Friday, July 27, 2012

Guy J. Tirondola - The Accidental Don - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I workshopped my original title, Don Beaufort, at a NYC Pitch and Shop/Algonkian Writer Conference. The title confused the participants. They assumed the novel was about a man named Don Beaufort. A reasonable assumption. And, since they had no idea who Don Beaufort was, there was very little interest in reading about him. Naturally, I was alarmed by their response. I’d been so distracted with the creation of the story, it hadn’t occurred to me that people wouldn’t ‘get’ the title. Don Beaufort is not a name, rather it’s the moniker given to the protagonist, Donato De Luca, by the inhabitants of Beaufort, SC. They presumed Donato was a Mafia don sent by the mob to control the Beaufort area; hence they referred to him as Don Beaufort.

I needed a new title, and fast – something that would convey the unwitting plight of my protagonist. I worked through the night. Finally, I settled on The Accidental Don. The group approved. Later, my wife contributed the subtitle, A Man Caught Between Two Identities. That sealed the deal. I learned the power of collaboration.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope they gain insight into those things that are common to dissimilar cultures. It’s easy to be blinded by superficial surface differences, and miss traits all too familiar to the human experience.

The characters in my novel are from two seemingly different worlds – the urbanized north and the rural south of the 1950’s. Differences in language and lifestyle offer the writer a lot of material to play with. But, I chose to dig deeper and reveal similarities, dark similarities. In particular, the power brokers and how they exploit and control their victims through fear and intimidation, regardless of culture and setting.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Almost all of it. I used real events, some real people (e.g. the historical character, Richie the Boot), accurate places and dates, and characters drawn from people I’ve known. I took all of the above and wove them into a fictitious story.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Every time I read it, I find sentences I want to tweak, or scenes I want to alter. Does that ever end? I don’t know. Probably not.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Two things. First, the research took a lot of time and effort. Second, the middle of the book.

When I began writing, I had the beginning and ending clearly established in my mind. I also had some middle scenes worked out, but wasn’t sure how to connect it all. So, I just started writing.

What happened next was amazing. As I reached those sticking points in the story, I would stop to contemplate my next move. Usually, I went for a walk in the woods. The answers would come. From where? I don’t know. It felt like somewhere outside myself.

The creative process is so mysterious.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned to trust my instincts. I learned to move forward, even when I’m not exactly sure where I’m going. I learned to be open to criticism, and use it positively. I learned there’s no better feeling in the world than when someone tells you they love what you’ve created.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
In 1981, I fell in love with the gorgeous prose of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. It gave me a passion for the beauty and power of words. That experience created the desire to write.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
See my answer to question 7.

9. Tell us your latest news.
I had an awesome book-launch party in April on the very site where much of the novel takes place – Port Royal Pasta House in Beaufort, SC, which used to be owned by my grandfather and was called Joe’s Spaghetti House.

I continue to write, the sequel and short stories.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope my writing entertains you and, in some small way, touches your soul.

About the Book

Locals in a small southern coastal village come to fear Donato De Luca, the stranger who has settled among them, whom they wrongly surmise to be a Mafia don. Donato, a bar owner from Newark, on the run, falsely accused of stealing money from the mob, uses his new-found evil identity as a force for good, combating hatred, bigotry, superstition, and finally confronting the mob boss who has arrived to kill him.

Donato’s journey reveals that some men are born wicked, some men achieve wickedness, and some men have wickedness thrust upon them.

Formats/Prices: $9.99 paperback, $0.99 Kindle
Pages: 231
Genre: thriller
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release: March, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon

About the Author

Award-winning short-story writer, Guy J Tirondola, was raised in Newark, NJ, and summered in Beaufort, SC. He is a denizen of city streets and salt marshes. This cultural mélange informs his writing sensibilities. Guy brings an insider’s perspective to THE ACCIDENTAL DON.

Link to connect with Guy:
Web Site 

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  1. Bacciomo le manni :) hi we were at the supper club across from you guys. Good luck with the book!

    1. Diane? Grazie. See you at the Swan. Ciao bella.