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You Find Out Who Your True Friends Are

Robert John DeLuca Author Interview

The Covid Kid follows a young adult in his first year of college who has all his plans turned upside down with the emergence of COVID. What made you write a story about this topic?

The pandemic had such an overwhelming influence on us all. I simply could not ignore the impact on my upbeat protagonist, who always seems to come out okay in the end but never takes the straightforward path. Placing the most important person in his life at risk with COVID, under circumstances that might have been attributable to him, created suspense and concern for my readers. 

Marshall’s plans for his first year of college change dramatically, and he has to adapt to many changes. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Boiled all the way down, it is a critical part of the maturation process from childhood to adult. Thankfully, most kids ease into adulthood without facing major trauma on the way, but they will have to deal with it at some point in their lives.

Marshall lived an admirable life with a sincere concern for others. I wanted to show that even the very best have problems, but his faith and perseverance won out in the end.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The pandemic was very serious business and should not be taken lightly, as it was by many young people. Marshall lost friends close to him and realized COVID must be dealt with seriously. Financial pressure can turn almost anyone to compromise their ideals and sworn allegiances, even a Hippocratic oath. When adversity rears its ugly head, you find out who your true friends really are.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book in the Marshall Morris series is “The Battle of Sam Jacinto”.  (Yes, “Sam”) Marshall aligns himself with a group of old vets who rally with slingshots and baseball bats at the planned destruction of a Vietnam era local hero statue for a shopping center. In the process he forgets the proliferation of slavery advocated by many of the monuments and impact on his girlfriend African American Mallory. The one after that with a working title of “Hugs and Drugs” is about half written. Hopefully out in time for Christmas.

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Texas high school graduate Marshall Morris is set to enter college when the COVID pandemic explodes into his life. Usually unsinkable, he is shaken but endures his “prison-like” quarantine with good cheer, thanks mostly to long chats with girlfriend Mallory.
The devastating loss of senior citizen war veteran buddies who survived combat bullets, but not this bug, leads him to become grimly serious about the pandemic, and he rails against young people who refuse to take precautions. His worst fears are realized when his precious mother is struck down by the dread disease, which he is certain he gave to her.
Though she worsens in an ICU he is unable to visit. He tries to keep busy working at a struggling real estate company. The owner, desperate for cash, becomes the middleman. in a bizarre international scheme to inject a bogus miracle cure into COVID patients at a local hospital. Marshall is shocked to learn the surely fatal drug will be given to his mother. He must get to her ICU before it is too late. The hospital’s COVID ward is a fortress. Can he get to her in time?

The Covid Kid: Another Marshall Morris Adventure

Robert John DeLuca’s The Covid Kid follows the misadventures of Marshall Morris, who we encounter as a high school student embarking on his first year at college. Having won an enviable football scholarship, Marshall expects his college experience to be full of sport and socializing — yet the encroaching presence of an unfamiliar virus threatens everything. As fear and tensions surrounding the virus continue to build, Marshall must decide what sacrifices he is willing to make for the good of his friends and the wider community. In the face of worldwide tragedy and conflicting opinions, the value of friendship is made clearer than ever before — something that the carefree Marshall must learn the hard way.

With its warm and humorous cast of teenagers, alongside ambitious antagonist Tommy Kinder, The Covid Kid encourages its readers to laugh ruefully at the hijinks and efforts of its characters — efforts which frequently backfire. There is a vein of tragedy that runs alongside this comic adventure, however — set during the rise of Covid-19, this story does well at balancing fun action with thoughtful commentary.

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that there were moments when we’re given a lot of exposition, and are told things about characters rather than shown. Otherwise, Marshall is a likable character that readers will enjoy following and the plot is compelling. The dialogue is straightforward and and delivers facts in a reporter-style of speech that serves an educational purpose, as characters’ fearful discussion of the impact of the virus marks a particular point in human history.

The Covid Kid successfully explores the effects of Covid-19 on society, particularly the younger generation. This is a compelling medical thriller that is as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Pages: 284 | ASIN: B09XWFMPR3

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