THE ROAD TO DELANO: AUTHOR Q&A with John deSimone & Win $50 Amazon Gift Card! @jrdesimone #blogtour


Today's guest is historical fiction author John DeSimone. His book is The Road to Delano and he is on a virtual book tour this month with Pump Up Your Book! We're very glad to have him here today to talk about his new book! 


Thanks for this interview, John.  Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I had never published a historical novel, but I have always loved history. Yes, it was rocky. I had 40 some rejections before Rare Bird took the project. It’s a breakthrough book for me now. It took me five years to write and rewrite. I probably rewrote it three to five times in places. Then had to trim it down. It was a lot of work.

If you were to pen your own autobiography, what might the title be?

Persistence Wins the Day

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

Read. Exercise. Eat out in interesting restaurants.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

The combination of history that isn’t centered on a love affair. But on a friendship, and the moral strength it takes to be heroic.

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?


Sugar Duncan was known around Lamoille County as  a gambler who could farm, but Sugar called himself a farmer who understood a sure bet. He grew up a plowboy on a hardscrabble patch of Vermont hill country and had calluses before he knew he had brains. It was in the seventh grade, in Pete Colburn’s barn, waiting out a driving rain that he found his power. While playing seven-card stud he could see the patterns, he understood the odds. He lived by the bluff, and he lived well as far as a child of the Depression could.

Before he reached high school, they were calling him Sugar because he was sweet about taking their money.

While his college buddies baled hay and slopped pigs to pay their way through Ag school at Vermont U, Sugar found it more profitable to relieve the hooligans and rumrunners of their easy fortunes at the card table above Markham’s Grill over in Providence. After four years of playing cards and a new degree, he left town to farm where the land hadn’t been wiped clean of its strength.

Sugar rode west to California’s Central Valley in a Pullman with a new pair of tan and white brogues stuffed with cash packed in the bottom of his steamer. FDR had just signed the Cullen-Harrison Act ending Prohibition, and a fifth of whiskey was now as cheap as an acre of California farmland. He hadn’t any choice. Returning to Vermont would mean he’d starve. With gasoline a luxury, his father had resorted to using mules to plow his hundred acres. Milk and corn prices had fallen so sharply, a farmer could live better by killing his cows than by selling their milk. California was the place he could make a living. And he intended to make that living as a farmer— eventually.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Easter. Spring is the time of renewal and rebirth. The resurrection of Christ. Cesar Chavez fasted for nonviolence and broke his 25 day fast on March 10, 1968. My book will be launched on March 10, 2020. Auspicious.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I would like to see it and its sequel turned into a TV series.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

Always. It caused real problems in my jobs because in my mind they were always temporary on my way to what I want to be doing.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

This book received over 40 rejections.

What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?

After I left the corporate world, I took up ghostwriting as a way of making a living while I wrote novels. So yes, I have co-authored over a dozen self help and memoirs.

What’s next for you?

The sequel to Road to Delano. Continue the story of Jack and his crew as they deal with the upheaval in their lives and work.


Meet the Author

John DeSimone is a published writer, novelist, and teacher. He’s been an adjunct professor and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. His recent co-authored books include Broken Circle: A Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan (Little A Publishers), and Courage to Say No by Dr. Raana Mahmood, about her struggles against sexual exploitation as a female physician in Karachi. His published novel Leonardo’s Chair published in 2005.

In 2012, he won a prestigious Norman Mailer Fellowship to complete his most recent historical novel, Road to Delano. His novels Leonardo’s Chair and No Ordinary Man have received critical recognition.

He works with select clients to write stories of inspiration and determination and with those who have a vital message to bring to the marketplace of ideas in well-written books.

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Inside the Book

Author: John DeSimone
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction

Jack Duncan is a high school senior whose dream is to play baseball in college and beyond―as far away from Delano as possible. He longs to escape the political turmoil surrounding the labor struggles of the striking fieldworkers that infests his small ag town. Ever since his father, a grape grower, died under suspicious circumstances ten years earlier, he’s had to be the sole emotional support of his mother, who has kept secrets from him about his father’s involvement in the ongoing labor strife.

With their property on the verge of a tax sale, Jack drives an old combine into town to sell it so he and his mother don’t become homeless. On the road, an old friend of his father’s shows up and hands him the police report indicating Jack’s father was murdered. Jack is compelled to dig deep to discover the entire truth, which throws him into the heart of the corruption endemic in the Central Valley. Everything he has dreamed of is at stake if he can’t control his impulse for revenge.

While Jack’s girlfriend, the intelligent and articulate Ella, warns him not to so anything to jeopardize their plans of moving to L.A., after graduation, Jack turns to his best friend, Adrian, a star player on the team, to help to save his mother’s land. When Jack’s efforts to rescue a stolen piece of farm equipment leaves Adrian―the son of a boycotting fieldworker who works closely with Cesar Chavez―in a catastrophic situation, Jack must bail his friend out of his dilemma before it ruins his future prospects. Jack uses his wits, his acumen at card playing, and his boldness to raise the money to spring his friend, who has been transformed by his jail experience.

The Road to Delano is the path Jack, Ella, and Adrian must take to find their strength, their duty, their destiny.



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