Matthew Di Paoli On His Debut Novel 'Killstanbul': "It Started With a Feeling"

Matthew Di Paoli Author Killstanbul Interview

As a man, Carolus has many unique relationships with different women, what do the women symbolize for Carolus?

Well at the simplest level purity, right? I mean he’s this sort of brutish murderer in his day job, but he’s not exactly James Bond. He doesn’t have that polish to him. He ends up falling in love way too much, and things get complicated and people get hurt, including him. His sister is the only one who really gets him, yet she doesn’t know the most important thing about him. His love interests all get these tiny sections of him, and there’s a point in the book in which he explains his philosophy on relationships—that each one takes a section of his life like a puzzle piece, and if you put them all together you’d have one complete Corolus. Women are Carolus’s salvation that he doesn’t believe he deserves.

What is the psychological state of Carolus in the beginning of the novel compared to the ending? Does killing bring a sense of clarity to him? 

That’s an interesting question. In one sense, yes, killing is this thing he knows really well, and it’s almost automatic to him. Everything else in his life is messy. But I think the book shows a bit of his unraveling. I think in the beginning you see his life pretty much just the way he’s envisioned it, and by the end he starts breaking all the rules, and he’s running out of time, making mistakes. He’s a mess by the end, on the brink of disaster. I shouldn’t say any more. Spoiler alert!

This is your first novel. What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Edit your brains out. Whenever you think you’re done, you’re not. Find a good workshop or a writing partner to exchange work with. Maybe that part is obvious. The other aspect is patience. That’s something I don’t particularly have in spades! It takes a long time to write something and a long time to edit it properly, and it’ll usually take even longer for someone to read it and finally publish it. Publishing is one of the only processes that seems to have gotten slower in the digital age! It can be infuriating, but just try to hang on and see the end game. The day that El Balazo [his publisher] threw me that book party was one of the best days of my life.

Learn more about Di Paoli's work at his official website.