Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and seventy-seventh is of children’s fiction mystery (for ages 8 to 12) author Michael Carestio. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Michael Carestio has traveled a long and winding road as a writer. He is an advertising copywriter, a weaver of persuasion who has sold everything including sports teams, political candidates, banking, hot dogs, chemicals, and the world’s best eye hospital.
He grew up in South Philadelphia, a straight talking part of the city where fools are not suffered lightly. Michael attended the Catholic Archdiocese school system and graduated the Temple University School of Communications.
Michael’s entry into children’s literature came about on a dare. During an involuntary hiatus in his marketing career (he sold his agency and didn’t protect his employment adequately!) he sulked and wrote nothing for what seemed like forever. While sitting on a South Jersey beach with a friend one steamy August afternoon, a one-legged sea gull landed (gracefully) beside them looking for a handout.
His uncompassionate friend said, “If you can’t write a story about a one-legged sea bird, you might as well hang it up.” So, he responded to her nickel and dime psychological jab and produced ten pages about a talking sea gull who befriended a young boy having a tough time dealing with the death of his soldier father killed in Afghanistan. It is a story about the strength of family.
He thought the idea had merit, and he shopped it to several publishers who rejected it except for one: Magination Press. The children’s literature imprint of the American Psychological Association was looking for a young reader’s book about childhood grief and thought his Tales of Blackjack Jetty might fill the bill with a little rewriting. The APA has a rigid rule against fantasy in kid’s books… the talking seagull had to go. One year and fifty-eight pages later, A Boy’s Journey Through Grief was completed.
And that’s how Michael arrived to where he is today, with a second book in the Black Jack Jetty series. Cousins & Robbers features the same group of kids, set in the same South Jersey shore town, who defend home and family against the bad guys.
Michael is working on a third book in the Black Jack Jetty series, Cousins & Ghosts which wiill be set down the shore around Halloween.
And now from the author himself: Read the rest of this entry »