With our Season 2 podcast finale upon us, we could not resist making this author our Writer of the Week. His stories are not just page-turners, but cover unique topics with evocative storylines. From the wrestling world of 1979 and 'The Ballad of Ricky Risotto' to talking insurance and religion in 'Tabernacle', it is no wonder readers are eagerly awaiting the next book by author Marc Cavella.
Mark is from Toms River, NJ but when we caught up with him he was staying outside of San Diego, CA. Why? He was making changes to his next book The Man From Coronado, and genre he calls "gritty literary fiction. My books are mostly about people who are living on or outside of the margins in one way or another, and how they navigate their particular circumstances. I like writing characters who have a little bit of a twist to them, who view the world a little differently than other people do."
We asked Marc who or what got him interested in writing and he shared, "I don’t know if it was any one person or event. It was just something I was always interested in, even from a young age. I would read comic strips like Garfield or other books and try to write similar types of things. I think it just progressed from there."
Taking the suggestion of author Charlie Lovett earlier in our Season 2 we asked Marc if there was an environment he could not see himself being able to write in, he admitted "coffee shops or any place that’s crowded. I really need to concentrate when I’m writing, which is why I generally like to lock myself in a quiet room by myself when I’m working on something. Any place that is quiet will work. But ideally, it would be someplace with a great view of nature—mountains, lakes, the beach, etc. If I could write while living in a Thomas McKnight painting, I’d be all set."
Of course, we were curious and had to ask what inspired his stories most, to which Marc answered, "I read a lot and watch a lot of different types of documentaries and movies, so I definitely get a lot of ideas from those types of things, but that’s generally about vibe and feel as opposed to story elements. With that said, inspiration can definitely come from anywhere. For example, the inspiration for The Man From Coronado came from the fact that I was a huge fan of Jesse “The Body” Ventura back when he was an announcer for the World Wrestling Federation back in the 1980s. I read up on him and it turns out he was a Navy SEAL and a full-patch member of a motorcycle club out in California when he came back from Vietnam. He also claimed he was a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones at some point—The Man From Coronado is very loosely based on that."
"I’m a true-crime guy," Marc said when we inquired about his favorite genre to read," I read Robert Graysmith’s Zodiac when I was eight years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. If it’s a true story about the mafia, serial killers, or bank robberies, I’m probably going to read it in a day or two. I’m also a huge history buff, so I enjoy reading that genre as well."
When we caught up with Marc he was reading 1776 by well-known historian and author David McCullough, "which is an examination of the first year of the American Revolution."
Like most authors Marc has an idea of who he would like to play his main character if his story was ever to hit the big screen, " It would need to be someone who is big and muscular but has pretty good range. So I’d probably say someone like Chris Hemsworth would be a good pick. He’s got some edge to him, and Lance Sacramento definitely has that quality as well."
In his spare time, Marc said he enjoyed spending time with his family, "and lately I’ve been addicted to The Game Show Network. I don’t think I’ve changed the channel at all during the past six weeks or so, except to watch 90 Day Fiancé."
The good news is Marc is in the process of writing his latest book and it is a sequel to The Ballad of Rick Risotto, "The Man From Coronado is actually the second of three novellas that comprise the Ozark Championship Wrestling trilogy—The Ballad of Ricky Risotto was the first book in the trilogy—and the next book will be the final story in that series. I don’t have a title yet, but it’s going to focus on Cindy Carmichael, OCW’s biggest female star. It’s a little different stylistically from the first two books, but I think it’s going to be a nice story overall."
Marc offered this advice for individuals who are looking to publish this year, "It’s an awesome endeavor and an incredible amount of fun, but it will be a ton of work. I think the most important thing is to do as much research as possible and have answers to your questions well ahead of time—for example, do you want to publish paperbacks that will be distributed via bookstores, or do you want to just put e-books up on Amazon?—because the actual publication process can be involved and it can cost you a fair bit of money if you are not armed with the right information ahead of time."
Perhaps it is Marc's favorite quote that truly encompasses the soul of us writers. It also speaks to those who feel at times like giving up, but don't, "Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." ~F. Scotts Fitzgerald
Tune in to The Writing Wall Podcast Season 2 finale on Saturday, April 24th at 6 p.m. EST on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, and other platforms for Marc's interview, hear him read an excerpt from his book and more.
Marc Cavella is a professional writer with over twenty years of experience crafting material in different genres. As a child, Marc read anything he could get his hands on—everything from 19th-century novels to true-crime thrillers to GI Joe comic books. He enjoyed books about history, biographies of famous Americans (especially baseball players from the 1940s, like Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson), and wild stories about musicians like Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen. (Marc is from New Jersey, after all.) Growing up near the ocean, he was also interested in books about maritime history; one of his favorite books in his youth was a collection of paintings of famous naval battles, which he still occasionally searches for at his local library. Drawing from this diverse range of interests and influences, Marc began writing his own material, most of which focused on ordinary peoples’ struggles to answer questions that are simultaneously modern and timeless. Marc explored an aspect of those struggles in Tabernacle, his first novel. Tabernacle focuses on the exploits of Edward Jones, a wildly successful salesman who ponders the complexity of fatherhood and the delicate nature of goodness as he pursues his latest commission. Tabernacle received a number of excellent reviews from critics and currently has nearly two dozen five-star ratings on Amazon. Marc has plans for two additional sequels to Tabernacle, as well as a number of other books, including his Ozark Championship Wrestling Trilogy, which consists of three novellas that focus on some of the wilder characters from Ozark Championship Wrestling, a fictional regional promotion operating out of Little Rock, Arkansas. The first book in that series, The Ballad of Ricky Risotto, was released in September 2020 and received great reviews as well. The second book, The Man From Coronado: A Lance Sacramento Story, will be released in April 2021. Prior to writing his novels, Marc was pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology, with the aim of becoming a marriage and family counselor. Marc was especially interested in conducting research examining marital and relationship dynamics among families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Marc’s passion for writing was too strong to resist, however, and he left the program after receiving a master’s degree. But Marc’s time as a doctoral student still bleeds into his work, which allows him to write from an incredibly unique perspective and enables him to create truly authentic, original, and complex characters. All of these experiences combine to make Marc the particularly versatile writer that he is today. In addition to his fiction works, he’s written dozens of articles covering a wide range of topics: psychology and human behavior (aspects of which are explored in Tabernacle); professional sports, including hockey and football; international business; government and politics; and a number of articles about movies and television. In his spare time, Marc enjoys relaxing with his family and their pets; reading about history, politics, and current events; and attending concerts. When he’s not working on his next book, you might find Marc looking for inspiration at the card tables in Atlantic City or while watching professional wrestling on television.
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A new Writer of the Week is featured every Monday at 8 a.m. EST on the blog. Please follow The Writing Wall on Twitter @TheWritingWall or on Instagram @writingsonthewall85 for updates and announcements. Readers may also tune into the podcast every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 6 p.m. EST on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, and more.