Being Brothers is a compelling coming of age story following two brothers growing up in the Bronx during the 70’s. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
I grew up in the Bronx during that time period, played in the Little League, and had an older brother, and so I enjoyed writing this book because I was able to revisit those times. I didn’t know it, but they were the best of times and with the birth of cell phones, became extinct.
I enjoyed the story within a story idea and felt like it really drew me in. What was the inspiration behind this idea?
I write all of my stories as screenplays first and then I create the novel and since I loved the idea of Jack narrating about his younger self, Jackie, I didn’t want to lose that voice. No matter how many ways I thought of it, it would have ruined the ending and that narration if I turned it into a novel. I got the idea of having Mark Marino, a screenwriter, looking over his screenplay so the reader would be following the journey with him. It worked.
Mark and Jackie were characters that felt authentic and relatable. Did you plan their character development before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
Since I lived those days and absolutely loved growing up in The Bronx, those characters are alive inside of me. I didn’t plan them out, it was an organic approach. I also went to Catholic school and endured that brutal educational style. I only scratched the surface of that reality. If I wrote the darker side of that it would have added a color to the book that would have been a distraction to the mood I was trying to establish.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently rewriting the film version of Being Brothers, as it was picked up by a production company and is in development, but what I stopped working on is a new baseball story that’s been in my head for roughly 40 years. It has really interesting characters with back stories so it can easily become a trilogy. I’m creating a thorough outline with the important dialog included and I am halfway through. Like I said, I write the film first, so once I write the film, I will start on the novel and it will be the same story, but very different. I hope that I’ll have the novel out within the next 18 months.
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If you’re looking for a heartfelt coming of age story, you should definitely read Mike DeLucia’s Being Brothers. This book takes readers through the life of Jackie, an 11-year old boy growing up in the Bronx in the 70s. It specifically focuses on his relationship with his brother Sal and how their mutual love for baseball brought them together.
The fact that the brothers’ story is told as a screenplay written by Mark Marino, a writer who digs into his own life to birth the character that is Jackie, makes it even more intriguing. The story within a story narrative allows us to be in a unique position where we are both an insider and an outsider, creating an intimacy that is hard to replicate.
Moreover, the author’s knowledge of baseball is so vast that the game scenes could be mistaken for real-life events. But if there is something that truly warms the heart, it is the part of the story where Jackie realizes that despite appearances, his brother always had his back, from birth in fact. Needless to say, this story has a strong family theme to it, with the love and comfort of Jackie’s being at the foundation of the narrative.
The book also succeeds in bringing to life the realities of male bonding and friendships, especially those formed in childhood. With the 70s as a backdrop, it almost feels like this narrative was set in simpler, sweeter times. The music titles the author adds to his scenes also add a subtle realism to them.
Honestly, the only minor thing I could complain about would be that sometimes the jump from scene dialogue to prose can be disorienting especially when Jackie is in dialogue. The jump between Jackie talking in the first person and then referring to himself in the third person is a little odd.
Otherwise, Being Brothers is extremely well written and easy to read. Moreover, the perspective of Mark Marino adds a layer of reality that many writers can relate to. For instance, when he catches his own grammatical errors and talks about all the rules that govern writing, he pulls any writer in. Ultimately, the author has done a great job at making us care about Mark and Jackie and even clearly see the Jackie in Mark.
Being Brothers is an thoroughly entertaining story that expertly integrates sports in a compelling coming of age story with a literary prowess that only author Mike DeLucia can pull off.
Pages: 162 | ASIN: B08LGJB71H
Tags: author, baseball, Being Brothers, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, coming of age, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, kindle, kobo, literature, Mike DeLucia, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, sports, story, writer, writing
Madness is based on the real life of Hank Luisetti, a man that changed basketball forever. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?
When I was a teen, my life’s goal was to become a film actor, but getting married young and starting a business put that on hold in my early twenties, so I decided to “Stallone” it and write a movie and only sell it if I was to play the lead. That sounds pretty funny now but to a 22 year old, it was a solid plan. I told my father about it and he said he knew the perfect guy to write about. He told me about Luisetti and what he did. I went to the library in Manhattan, these were the days before the Net was born, and researched him for two weeks. When I finished the research, I was hooked. Luisetti has been one of my idols ever since. I have a load of memorabilia.
This book is a balance between Hank’s real life achievements and some fictional elements. How did you find balance between these and what was important for you to get right?
It just happened over years of cultivating it. It began as a screenplay and went through several versions before I wrote the historical fiction novel. I went back to college when I was forty and got my BA in English, so I read all the classics and love storytelling. Some of the Odyssey rubbed off in Madness; Hank is like a modern age Odysseus. I also based a lot on my childhood, friends, and Italian roots. I am a second generation Italian American and Hank’s a first—our upbringings had definite similarities.
The one thing I enjoyed was how palpable the determination and passion was in Hank’s life and in this book. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this story?
All the classic themes are embedded in there: Coming of Age, Overcoming Obstacles, Family Values, Life’s Journey, Man VS Himself and Society, The Power of Love; I can go on. I really don’t know how to answer it—I wrote from my heart. I became Hank Luisetti as I wrote and weaved in my knowledge of books. As an actor I was acting out scenes as I wrote. I put myself in there and the themes grew. If I didn’t feel the emotion, it didn’t get written. I really enjoyed writing it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have no idea when that will be because I’m still promoting Madness, which takes all of my spare time. I do have six outlines though. One is potentially a trilogy about a baseball player. I’ve had this story in my head for thirty years. After that, I leave the sports genre for good. All my others are very different; a few have female protagonists, which should be interesting. When Madness slows down, I’ll begin again. If people like my style, I have a really nice story which is a free eBook on Amazon called Settling A Score. Like Madness, it’s not really about baseball as it is about Coming of Age, Family, and Overcoming Obstacles. It’s fiction but based on my childhood in the Bronx during the 1960s.
Who’s the greatest basketball player ever? Madness is the intriguing story of Hank Luisetti, the predawn of March Madness, and how modern basketball was born.FINALIST, 2019 TopShelf Book AwardsSOLO MEDALIST WINNER: Autobiography / Biography / Memoir – 2019 New Apple Summer eBook AwardsBRONZE MEDAL: Young Adult Category – 2019 Readers’ Favorite Book AwardsFINALIST, Sports – 2019 International Book AwardsFINALIST – 2019 Topshelf Book Awards”I would say author Mike DeLucia is to the sports novel, what Sylvester Stallone is to the sports film. Mr. DeLucia’s characters are rich and relatable, in a story where sports is an analogy for life.”Mike DeLucia keeps the characters engaging, and the action moving. He manages to capture the energy and excitement of a championship face-off, and put it on the page. This is a well-done “sports” novel.”The majority of searches say Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, but many others oppose this. While Jordan’s rank is debatable, a respectable dream team would include Kevin Durant, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dr. J, Tim Duncan, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and Hank Luisetti.Chances are, you’ve never heard of Hank Luisetti. But this wouldn’t be a legitimate discussion without the Hall of Fame legend whose celebrity caused a basketball revolution.James Naismith invented basketball in 1891; Hank Luisetti reinvented it in 1936. Hank changed basketball’s genetic footprint when he popularized the one-handed shot. He could jump so high and stay up so long he seemed to defy gravity.Was Luisetti better than Jordan? That’s impossible to say because they played in different eras. But Hank Luisetti was basketball’s first superstar and what he did for the game is unprecedented.This historical fiction novel is based on the basketball achievements of Hank Luisetti. Some actual events, aspects, and characters have been fictionalized.
There is a certain quality about people who make valuable contributions to history. They seem to have an uncanny ability to remain focused on their goals and to overcome their hurdles with stoic determination. Such is the story of one Angelo-Giuseppi ‘Hank’ Luisetti. Some people may not know who this is, including some basketball fanatics. However, the fact remains that Hank revolutionized basketball. Madness is his story of courage, focus, determination and immeasurable passion for the game.
The legacy of Hank Luisetti should never go unrecognized. He lived an inspiring life of hard work and motivating those around him to be better. Mike DeLucia tells his story in a compelling manner. He pulls in the reader right from the introduction with a peek into Hank’s life before basketball; being taught not to question God and a whole delve into his life during basketball. You will get to see the struggles as a ‘different’ kid. Nothing has been held back. This book is marked with candid banter and a knack to inspire the reader.
The book does not discriminate between demographics. It is enjoyable by anyone of any age. It is written in simple language. It weaves the plot of Hank’s life in a way that keeps you interested in how one person can be such a pillar of strength, not only for his self but for others too. You will find all the spirit, joy and heart of the game and the man himself captured between the lines of this book. The story is told in such vivid detail that you can almost see the sweat trickle down Hank’s face. You can feel his heart beat in his chest every time he was on the court.
Mike DeLucia uses true events but has created fictional characters to support the plot. These characters are properly built with enough backdrop and dimensions but it is done so carefully so that they do not overshadow the purpose of the story. They are great characters that will appeal to the reader. These characters will affirm that truly no great man becomes so without a few trusted people to him along the way.
There is a lot to learn from this book. You do not even have to be a fan of basketball. You could know absolutely nothing about the sport but you would still enjoy it. Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball is a trip into the heart of one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.
Pages: 251 | ASIN: B07N87N384