“Once upon a time, there was a planet called Earth. It was made of grass, rivers, and dirt...

They’re the “lucky” ones—the ten percent of the world’s population who managed to survive the ravages of global warming. But in the face of worldwide destruction, with the earth’s surface no longer compatible with human life, these men, women, and children soon found themselves with no other choice than to move underground.
 
Established by the Central Administration (CA), a collection of powerful international corporations, the Layers were meant to provide a temporary refuge until the surface was once again safe to inhabit. Several decades later, citizens are growing wary of the CA’s militaristic control—and rumors that the earth is beginning to heal are sparking an underground rebellion.
 
Meanwhile, in the dome-like dwelling encompassing the remaining population of the Arctic north, a deadly pandemic is taking hold. After the dome leader, Aniak, disappears while on a journey to find life-saving medication, his fourteen-year-old daughter, Eva, develops a plan of her own—and boldly heads south over stormy seas.
 
Upon her arrival, Eva joins forces with several members of the growing rebellion as the truth about the surface is finally revealed—but thwarting the CA’s control proves to be more dangerous than they ever imagined.     
    

The Layers - How it came about

How it started...
 
The first character my son Leonardo put on paper for the Layers was Sasha. The story we started writing together will most likely be used as the beginning of the second volume of The Layers, which I am currently working on.

Here is the very first original paragraph Leonardo wrote in the summer of 2012 (unedited): 
 
“The silence in the Room is incredible. We are all sitting on the floor, staring at the door, anxiously waiting. ‘Where is she?’ I say in a whisper, talking to my-self.
She’s been gone for a week now, and I mean, gone. Not that she was on a trip or something. She literally disappeared from the Layers. No one had seen her since, as if she had magically vanished from Rome’s Layers. My desperation had grown steadily since her disappearance, and by the way the others looked at me, with that we-feel-so-sorry-for-you type of look, it must be pretty obvious.”

 
Writing The Layers has been an adventure that started a few years back when my son Leonardo was 10 years old.
 
In fact, if it wasn’t for him, The Layers wouldn’t exist all together.
 
Since he was very young I would read to him children’s books from amazing and inspiring authors like Dr. Seuss, Graeme Base, Eric Carle, and Robert Munsch.
 
When Leonardo became old enough to read his own books, I kept reading what he was reading. It was wonderful to share with my young boy the magic of a good story. Books kept us connected in a very special way.
 
Then one day, I don’t remember how, we came up with the idea of writing our own story. We shared a preference for sci-fi and dystopian novels and that’s why we started brainstorming ideas of what kind of world we wanted to create.
 
Leonardo had always been sensitive to social and environmental issues so I was not surprised when he proposed to create a world that had been destroyed by global warming. I paired that idea with an article published in the National Geographic on Paris underground, and boom, the Layers came to life!
 
At first, we wrote together. He would sit down and write a scene and I would then take that scene and stretch it, adding more details and descriptions. We did that for about a month until he lost interest.
 
It turned out that music was more of a passion for him than writing, and to the day, all his free time is spent on his music: listening to it, writing it, and palying it. 
 
 
When my son found his passion in music and I was left writing on my own I begun to understand that what I was embarking on was much more than a hobby.
 
You see, there were a few things happening inside and around me at that time that led to a deep personal and professional transformation and writing the Layers played a major role in all of this:
 
I discovered that I had stories to tell and that I couldn’t wait to share them;

I visited the Arctic (Iqaluit, Nunavut) and what I experienced there had a transformative impact on me;

I let go of my insecurity of not being good enough in English (my first language is Italian) and I just wrote from the heart:

I looked at my life and professional experience as sources of inspiration and motivation;

I relentlessly looked for opportunities to self-improve both as a person and as a story teller;

I opened my heart and mind to whatever came my way, good or bad, knowing everything in life plays an important role in our growth, if we only take the time to listen and observe the world around us.
 
I have learned so much while writing the Layers, and not just about sentence structure or how to build a chapter. 
 
The world and the people of the Layers are the fruit of my imagination. But so many details of the story, the technology and the architecture, the social structures, the personalities and general plot line have been inspired by actual science and my personal experience.
 
I hope you will enjoy reading my book as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
Sneak peek: The Dome
 
In The Layers, Eva lives in a domed city in the Arctic. In real life, the Canadian Government of the late 1950s commissioned engineers and architects to plan a domed city that would host a few thousand people. They wanted to build this Dome in Iqaluit, Nunavut.
 
The Dome, however, was never built. And I needed to know why! Why would the Government go all the way to invest money and time in detailed plans and media coverage, but then abandon the project? Looking for answers, I went to the National Archives in Ottawa and reviewed all the documents and minutes of the meetings related to this project that took place between 1957 and 1959. Sadly, I was unable to find the reason why this structure was never built. If any of you have any clue of what happened, please get in touch with me!