Rich Marcello is the author of two books, The Color Of Home and The Big Wide Calm. Both novels have been met with critical success and are available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.
Born in New Jersey, Rich grew up in an artistic atmosphere with music, art, and literature around him at all times. While attending The University of Notre Dame, Rich performed in a folk group where he wrote and recorded original music. While in college, Rich discovered his love for technology and it pulled him off the artistic path and put him on the road to being a technology executive who managed several multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 companies.
Rich never lost the call to be an artist and it led him to walk away from his "day job" and pursue music and literature on a full-time basis.
Rich currently resides in New England and is currently working on his third novel, The Beauty of the Fall. I recently had the pleasure of corresponding with Rich and was able to interview him about his love for the arts, his literary works, and much more. The questions and answers are below.
Q. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
A. When I was in college. My Humanities professor told he would teach me to write novels if I switched my major to English. I was thrilled by the opportunity, but had no money, so I decided to go into technology instead. Even so, I knew I would eventually return to writing books.
Q. Would you say you write in one particular genre and, if so, what draws you to that genre?
A. Mostly, I write literary fiction. I’m drawn to characters who are broken in one way or another, who at some point attempt to break their patterns and make choices that may or may not free them. Literary fiction works best for that.
Q. What made you decide to leave corporate life behind to persue a writing career?
A. About four years ago, I got an idea to write three novels about different kinds of love. The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013 and is about romantic love. The third, The Beauty of the Fall, will be published in 2015 and is about love within your sphere of influence. The Big Wide Calm, just published in July, is about platonic love. I left to write those three novels which was one of the best decisions I ever made. After that, I have ideas for another ten or so novels, so I’m planning to write for the rest of my life.
Q. Did you carry over anything you learned in the business world that has helped you in your writing?
A. I’m a musician and a poet as well as a novelist, so those two skills helped me more on The Big Wide Calm than my business skills. For the third book, I’m drawing heavily on my business skills. The main character of that novel, Dan Underlight, starts his own hi-tech company, so I used some of my business knowledge to help create his world.
Q. What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new novel?
A. I research any topic I don’t know well extensively. For example, Paige Plant, the heroine of The Big Wide Calm was the result of extensive research with women, in particular millennial women who were musicians. It was critical to get Paige’s voice right and I’m really happy with the way she turned out.
Q. What is the thought process when forming ideas for a new book?
A. I tend to get my best ideas when the writing feels like it’s an extension of dreaming. That’s why I write early in the morning each day. It’s like I go from one kind of dreaming( while sleeping) to another ( while writing). Most of my best work is written in the morning.
Q. Is there any writer, past or present, that you would wish to collaborate with and why?
A. Milan Kundera. I just love all of his stuff. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of my favorite books.
Q. What advice would you give to a teenager who loves literature and wants to persue a career in writing?
A. Go deep to the bottom of things, first with yourself until you've found your own voice, then with all of your characters. Write the first pass of any scene very fast and as non-judgmental as possible, then rewrite the scene over and over until it’s as sensual as needed to transport the reader into the fictional dream.
Q. When you have downtime and want to read, do you prefer e-books or traditional ink on paper?
A. Traditional ink on paper.
Q. Do you have a particular book cover designer you work with or do you contract out?
A. Langdon Street Press does all of that work. they've done a great job on both The Big Wide Calm and The Color of Home.
Q. Tell us about your publisher, or are you self published? What do you think of self-publishing in general? What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
A. Langdon Street Press published my first two novels. they've been great to work with, and I really couldn’t have had a better experience. There’s something about working with a small press outside of NYC that’s quite generative. I highly recommend them.
Q. How do you promote your books?
A. All the normal ways. Social marketing: Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest.
Through book signings and book clubs.
Through radio shows.
The books are in all of the big online bookstores.
Through interviews like this one.
Q. Is there an underlying theme throughout all of your works or do you like to mix things up?
A. As I mentioned above, the theme for the first three books is around truly and deeply loving regardless of what form that love takes.
Q. Do you have certain people in mind when you create your characters or do you make them from "from scratch" to avoid any controversy?
A. From scratch.
Q. Do you work from an outline or do you like to let the writing take control and see where it takes you?
A. I let the writing take control and see where it takes me.
Q. How many times, if any, have you written yourself into a literary corner and had to scrap the entire project?
A. Once. I threw away a novel when I was about 100 pages into it. It just didn't work anymore, so I really had no choice. It was hard to let go of it, but it was definitely the right call.
Q. Are you always writing or thinking about writing or do you prefer some downtime between works?
A. Pretty much always writing.
Q. Which of your novels has been your favorite?
A. I like them both.
Q. You have a new project in the works called "The Beauty of the Fall." Is there anything you would like to share with the readers about it?
A. I’m about 125 pages into the book, and I expect to finish it in 2015 and publish it in 2015/2016. It’s a pretty ambitious book and focuses on what it truly means for a group of people to connect in the world and make a difference. Unlike the first two novels, there aren’t any characters who are musicians, but I did manage to write a poet into the story.
Q. Is there anything you would like to add or tell the readers that I have not asked? Take as much time as needed.
A. Thanks for the time to speak with you. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of your questions and the time you've taken to conduct the interview.
You can read more about Rich at his website http://www.richmarcello.com.