Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. When he wrote, he utilized and mirrored real places and aspects of historical importance. By doing so, he made his tales more than just enjoyable but highly relatable in every aspect of one’s life.
Different from my husband, who enjoys science-fiction to escape reality, realistic fiction places that which we hate to confront in our faces. It challenges us to grasp the importance of differing moral and ethical behaviors. Now, Wilmington author and resident Michael J. Maccalupo focuses on the genre in his debut novel “Where the Road Begins.”
“A writer should write about what they know,” Maccalupo says, “and I know about growing up in Buffalo in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I took real situations and real people and put things together into a story.”
Narrated mostly by his main character, Hap Pozner, “Where the Road Begins” is a tale about friendship, deception, and the joy and pain of childhood. Most of all, it is about the two choices in life that everyone must consider when it comes to surviving: fight or flight.
Taking place in South Buffalo, New York, iconic backdrops appear, such as Cazenovia Park and Chautauqua Lake—known internationally by artists, writers and musicians alike. The message brings to the forefront a lesson so many of us need to be reminded of: We really don’t know someone until we know their past.
Perfect for the current season engulfed in giving, Maccalupo’s novel represents hope and promise. As the author points out, these two virtues are integral to overcome tragedies many are forced to deal with and confront this time of year. Unique to his work, there are no secondary characters, and Maccalupo mixes poetry with prose in his series.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” he says. “I’ve written things over the years including some poetry and ghost writing.” Hesitant to give too much away about his new upcoming edition, Maccalupo reveals the setting takes place in Wilmington, with more cross relationships and new addicting characters.
“I wanted the second in the series to take place in Wilmington, because I know a lot about it—the terrain, the people and the places,” he explains. “I’d like the reader to look at (my novels) and say, ‘Our lives may be different, but we have a lot of commonalities.’ There’s universality to life for a great many of people.”
Though knowing Wilmington inside and out isn’t completely necessary, the read alludes to the underlying notion that these issues are about every town, every boy and every girl. “No one escapes tragedy in life,” Maccalupo says. “Even if it appears they have everything going for them. In the process of writing this, I think I’ve learned this lesson even more. That’s one of the things that this book can do is help many realize this. Sometimes in our modern day people can’t find this hope. Optimism is dead or dying, but I aimed to have my book bring an optimistic viewpoint to life.”
Once an English and writing instructor at Campbell University located on Camp Lejeune, Maccalupo married passion with education. In the end, it has helped him continue to push his own boundaries of creative writing.
“I taught the Marines and their families, and the airmen from Cherry Point, and the sailors, too,” he says. “Teaching writing and literature helped me appreciate a variety of literature I had not previously looked at, and it helped me become a better editor. I will always challenge myself as a writer and blend reality with fiction for my readers.”
Join Maccalupo Thursday, November 10th, at 7 p.m., for a signing and reading at Pomegranate Books in Wilmington and follow him at www.mjmaccalupo.com.