Monday, February 24, 2020

Q&A with John DeSimone Author THE ROAD TO DELANO

John DeSimone is a published writer, novelist, and teacher. He’s been an adjunct professor and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. His recent co-authored books include Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan (Little A Publishers), and Courage to Say No by Dr. Raana Mahmood, about her struggles against sexual exploitation as a female physician in Karachi. His published novel Leonardo’s Chair published in 2005.

In 2012, he won a prestigious Norman Mailer Fellowship to complete his most recent historical novel, Road to Delano. His novels Leonardo’s Chair and No Ordinary Man have received critical recognition.

He works with select clients to write stories of inspiration and determination and with those who have a vital message to bring to the marketplace of ideas in well-written books.

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Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?

I had read about Cesar Chavez and his fast for non-violence, and I was intrigued that so little had been written about that time period. That’s the genesis of the novel, but it matured through a lot of reading and research

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the
traditional way?

Rare Bird is a traditional publisher, but they are also an independent.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?

I waiting until the theme of the book was absolutely clear in my mind, and then the title became so strong in my thoughts, that I could not choose another one.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?

The publisher’s distributor Publishers Group West is the largest distributor of books from independent publishers. They distribute nationally and internationally. They chose the art work based on testing they did select booksellers. I had so many other details to attend to, my editor assured me this cover had tested well. So my input for this cover was minimal.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

Again, the publisher took care of this detail.

How was your experience working with the designer?

Well, honestly, it was brief. I made a comment about what I liked, and the response was it didn’t matter what I liked. It only mattered what would draw the highest reader response.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

Very positive. The publisher and distributor’s choice was correct.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

I’ve never had to look for one, but if I were, I’d choose one that had a reader focus.

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

It took five years of research and writing, a year or two of editing and rewriting, and a year to sell. I’m glad it’s finally out. Writing about a historical significant time made me appreciate the rich tapestry of our nation’s heritage.

About the Book:

Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond―as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.

With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.

While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian―the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez―in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny.

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