Did Adriana write Rococo [Random House Audiobook] with you in mind as the interior designer lead character?
Mario Cantone: I've known her for years and one day I ran into her and she said, "I wrote this character for you and I want you to do the audio." I could never say no to her. First of all, I literally cried every day I was reading. I was so emotional. I thought, how am I going to get through this? I called her up and screamed, "Never again! I can't believe how exhausting and brutal this is." The engineers were crying, and I could hardly keep from crying reading the last four pages.
Adriana Trigiani: I like the end of a book to really pay off, whether you're laughing or crying. I wanted this to be a summer read, like Auntie Mame.
MC: It was a cathartic experience because this material is so brilliant and so amazing and so full. I connected to it.
How did it feel to hear Mario recreate your characters?
AT: I came in to the recording, and I was addicted to listening to him. A lot of times audios feel like someone is reading it. This felt like he was bringing it to life. He took the characters to a new level.
Your novels flow like they were written to be read aloud.
AT: While writing, I read aloud. I want that dialogue to be sharp and fresh. I can't stand to pick up a book and not know who's speaking. So every voice has to be different. I actually hear them. That's one step away from insanity: I hear the voices, then I write the voices.
How do you feel about your novels being abridged for audio?
AT: I come from the theater, and then I wrote for television. So, I don't have this sense that I own it. Interpretation is everything in art. An abridgment is kind of a necessary evil. I learn a lot from reading the abridgments. You see what story lines they drop, what they emphasize. It's another tool to teach you how to tell a story.
Was there any apprehension about writing this book from a male point of view?
AT: This book is selling at double the rate of all my previous books. Everyone was worried that I wrote a male character. But it's broadened out the audience in a way I don't think [Random House] anticipated. So there's something about this book and this family life that people are getting.