In the novel, Renaldo is an eighteen year-old soccer player living in Argentina and trying to make the national soccer team that is about to play in the 1978 World Cup.
In real life, Renaldo was my Italian great uncle, Renaldo Franceschini.
Renaldo and my maternal grandfather, Vincenzo Franceschini immigrated to Canada early in the twentieth century and built a construction company that is still operating over one hundred years later.
I have always enjoyed writing and I am a big sports fan, but it was one particular event that started me on the path to serious writing.
When my first wife, Carol, became ill and subsequently passed away, I used fiction writing as a form of personal therapy.
While I was unable to control the events relating to my Carol’s illness, I was able to control the circumstances and characters in my story. Writing the novel gave me a safe place to go during a very dark time in my life.
The book is available in a trade paperback edition, as well as on the Kindle Reader and all other devices from ‘Renaldo’s’ home page on Amazon.com.Back to Top
While there are several romantic liaisons in ‘Renaldo,’ the most powerful love story is the one between the Argentine people and their national football team.
During some of the bleakest times in the country’s history, for one euphoric month in 1978 the entire population was united in a wave of national pride unlike anything that had ever occurred before.
It started with hesitant infatuation as the team proved to be skillful and won some early games. Like a jilted lover, shock and dismay followed a loss to Italy, but that was the last loss.
As each successive victory was achieved, raw passion enveloped the populous to the point where, after the championship had been won, the lusty celebrations lasted for weeks.
To my knowledge, nothing has ever been written in a work of fact or fiction to describe this phenomenon, making ‘Renaldo’ a truly unique love story.Back to Top
The times we live in today are afflicted by the scourge of terrorism, and sporting venues have often been the target of their madness.
Since the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972, large scale sporting events have had to be on the alert to prevent another tragedy.
The recent winter in Olympics in Russia had the largest security force in history protecting the athletes and visitors.
Terrorism was a fact of life in Argentina during the months leading up to the 1978 World Cup.
In my novel, I transform a university student into a terrorist assassin. The horrific events that happened during the Boston Marathon in April 2013 were carried out by two brothers, one a disaffected university student.
Sadly, what was written in fiction describing a period of time almost forty years ago is still happening in our current real life time.Back to Top
I fell in love with the World Cup tournament in 1966 while I was touring Europe as an eighteen year-old school boy.
Every country our group travelled through was playing in the World Cup in England, and being in those countries allowed me to feel the passion and all encompassing nature of the event first hand.
Years later when I watched the 1978 tournament on a large screen in a hockey arena ( there was no home television of the World Cup) I was well aware of the tragic political situation going on in Argentina. The national team had great skill and character, and I was hoping they would win the championship to put some joy in the hearts of their people, which they did.
1978 was also by far the most controversial World Cup ever held. With the real threat of terrorism looming, facilities barely adequate at some venues, and accusations of game fixing and bribes occurring in regard to Argentina’s semi final victory over Peru there was certainly enough material for a good story.
What happened during and after 1978 in Argentina stuck in my memory, and when it was time to write a story, those events formed the backdrop for what I desired to write about.Back to Top
I had to be very careful while doing my research to portray an accurate, authentic description of the historical events in the novel before placing my characters in the appropriate setting.
While my characters are fictional, and the terrorist events are fictionalized, the scores and flow and circumstances surrounding each of the World Cup matches are factual.
Also, the first division English soccer team, Tottenham Hotspur, did send a delegation to Argentina in search of new players. They used a local go between similar to my character, ‘Astor Gordero,’ to acquire two stars of the Argentine team, Oswaldo Ardilles and Ricardo Villa, and brought them back to England.Back to Top
Yes it is, in a large part. The transfer of players between England and Argentina actually took place after the 1978 tournament ended, allowing me a new angle to write about.
As England was the country that exported the game of soccer around the world, I thought any novel about international soccer should have an English element.
Because English football was in disarray in the 1970’s, having missed two World Cup tournaments in a row, everyone in their football association had seemed to give up hope.
I thought what Tottenham Hotspur accomplished was a brilliant sporting move, and wanted add that storyline with my fictional characters.
It also allowed me to develop a fictitious family run football club situated in London from scratch, which was very intriguing and fun.Back to Top
This type of novel is called a ‘roman a clef’ in the publishing industry, which means the author transposes his characters into a real life or historical setting.
Research accuracy is paramount here to give the novel authenticity. Be accurate with your historical facts and settings.
The internet is a great source of research for a writer.
First and foremost I am passionate about my family. At this point in time in our blended family there are four adult children, two son-in laws, and three grandchildren. I also have three siblings.
When all is said and done, throughout my life family has given me the most joy and comfort of anything I have ever experienced.
Growing up in Canada has made me an avid ice hockey fan, but there is hardly any sport that doesn’t excite me if it is played well.
I played cricket in school for a year, and my father was an international figure skating champion, so I have had exposure to many different sports.
I play golf and tennis and snow ski in the winter.
I love music, all kinds, from opera to funk. I grew up with Frank Sinatra and Broadway show tunes, but fell in love with Elvis and Buddy Holly. The Beatle and the Rolling Stones changed the musical world in the 1960’s, and what has transpired since then is nothing short of amazing.
Being an ex rock and roll band drummer in the 1960’s and 70’s, I still like to jam with my elderly, more mellow musician friends.
My dad introduced me to the bossa nova stylings of the Brazilian great Antonio Carlos Jobim. It is his songs in the novel that Renaldo plays on his guitar with heartfelt tenderness and feeling.
I am also a strong advocate of finding help for people who suffer from emotional distress in their lives.Back to Top
I love to read, and I try to have a book on my night table all the time.
I started reading Ian Fleming’s ‘James Bond’ spy thrillers in high school, then Harold Robbins adult adventures in university.
I like to be informed and entertain whether it is fiction, biography or true to life stories.
I have been a student of military history for as long as I can remember, with a particular fascination with the American civil war. I have read scores of books on this topic.
One book that stands out for me is ‘A Secret History’ by Donna Tartt. Written in 1992, it reminded me of a cross between ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘The Dead Poets society.’
I also read novels by Ken Follet, Dan Brown, James Elroy and many more.Back to Top
I would consider the time spent investigating the publishing industry as a journey that I am still on.
As a complete novice, I self published and printed ten copies of my novel in 1997, and then promptly drove to Chicago to exhibit my wares at Book Expo America.
The Book Expos are the industry trade fairs, and while they gladly accept independent publishers as exhibitors, the experience can be overwhelming.
The most relevant fact of book publishing is that publishers almost always rely on the skills of literary agents to supply new authors to them, and it is very difficult for an unpublished, unrecognized author to be taken on by an agent.
I found this out in no uncertain terms and went back to my day job. But I didn’t give up hope totally.Back to Top
One day I was buying a book on Amazon.com and saw a caption requesting new and unpublished authors to call a 1-800 number. I reached a lady from a company called Booksurge Publications, Amazon’s self publishing affiliate.
Long story short, she took my raw book files, edited, formatted, designed a cover and gave me a page on Amazon.com all within a few months.
Booksurge is now called ‘CreateSpace’ but I am still dealing with the same rep after eight years.
If you have the money to self publish, I would certainly give them a call. At the end of the day, if all goes well, you will have your own page on Amazon.com, and have your book available in trade paperback as well as the Kindle Reader and other platforms. They can also help you with promotional and advertising material as well publishing advice.
One more point, establish a presence on social media right away and keep it current.
Certainly, I have a lot of stories to tell.Back to Top
Not at the moment, but with the international content of ‘Renaldo,’ I am hoping to pursue that avenue in the near future.Back to Top
You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.Back to Top