It is impossible to talk about a single literary genre when mentioning author Mara W. Cassardo. In the last few years she has published both fantasy novels and sagas.

The recent Book Pride in Milan has given us the chance of discovering her new work and to receive some hints about it from the author herself.

In your recent work you used different elements: tarots, legends, esotericism… Can you tell us something more about its genesis and the possible challenges of mixing such apparently distant elements?

They might seem distant, but they all mix perfectly in my protagonist, Roberta!

Let us start from the legend of Apollonium from Tyana. Apart from being a scholar it is said he was a maker of talismans. A deeply esoteric legend which needs an initiation to be completely understood. Tarot reading is equally important as it gives you the chance of seeing people from a different perspective, using all the meaning and symbols of the cards.

Roberta seems to have lost her way. How about leaving, then? The most interesting thing is that this journey will always become a personal research inside herself.

I decided to accompany her in her research of The Fool, a symbol of freedom and opportunities. I sprinkled her path with good magic.

Turin is a de facto protagonist of your story. Could you tell us more about the locations you chose?

Turin is a renowned magical city, due to the place it was built upon, its elements and symbols, together with its inhabitants. Turin has some peculiar vibrations which have allowed it to become a favourable place for magic. It is located between two rivers and while water has its own power, it also circles it almost completely. Turin also hosts the alchemical caves, which have become a target for alchemists and sorcerers such as Cagliostro, Paracelsus, Nostradamus…

Let us not forget the Gran Madre church, facing Piazza Vittorio. For all these reasons, Roberta moves towards the visible and the invisible sides of the city. By reading Arcana Permutatio you will be able to travel with her.

What is your relationship with the city and why did you think it would be the ideal background for Roberta’s life?

The strong relationship between Turin and Apollonius is the central core of the book. The choice was inevitable. A mysterious character in an equally mysterious city. It is full of magic and esotericism. Turin has a lot to reveal and Roberta could not but to move in such a place.

Arcana Permutatio was published after Le Stirpi dei non morti. Will you continue the saga, too?

Le Stirpi dei non morti got me started in writing novels. It was a link to my past and my love for vampires to make me write my first two novels. However, it was really a different way to write. Le Stirpi dei non morti take me back to my adolescence when I bought a book about vampires with my grandmother.

It was a homage, but I’m writing differently now, constantly between reality and imagination. I can even confess now that the tarot reading and the black envelope that Roberta is given aren’t imaginary and nobody could guess so…

Can we already ask you about your future projects?

I confess… Turin will be the protagonist again. Mystery will still have centre stage. I cannot tell you who I’m talking about at the moment, but I can say that it is about a leading character of the past century, who was believed to be an enlightened man as well as an impostor.