An Interview With Alex Oriani, Author of “Born To Be Liked”

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Today, I would like to share with you all a great E-book that I recently read called, “Born To Be Liked” that was incredibly captivating and humorous. In the book there was a bunch of the habits that were mentioned that could assimilate to most of our behaviors that we all share, on a little thing we like to call “Facebook”. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing the author of “Born To Be Liked”  named Alex Oriani. He was a lot of fun to work with during this interview and I can tell you all that he is very passionate about his works.

Here is the summary of our interview:

How did you come up with the title, “Born To Be Liked”?

My first title was “Facebookers, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, clearly inspired by the renowned Sergio Leone western film, but I wasn’t completely happy with it. So I decided to look for something snappier and Facebookesque: Born To Be Liked came to me naturally and I stuck to it.

Is there a message in the book you want readers to grasp?

I’m not really into giving “messages” to readers. One of the (many) beauties of reading is that anyone can decide what to take from a book and what to leave. Perhaps, I’m saying we should reflect on the way we all use Facebook in particular and social media in general. In this respect, if I’m allowed to make a little suggestion, I’d say let’s all try to be a bit more generous with our virtual friends. They might reciprocate and eventually, become friends in real life.

Are the “social personal” labeled based on people you know, or yourself?

The Facebooker profiles are mainly based on people I’ve seen Facebooking in the last five years, but yes, there’s a bit of myself too.

What books have influenced your life the most?

As a kid, I would say The Paul Street Boys, an Hungarian novel about a group of children who are forced to defend themselves from a gang of bullies who want to kick them out of their playground. The smallest kid in the group does his best to live up to the others’ expectations and shows great courage and loyalty, but, at the end of the book, he dies. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. As an adult, it was The Great Gatsby: I was struck by the flow of Fitzgerald’s prose and fascinated by the Gatsby character: the loneliness inside him, although he was the host of the most glamorous parties in town, resonated a lot with me and my personality. You can feel lonely even when you are surrounded by people.

What books are you reading now?         

At present, I’m sharing my bed with Kenzie and Angie, the detectives of Gone Baby Gone by Denis Lehane. It’s the story of a missing child and a mother who doesn’t seem to be bothered about it too much. Lehane is one of my favourite writers. Among others, he wrote Mystic Rivers, a book from which Eastwood made an incredibly beautiful and touching film. I’m also finishing a collection of Roald Dahl short stories. As it happens, I have a thing for short stories.

 

Are there any new authors that have gained your attention?

I’ve recently downloaded from Amazon a book by Russell Blake, a self-published thriller and action writer who writes at an incredible pace, roughly a new novel every five weeks. He has become a sort of ebook phenomenon who has already sold over 600K books. Every now and then I have had the pleasure of having a chat with him on Facebook and I admire his absolute determination and complete commitment to his writing career.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the first stories of my forthcoming collection called “Strange Stories”: the strapline is “everything looks normal, till it becomes strange”. Every story will be independent from  the others but they will all have in common the presence of the unexpected à la Twilight Zone (the TV serial of the 60s). The focus will be on human obsessions and where they can lead us rather than monsters, vampires or aliens. As the foreword of the series reads: “Deep inside all our souls is a switch that can turn our ordinary lives into something different. Something that belongs to the realm of the unknown. It’s when this switch flips that we find ourselves in the midst of Strange Stories.”

The first two stories are:

The Book of Thrills – the story of a man who lives a dull life in which he has never taken a risk or chanced his luck. His only passion is reading crime fiction and sucking up all the thrills he lacks in his life. But one day the stories come looking for payback.

Weapon Of Mass Gratification – Social Media is a great source of gratification for the retired Ben: likes, comments and shares make him feel good and accepted. But one day he realises that the situation has got out of hand: he literally can’t live without social media reward… 

Name one entity that supported you outside of family members.

The awareness that without writing and inventing stories and fictional alternative realities, I would find life pretty unbearable.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Honestly, no. 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m promoting Born To Be Liked, the first book  that, with a blend of humour and science, uncovers what we do on Facebook and why we do it. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to have a blurb written by Guy Kawasaki, New York Times best seller author, social media guru and Canva tech evangelist. This is his blurb: “Don’t read this book if you can’t take a joke because, if you’re honest, you’ll recognize yourself in many places in this book. If you don’t laugh out loud at least five times, you’re practicing social-media self-deception”. And, of course, I’m about to launch the Strange Stories.

Who designed the cover of “Born To Be Liked”?

Cristina Colissimo, a graphic designer who works for TV shows and films in Los Angeles.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Being witty and fun without being patronizing. That was the tricky part of it.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Quite a few things, I’d say. In terms of writing, mainly thanks to my editor Mike Stocks, I’ve learnt that, as he puts it, “padding has to go”. Which basically means that every line, no matter how brilliant you think it is, if it isn’t adding anything new to the book, it is useless and shouldn’t be written in the first place.

As far as the subject of the book is concerned, especially thanks to the interviews with experts and Facebookers, I’m now more aware of how our Facebook (and social media) behavior reflect our qualities and defects more than we might think. Our innate nature oozes out regardless of how hard we try to portray a different image of ourselves.                                                   

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Apart from the usual stuff, that is, write what you’re passionate about, be yourself and be committed to your work, I’d add don’t waste too much time on social media. As Russell Blake wrote in a recent blog post, it won’t make you a successful writer. Use that time to write new material, instead.

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Lastly, do you have anything you want to say to your readers?

If you want to know what we all do on social media but would never admit doing, I’d suggest you grab a copy of Born To Be Liked (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JXT3VMI ).

If, on the other hand, you’re more into the innermost recesses of the human soul, subscribe to my newsletter (www.alexoriani.com) and in a few days you’ll be able to download the first Strange Stories for free. Thank you.

This sums up the interview here on, “The Splash” with Alex Oriani. Alex was kind enough to give me 20 Free E-Book Copies to share with our readers, if you would like to join the giveaway just make sure you are 1 of the first 20 people to sign up for our company newsletter at: http://socialsplashguru.com

If your are amongst the first 20 subscribers, we will send you a congratulations email along with a PDF version of the book. Good luck to all!

 

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