Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Only Connect

I know I'm always stealing--it's what writers do--take things and rework them into their creative process--like an article I read at Salon today about SEVERAL writers who used a Happy/Sad Foot sign out in LA and made them symbols (get it--a sign) in their novels--something F. Scott Fitzgerald about the whole thing--and even he was borrowing from T. S. Elliot.

Sooooo. Here is something I've taken from Booklist. The original link was from Daniel where he posted at a listserve I'm on SCBWI-Illinois

Desperately Seeking DeSario: A Real-Life Literary Mystery.


Kraus, Daniel (author).


First published May 1, 2011 (Booklist).

Sanctuary paperbackIn 1990, I read a novel called Sanctuary, by Joseph P. DeSario (Doubleday, 1989). Don’t bother looking it up—you won’t find anything. I plucked it from a paperback rack in Iowa so that I’d have something to read while our family made its annual five-hour haul to Grandpa’s farm. As a young Stephen King fan, I thought the machete on the cover had just enough blood on it, and that Chicago Tribune blurb didn’t hurt, either: “Violent, exciting, and quite satisfying!”
Regardless of the reasons, I tore through it like almost nothing else before or since. The story follows a tabloid news reporter named Matt Teller who comes across a bona fide scoop: a mutilated corpse strapped to a metal cot in the middle of the desert. The delirious plotline ends up involving an alcoholic baseball scout, fanatical Christians, brutal torturers, and Mayan prophesies.
It’s brash, whip-smart, brilliantly plotted, ambitious, funny, violent, and, you guessed it, “quite satisfying.” So satisfying, in fact, that I’ve been reading it semiregularly for 21 years. I took that paperback to college; it traveled to each of the eight apartments that followed. In my early twenties, I even had dreams of turning Sanctuary into the next Hollywood blockbuster. I wrote an (extremely long) first draft of a screenplay, but even I knew I had been too unflaggingly loyal to my source.
What I didn’t do—not once did I even think of it—was seek out more books by DeSario. Recently, however, I was weeding my home shelves, an activity akin to cutting off my fingers a knuckle at a time, and found myself flipping through the dog-eared, note-scribbled pages of Sanctuary. The front design trumpeted DeSario as the “author of Limbo.” How had I never followed up on this? Easily remedied: I purchased a used copy of Limbo for 83 cents.
My next thought was: Booklist. Did we review DeSario’s books?
Limbo filing cardA trip to Ye Olde Filing Cabinets informed me that, yes, in the March 1, 1987, issue of Booklist, Peter L. Robertson reviewed Limbo, calling it “gripping . . . a tough and compassionate first novel.” We weren’t alone in our praise: Publishers Weekly called it “extraordinary . . . a magnetic new voice in thriller fiction.”
Sanctuary was published just two years later—certainly quickly enough to capitalize on Limbo’s heat. But there was no record for Sanctuary at Booklist, not even in our files of rejected titles. Four years later, DeSario published one more book: Crusade: Undercover against the Mafia and KGB (Brassey’s, 1993), a memoir by former CIA agent Tom Tripodi, coauthored by DeSario. That one, by the way, we reviewed.
Then: 18 years of silence.
DeSario clearly stopped putting out books; the world, if it ever cared, stopped caring. This, truth be told, is the real story of publishing. Everything else you hear about is the exception. For these reasons, it seemed even more important that I remind DeSario that great books get overlooked all the time; we at Booklist miss our share. I had been the perfect reviewer to pick up Sanctuary. The only problem was that I had been 15 years old at the time.
I hit the Internet. Library of Congress gave me the most important information first: “DeSario, Joseph P., 1950–.” So he was alive, but where? It didn’t take me long to find a web page from the Illinois Center for the Book. It is nearly devoid of information aside from the following sentence:
“DeSario lives in Morton Grove, Illinois.”
I swear to you, I felt a chill. Morton Grove is a 30-minute drive from my home.

read the rest here:

it's a great REAL story of fiction writers who discover that deep connection only writers can have with each other and their work.The reason we read. to only connect.

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