This is a guest post written by Mona Rodriguez, co-author of the Forty Years in a Day. You can find out more about her books, her writing, and a whole lot more on her twitter.
Tapping Into Wisdom
One of the first objectives on my quest to write a book was to interview elderly family members and friends. I wish I had started when my parents, aunts, and uncles were still alive. Throughout my life, I had heard many family stories that were fascinating, sometimes even unbelievable, but now I set out in search of the truth. We all have skeletons in our closet that we are not ready to let out; however, the older the person, the more likely they will share the facts. Of course there are those that take their stories with them to the grave.
The first person I had interviewed was my father’s best friend for almost ninety years. My Uncle, as I had called him even though we shared no blood, was living in Florida and I was living in New Jersey so I had to make the most of our time together. What a gift it was to visit this ninety-eight year old gentleman that was brimming with wisdom and listen to pieces of his lifetime. He was lucid, talkative, and he never stopped smiling for the six hours I was there. He was an amazing man motivated by an amazing work ethic and love of life. His glass was always half full, probably with wine, but it was half full nonetheless. I now understand why he and my father were best friends; they shared the same passion for life and the people around them. I guess I had always known that, but it became so much more prevalent. They looked to the future with appreciation instead of apprehansion, because “every day you’re alive is a beautiful day.”
Many times I reflect back on tht day and how fortunate I was to have that opportunity. It is a memory I will always cherish. My Uncle’s stories reignited my admiration for what our ancestors had endured and accomplished, and I left there even more determined to get their stories told.
About the Author
Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito are cousins. Throughout their lives, they had heard many stories from family members that were fascinating, sometimes even unbelievable, and decided to piece together the puzzle of tales. Through research and interviews, their goal was to create a fictional story that follows a family through several decades, providing the reader an opportunity to stand in the shoes of a past generation and walk in search of their hopes and dreams. What they realize in the process is that human emotions have been the same throughout generations – the difference is how people are molded and maneuvered by their times and their situations. Mona and Dianne live with their husbands in New Jersey and they each have two grown sons. This is their first novel together.
I’d like to thank Mona for taking the time to do a guest post here on Books and Bindings. It was awesome having you here!
Title: Forty Years in a Day
Author: Mona Rodriguez and Dianne Vigorito
Genre: Historical Fiction
Confession is good for the soul even after the soul has been claimed… The story begins in Italy, 1900. After years of torment and neglect, Victoria and her four small children immigrate to Hell’s Kitchen, New York, to escape her alcoholic, abusive husband. On the day they leave, he tragically dies, but she does not learn of his death for several years—a secret that puts many lives on hold. Quickly, they realize America’s streets are not paved with gold, and the limits of human faith and stamina are tested time and time again. Poverty, illness, death, kidnapping, and the reign of organized crime are just some of the crosses they bear. Victoria’s eldest son, Vincenzo, is the sole surviving member of the family and shares a gut-wrenching account of their lives with his daughter during a visit to Ellis Island on his ninetieth birthday. He explains how the lives of he and his siblings have been secretly intertwined with an infamous Irish mob boss and ends his unsettling disclosure with a monumental request that leaves Clare speechless. Forty Years in a Day is layered with the struggles and successes of each family member and defines the character of an era. Follow the Montanaro family through several decades, and stand in the shoes of a past generation.