Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What a "Novel" Idea

In 2004, I planned a “Presidential Problem Solving Project” with my Honors US Foreign and Domestic Policy Class (the curriculum I revised/wrote) where the students formed groups and came up with solutions for various problems in US Domestic and Foreign Policy. (e.g. homicide bombings on American soil, rising oil prices due to fall of the Saudi Royal Family, etc.) I wrote a scenario for each problem and the students did a great job with the analysis and solutions! Later that week, I received an email from one of my favorite student parents ever where she stated “I am so impressed with the background and how you came up with all of this. Either you have a source high up or you have a creative mind. Either way, you should write a book someday.” At that point, I said to myself, “Yeah, right!”

Well, six years later, I did it! About this time last year, having had more life experience under my belt and fully confident in my abilities to carry a story, I began the planning process. By August of 2009, I was ready to write and after eight months of intensive writing, editing, research and the use of various sources during my spare time, I finished the manuscript for The Calling to Lead.

The Calling to Lead tells the story of Michael Buonocore, a native New Jerseyan who, in his younger years, was made well prepared to lead by his parents; those skills having been reinforced by his undergraduate years at Drew University. After completing his BA, he planned a path he would take in life, yet on September 11, 2001, everything changed. It was those leadership skills which brought Michael to discover his calling to lead; dedicating his life, in his roles as an educator and pundit/news analysis host, in teaching Americans to discover the importance of being Americans, as well as responsibilities, as individuals and citizens, they should proudly and honorably carry on their shoulders to protect, defend and preserve the nation. That calling to lead, along with the help of a good friend and support from family, eventually inspired him to run for governor of New Jersey and unseat the incumbent. Into his second term, Michael again was affected by terrorism, and saw a greater responsibility to lead not just his state, but his country. Facing the biggest challenge of his life, running against a well-funded, incumbent president not averse to using dirty tricks, Michael travels the country in his campaign, articulating how protecting, defending and preserving the nation will lead to its prosperity and progress and how he was the man to see it through.

Some of my life experiences, political beliefs and qualities I believe are important to possess all had an impact on the novel, along with friends and relatives who inspired characters in The Calling to Lead. For someone who gained an appreciation of and passion for writing with age, I am very excited about the prospect of others reading the novel, and eventually following up The Calling to Lead, continuing to tell the story of Michael Buonocore and the impact his leadership skills have on his political career.

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