Virtual Book Tour Guests: G.A. and A.R. Costa, authors of Luna Marina and the McMachina

We welcome today G.A. and A.R. Costa, authors of the new young adult, LUNA MARINA AND THE MCMACHINA.
G. A. Costa was born in Pawtucket, RI. He grew up in Seekonk, MA and now resides near Boston.  He attended The Perkins School for the Blind until Junior High, where, as a child, he started learning how to sing and play the keyboard.  After outgrowing Perkins, he attended Junior High in Watertown, MA.  He then came home to Attend High School in Seekonk, MA, where he received High Honors and was inducted into The National Honor Society.  While at Seekonk High, he joined 'The Verdandi Male Choir for Swedish Singers' with whom he traveled the country singing in concerts.  After high school, he was accepted at SMU (now UMASS Dartmouth), and graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and with a minor in Sociology.  After graduation, he wrote for a computer magazine and designed computer games.  Besides writing, he now plays various instruments, including the guitar and drums, while continuing to sing and write music. Other interests include any and all kinds of science and physics, reading, listening to music, and electric trains.

A. R. Costa was born in Milan, Italy, just before the Second World War, and was raised in Pontecorvo, Italy, in the Province of Frosinone.  She obtained a teaching degree from 'The Fancy School in Town' when she was twenty, and soon after she was married in The San Bartholomew Cathedral, right across from her house.  Since her mother was born in Fall River, Ma, and always talked about her life in America, Alessandra decided to 'come home' to the USA, and her entire family came with her and her husband.  Now the author and her two children, her brother, sister, their children and grandchildren are all spread out very close to their roots, in and around Fall River, Massachusetts, in the Good, Old U.S. of A.  Her parents, Nonno and Nonna, lie peacefully next to each other, near their family and together forever.

Their latest book is the young adult novel, Luna Marina and the McMachina.
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About the Book:

Fourteen-year-old Luna Marina Blue has the temper and disposition of a sailor (with the language and the manners to match)!

She's mad at everyone and everything around her, but what has her maddest of all is that it's the first day of school and summer vacation is over. Poor Little Luna has had it with all her shallow friends and the stupid grown-ups who make demands and refuse to listen to her. When one of her classmates
desperately wants to be in Old Italy during the 1950's, and experience all that for herself.

Luna imagines how she would wow and impress all the poor 'backward' farm people with her beauty, modern look and 'new-age' style; she  would be a little queen and the star of everyone's attention, she just knew it! Later that day, after getting suspended from school and punished at home, Luna gets the chance to have her wish come true. Mad at everyone and convinced that no one cared for her or would even notice if she went missing, Luna accepts the offer, thus  beginning her own Grand Odyssey.

Going back in time to the farming community in and around the Italian town of Pontecorvo during the 1950's, Luna Marina Blue embarks on a journey of personal discovery and realizes that the so-called 'backward' farm people are just as educated, intelligent, and capable as she is (if not more so). She also learns some valuable life lessons and family secrets along the way.

Homesick and desperate to get back to her original family, whom she spurned so easily before, yet learning to love an entirely new family in Old Italy, Luna is torn between her old life in modern times, and the new one she found in the 1950’s.

Luna Marina Blue has a choice to make, one which will echo throughout her entire life and beyond ...Will she stay? Will she go back? What a conundrum!

Teens from fourteen to ninety-four will enjoy taking this journey with Luna, watching her grow from an immature child to a thoughtful and  intelligent young woman, all the while sharing the exciting adventures and wonderful surprises that lie ahead ...

This is a wholesome, feel-good and heartwarming tale that the entire family can enjoy together! Not only will teens and preteens love this story, but adults will as well.
recounts her 'wonderful'  summer vacation on an Italian farm, an idyllic place right out of the 1950's, where she told of hayrides, dances, parties and stolen kisses, Luna starts daydreaming about going back in time. She

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
Alessandra: My son and I were watching Star Trek TNG, an episode titled The Inner Light; the episode was about a race that had been extinct for a thousand years.  Before their planet died, this race send out a probe which, after a thousand years of lonely travel, found the Starship Enterprise and Captain Picard.  In a few minutes, it instilled, in the Captain's mind, a life lived with the extinct race on their doomed planet.  At the end there was a message, this race did not want their life, hopes, dreams and accomplishments to be lost in the mists of time; they did not want to be forgotten.  They wanted someone to acknowledge their existence and to tell others about it.  I said, offhandedly:  " I wish I had a probe like that, as I don't want my life in the 1950s in Italy to be forgotten!"  My son, Gino, replied:  "You have a probe!  Write a book, I'll help you!"  At first I laughed, writing a book seemed an insurmountable thing to me, but pushed by Gino, I decided to try.  Since no one would be interested in the boring memories of a little Italian old lady, we decided to make it the fictional story of a young girl who travels back in time from her home town, Braintree maybe, near Boston, to a small town, Pontecorvo, in the south of Italy in the 1950's.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Alessandra: We knew nothing about writing a book and it was hard at the beginning, our writing was chaotic and uncoordinated. We had to develop a method, regular hours to work and a lot of discipline.  I had to stare my mother down when she was watching TV, or, even worse, when she was reading one of her romance novels, until she felt guilty and started to write.  Also we had to learn the good formatting, punctuation, and writing style for a novel of this size.  Finally we started working together and learned how to integrate our writing. My mother and I stopped arguing endlessly about everything and the writing started happening at a good pace.  At this point the characters kind of took over and started writing their own story.  I always heard about that and I never believed that it could happen, but Luna and all the others proved me wrong; they took over and told us what to do.  Also most of the characters in the book are based upon real people who existed in my mother's hometown in 1950's Italy.  The best advice I can give any new writer is to carry a small notebook at all times and to write down any and all thoughts and ideas that pop up in their mind.  Ideas are fleeting and inspiration is a lot like opportunity; most of the times it only knocks once.
New ideas are easily forgotten unless recorded, and the most original stories can come to you without warning.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Gino: As my mother was 72 at the time we finished the book, we realized we did not have too much time to waste going the traditional route to publish our work, so we self-published.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
Alessandra & Gino: No, there isn't, as we published our book ourselves, but it was a thrill just the same.  Holding in your hand your book gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride.  That small item contains the treasure trove that came out of your imagination, the compendium of your work and the sum of your desires; everything in your book contains a world you created and lived in while writing.  Anyone who reads your books will know your heart of hearts, and even though it's scary because it makes you vulnerable, it's also excruciatingly gratifying because you will dwell in the reader's mind while they live in your world.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Alessandra: We are working now on a small children's book which we would like to submit to the Newbery medal award.  After that is done, we will start on  the next installment of the Luna Marina book; there will be at least 3 books in  the series. We do not exactly know when they will be done.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Alessandra: My favorite places to hang out include cooking sites, various news sites, and book review sites. I also keep up with my email and frequently use skype.
Gino: Favorite places I go to online include various music sites and science and technology sites. Further, since I'm also on facebook and twitter, I get up-to-date news on all kinds of subjects, which help me in my writing, among other things.

I also frequent and book review sites.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
Alessandra & Gino: Our message is to let people remember the values of times gone by; love, tolerance, understanding, indulgence, compassion and communication.  Our message is also the other side of the coin, about duty and responsibility and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Also we would like everyone to remember to have courage, and the power that courage can give you in the face of adversity.  Always show children the right way by example, with kindness, and not by force or coercion.                  

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?
Alessandra & Gino: This is one of those rare books that is completely family-friendly, wholesome for all ages, yet entertaining for everyone, young or old.

As such, this would be especially wonderful not only for use in the classroom, but also for Family Reading Nights, which we used to do when I was a kid, and is so rare nowadays. We could imagine grandparents, parents, and children all gathering together to enjoy Little Luna's adventures as a family, and at the same time learning from each other.

We just wanted to thank you all for interviewing us, and to thank our readers for enjoying the fruits of our labors.

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