Title: The Big Wide Calm
Author: Rich Marcello
ISBN or ASIN: ISBN-13: 978-1626527959
Page count: 254
Genre: Literary Fiction
Price (Print and Ebook): $14.23 Print and $5.99 ebook
If Rich Marcello could choose only one creative mentor, he’d give the role to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. This is not only because he currently resides in New England, where Jonathan started, but because of his life as a contemporary fiction author, poet and songwriter, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs he’s written. Rich grew up in New Jersey surrounded by song and word.
For a while it seemed right to travel the musician’s path, especially during his stint in his college folk group, at The University of Notre Dame, where he wrote and recorded his first original songs. But, as is true for many musicians, graduation led him down a different road, one on which he found his love for high technology. There, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.
During his time in technology he never stopped creating art, and eventually his love for song and the written word grew to the point where he walked away from his first career to pursue poetry, song, and fiction with the same enthusiasm and discipline he demonstrated in business. In The Color Of Home, his literary voice melds all three together with honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.”
He’s currently working on his third novel, The Beauty of the Fall.
Tell us about your book:
Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn’t know it yet. She’s got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions—and make her galactically famous along the way.
When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige’s album for free, it feels like destiny, like the next step on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitar in hand, Paige sets off to John’s recording compound, ready to unfold her future.
But the ever-elusive John, with his mysterious history, and Paige, a big dreamer but naïve about her footing in life, clash as much as they coalesce. Before they can change the world through Paige’s music, the improbable duo must learn to work together.
A coming of age story and retrospective, The Big Wide Calm focuses on human nature and the complexities of love through the eyes of young and old on the journey of creating the perfect album.
Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about you and/or your book:
I’m currently writing three books about different kinds of love. The first, The Color of Home, was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and is about romantic love. The third, The Beauty of the Fall, will be published in 2015/2106, and is about love in a broader community. The Big Wide Calm was just published, also by Langdon Street Press, and is about platonic love.
Where can we go to buy your book?
It’s available everywhere.
Here’s the link to my website which also points to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Excerpt from book:
My name is Paige Plant, and I’m a singer-songwriter. I have fourteen paintings to prove it—one for each song I’ve written. Thirteen Möbius strip watercolors where I painted the song’s story on the strip. What can I say? I was good at science back in the day. The fourteenth, done in oil and not on a Möbius strip, depicts the only love song I’ve ever written. Not that I’ve had only one lover or anything—I’m quite attractive in a B+ kind of way—but only one worth an oil painting. Plus, oil makes the other guys, and an occasional girl, work a little harder at pleasing me. Everybody wants a love song written about them; almost everyone wants to see their song in oil.
Today, I’m going to meet this guy named John Bustin. He’s older, like pensioned, and, well, from the whisper-whisper out there, he was a decent songwriter in his time. No one that most people would know, but he’s well respected in a few east coast music circles. A buddy of mine saw John’s ad online and set us up. I guess John has this million-dollar recording studio in the woods forty miles west of Boston, and he lets singer-songwriters use it for free if he vibes on their stuff. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a few paintings out of the place if things go well.
Watercolors. Not oils. I don’t do the daddy thing. Already have one of those, and he’s great. When I was five, he told me I would front the next Led Zeppelin. Even legally changed my last name to prove he was serious. “Paige Plant” he would sing over and over to a little nursery rhyme of a tune he’d written for me. I still play it every now and then as a reminder, as a future eulogy.
Main Street in Harton, the town where John lives, is a throwback to a different era. Boutique shops line both sides of the extra-wide street. A general store. A potter’s showcase. A cucina. A coffeehouse. An old marquee cinema. Too many churches and a small inn surround a large green. On any given weekend, I bet the sidewalks fill equally with townies and tourists, though there’s hardly anyone around today.
After coffee at The General, as the townies like to call it, I make my way out of the center and down country roads with sickeningly panoramic Mount Wachusett views toward John’s. Nature girl I am not. Almost miss my turn onto this long private gravel road that splits a field in two. Probably a cornfield, which is a common crop in this part of Massachusetts, though now all you can see are snowmobile tracks. After about a mile, I’m swallowed by a deep oak and evergreen forest. Inside, I wind through trees, which occasionally give way to fifty-foot-high rock formations that must be thousands, if not millions, of years old. I’m back in the time before humans—at any moment, a giant raptor might jump out from behind the rocks and keep me from my destiny. Finally, the road stops at a large clearing with a wooden building, the studio I’m guessing, which looks like a modern version of a barn. Big doors in the front. A high angled roof with solar panels. Lots of glass. A large silver-backed dog, or maybe a wolf, circles my car as if it’s searching for its next meal. A moment later, the barn doors open.