfast watching a Soviet film or a Russian TV series in my native language. At 8:00 am at work for my publishing house and throughout the day then I answer a few emails. Around 10:00 I dedicate myself to my social networks, create daily posts, read and reply to comments. Then I spend a couple of hours recording videos of me reading books, even though I hate appearing. After lunch, a nap and a run to the gym, where I train seriously as a heavyweight boxer. Upon return, a bathtub and a book to read! After preparing myself a good dinner, I watch a film while standing up wrapping some books for Christmas, complete with a bow of string and a surprise phrase (I expect to sell five thousand before the holidays). At the end of all this, I have a glass of something and I write by hand as long as I like. In bed then I read again.”
His career is also a testament. Asperger’s, writes books and sells thousands of copies. Thus Nicola Pesce demonstrates how one can take advantage of and turn positively what he defines as “an unbalanced mind”.