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Interview With Author Leon Radomile
Part 2 of 2: About The Spear of Lepanto
by Anthony Parente
Please tell us about your book The Spear of Lepanto?
My book is an epic two-part tale of adventure, romance, and heroism, vividly bringing the distant past to life. Set in the 16th century, the story is about a quest for an enigmatic relic (the Spear of Longinus) that Pope Pius V believes will decide the fate of Christian Europe. Only a brokered alliance forced by the Holy See between Spain and Venice can give Europe a fighting chance against the invincible Ottoman Turks, who plan to seize Rome as a stepping-stone for total domination.
One of the novel's central characters is a young Miguel de Cervantes, who joins a special group formed by the pope and the Knights of St. John to recover the ancient relic from the Turks in Constantinople. The troupe sets out aboard a stunning new sailing vessel built from a recently recovered design by Leonardo da Vinci. On the way, they confront blind ambition and savagery far beyond any they had ever imagined. Book II of this tale will be out early next year.
This book is a sharp contrast from your two previous books Heritage Italian-American Style and Heritage Hispanic-American Style. What brought you to write an epic tale surrounding a holy relic that was used to pierce the side of Jesus on the cross?
I credit my long-departed paternal ancestors who settled in Italy during the 16th century from the region of Bosnia as the inspiration for writing the novel. They were the sparks that lit the fires of my imagination to write this fictional ancestral adventure. When delving into family genealogical research, one cannot avoid musing and speculating over the many 'what ifs' that are shrouded in times past. My fanciful 'what ifs' inspired an adventure novel. Perhaps researching your family genealogy will inspire you to recreate for fun the unknown gaps of your own family history. As a student of history, I was always enamored with the personalities and events of the 16th century. If I believed in reincarnation, I'd have to say that the 16th century was a time period I must have flourished in.
Was it difficult doing research for this book?
When you love something and derive pleasure and joy from it, you never consider that it is difficult. The only thing that is difficult is finding enough time to do the research.
It is important to have any historical novel feel authentic when you are reading it. How hard was it to write your story in the time period that you choose?
Human emotions are still the same, be it the 16th century or today. But when you write a period piece, it is very important, in my opinion, to put it in the proper historical context. You can do this by flavoring the story with personalities and events of that time period that the reader hopefully can relate too from their knowledge of history. One of the best feelings I get from writing this book is when I read comments from those who enjoyed reading it. Especially satisfying were the comments from historian Nick Prata when he wrote the following review. (Nick wrote Angels in Iron, the great story about the Knights of St. John and how they won the siege of Malta against the Ottoman Turks in 1565)
"Historical Fiction The Way It Ought To Be"
As a historian familiar with the time period in which Spear of Lepanto takes place, I give it very high marks for feeling "authentic". The book reads like a smooth-flowing story as opposed to a lesson--which is rare in the genre.
Mr. Radomile uses many real characters to spice up his innovative and unique story. Audacious but reverent, "Spear" treads lightly across the Renaissance leaving the reader entertained and enlightened, never bored.
If you have tired of run-of-the-mill fiction and light, low calorie, actioners, then you should pick up Spear of Lepanto - it might just be the best read you'll have all year.
Was there any part of this novel that was very easy for you to write?
I liked writing the action scenes that involved making the right choices based on the tenets of honor. I also liked situations that displayed morality and character. It was only easy in that it gave me a sense of fulfillment. This was my first entry into the world of writing fiction. I must say that it is addicting.
Your adventure introduces us to many characters. Where did you get the idea for these characters and were they modeled after anyone?
Many of the major characters are close to me because they are real people.
My wife and two daughters are major characters in which I use their actual first names and their personalities. I also used old college friends and others I have known through the years throughout the story. Of the 150 characters mentioned in the book, 50 are real people with their real names. It was also fun for me to develop a personality for a young Miguel de Cervantes. This of course is the man many regard as one of the worlds greatest writers. An observant reader will pick up the little clues I leave around about Cervantes future writing career, especially regarding Don Quixote/Man of La Mancha. Who knew that Cervantes was a captive held for ransom for five long years in Algiers? The Prologue of my book begins on the eve of Cervantes release from prison and the entire story, including the forthcoming Book II, is a flashback of a two year period of his life from 1570 to 1571.
Your book covers many different cities in Italy and outside of Italy. Have you had the opportunity to visit any of the cities that your novel takes place in?
Unfortunately no. But I plan to visit such places as Madrid, Rome, Malta, Cypress, and Constantinople/Istanbul in the coming years.
When did you realize that you were going to make this into a sequel?
Over the last five years I have been working on this story any spare chance I had. However, I was growing very frustrated with having no discernable end in sight. I attended a meeting of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association last year and got a great idea. One of the speakers spoke about his three book series and how he was able to do it. That is when I got the idea to cut my gigantic story in two. Book One weighted in at about 90,000 words, which represents about 55% of my story. But the best thing about this is that it gives me some piece of mind and sense of accomplishment.
When is the sequel to The Spear of Lepanto going to be released?
I have begun writing Book Two and hope to have it done in six months.
Are there any plot twists or surprises that you can tell us about the sequel?
I am afraid you're going to have to wait for Book II.
Are you planning to write any other books?
I have thought about writing a story involving Luigi Palma Di Cesnola, who was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient during the American Civil War, the US Consul on Cypress where his archaeological discoveries there were the richest to that time and finally headed the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, making it the nations leading art museum and the third largest in the world during his lifetime. I think there's an abundance of material for a great story.
Part 1: About The Author
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