Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Interview with B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree Vincent LoCoco

Please join me in welcoming B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree Vincent LoCoco to A Literary Vacation!! His first novel, Tempesta's Dream - A Story of Love, Friendship and Opera, became an Amazon bestselling novel and was awarded the 2014 Pinnacle Achievement Award in Historical Fiction. Amazon also has named his book as a Top Rated Novel in Italian Historical Fiction.

His most recent novel, A Song for Bellafortuna, was shortlisted in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Competition and was named a Best Reads for 2015 and was awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G. Medallion Award in Historical Fiction. He is an estate planning attorney in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Hello, Vincent, and welcome to A Literary Vacation! To start off with, please tell us a little about your book, A Song for Bellafortuna?

Thanks for inviting me to discuss my novel, A Song for Bellafortuna. The story is set in the beautiful Sicilian hills. Bellafortuna is a small village and a great producer of wine and olive oil. The entire village prospers. However, after the arrival of the Vasaio family, production dwindles and the villagers soon find themselves in crushing debt to the Vasaios. Only the Sanguinetti family remains outside the control of the Vasaios, but the reason haunts Antonio Sanguinetti every day of his life, and he offers financial and emotional support to his fellow villagers. When Antonio's only son, Giuseppe, discovers his family's past, he becomes determined to take on the Vasaios and remove them from power. Led by the young Giuseppe, a plan is hatched that could result in either complete freedom for the villagers, or if it fails, forever solidify the Vasaios' control.

What drew you to tell this particular story?

I live in New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina devastated my city, I knew I wanted to write a story of rebirth and redemption. Somehow, that story transformed into the story that I told. Like New Orleans, Bellafortuna enjoyed its own rebirth.

What sort of research went into writing A Song for Bellafortuna? Did you do any traveling as part of your research?

I did a lot of research on Sicilian life at the turn of the century. I read a lot of travel type books on Sicily to get a good feeling of the country and its people. I did not travel there specifically for the novel, but had traveled to Italy a few times in the past and recalled my memories form those trips.

Was there anything you discovered as part of your research that you found surprising or shocking? Was there anything you wanted to incorporate into the story but had to cut for whatever reason?


The poverty of the Sicilian people at the turn of the century really surprised me. Luckily, there was nothing that I wanted to incorporate in the story but left out. Everything I had to say is in the story.

I would imagine that there is a lot of reading involved in the process of researching and writing a novel. Did you come across any books you would recommend for those that have read A Song for Bellafortuna and that want to read more about the settings and situations discussed?

I really have only one recommendation as it is the best book on the Sicily. On Persephone's Island, A book by Mary Taylor Simet.

Historical fiction happens to be my all-time favorite genre and I find myself going back and forth between what periods of history are my favorite to read about. Do you have a favorite time period to write and/or read about, or do you enjoy jumping around as I do? 

I like to jump around as well. I joke with my friends all the time that I must hate cell phones, as being a historical fiction writer means I never have to write about cell phones, email or faxes. A much slower paced life.

What does a typical day (if there is one) look like for you? How do you balance writing and the rest of your life?

I am an attorney, so all of my writing takes place either late at night or first thing in the morning – usually at a coffee shop for an hour before work.

What drew you to independently publish A Song for Bellafortuna as opposed to seeking traditional publishing?

I loved the element of control afforded by self-publishing.

How did you discover indieBRAG and what does it mean to you to have A Song for Bellafortuna awarded the BRAG Medallion?

Some other novels in my genre were winners. It means so much to be awarded a B.R.A.G. Award as the process is very selective and it means that a few readers fell in love with the story and thought it worthy of being named an award winner.

Thank you so much, Vincent, for answering my questions!

You can learn more about Vincent and his books on his website and connect with him Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. You can  purchase a copy of A Song for Bellafortuna at  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Audible.

A Message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Colleen has chosen to interview Vincent LoCoco, who is the author of A Song for Bellafortuna, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ® , a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as A Song for Bellafortuna merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

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