What was the inspiration behind The Color of Home?
The Color of Home is the first of three books I’m writing about different kinds of love. The Big Wide Calm was just published in July 2014, and The Beauty of the Fall will be out in 2015. I had the story for The Color of Home in my head for a long time. Basically, I wanted to write down everything I believed about what it would mean to be in a long term healthy relationship. In the story, Nick and Sassa go through a lot as the story unfolds, but in the end ( and I won’t tell you if they end-up together or not), they’ve both grown to the point where they know who they are, what they believe, and what it means to truly and deeply love.Which character spoke to you the most?
I love all of my characters equally. With that said, The Color of Home is really Nick and Sassa’s story, so I guess those two spoke to me the most.What is one of your favorite scenes?
I like the scene where Rachel is first introduced into the story. She was a fun character to write. Honest. Direct. Loves Music. Loves tantric sex. There may be a whole novel about her down the road.Will we ever see these characters again?
Except for Rachel, probably not. At one point, I thought writing more about the main characters, but when I finished the book it was clear to me that the story of Nick and Sassa had ended.On what other projects are you currently working?
As I mentioned earlier, The Big Wide Calm just came out, and The Beauty of the Fall will be out next year. I plan to write for the rest of my life, and I figure I have a good ten novels in me. Once I finish the trilogy on love, I’ll pick my next project. In general, I like writing literary fiction where I can explore the emotional, psychological, and philosophical aspects of my characters. And I like stories where the characters, while under significant pressure, are tested in each of those dimensions.You write in a variety of ways: books, songs, poetry. What does each mean to you?
They are all inter-related. I started off as a songwriter many years ago, and music fills my first two novels. But I’ve also written and published a lot of poetry, which it turns out, is a key component in my novels. In The Color of Home, I would sometimes spend an hour or two on a paragraph just to make sure that it sounded poetic enough. In finding my voice as a writer, all three have played a big role.When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Back in college, my English professor told me he would teach me to write novels if I changed my major from Engineering to English. I was broke at the time, so I stayed in engineering, but I knew then that I would eventually return to writing.From where do you get your best ideas?
From dreams. I tend to write early in the morning each day, so in a way, writing is just continuation of dreaming from the night before. I find that my best ideas come from that dream-like place where, once I have the voice of a character, I can imagine what he or she might do under a wide range of circumstances.What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Write the first pass quickly, then rewrite until you are sensuously transported into the scene.I see that Pearl Jam is one of your favorite bands. They are my all-time favorite band, touching my life in every way. How does your love of music impact your life?
Pearl Jam is a great band. There’s something timeless about their music which is a characteristic all great bands seem to have. I love music and it’s a big part of my life each day. I have a recording studio in my house where I write many of my songs. I am constantly listening to new bands. At my house. When I’m driving. Live. Wherever, really. I can’t imagine a life that wasn’t filled with music. It’s been an incredible gift for me, and transformative in so many ways.When not writing, what can you be found doing?
Playing and listening to music. Reading. Working out. Theatre. Ballet. Hanging out in Harvard square. Drinking much too espresso. Watching New England sports. Walking my dog, Shaman.Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you, and for the great questions.Thank you so much for your time!
Find out more about The Big Wide Calm here.
If Rich Marcello could choose only one creative mentor, he'd give the role to Jonathan Richmond and the Modern Lovers. This is not only because he currently resides in New England, where Jonathan started, but because of his life as a contemporary fiction author, poet and songwriter, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs he's written. Rich grew up in New Jersey surrounded by song and word.
For a while it seemed right to travel the musician's path, especially during his stint in his college folk group, at The University of Notre Dame, where he wrote and recorded his first original songs. But, as is true for many musicians, graduation led him down a different road, one on which he found his love for high technology. There, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.
During his time in technology he never stopped creating art, and eventually his love for song and the written word grew to the point where he walked away from his first career to pursue poetry, song, and fiction with the same enthusiasm and discipline he demonstrated in business. In The Color Of Home, his literary voice melds all three together with honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.”
He’s currently working on his third novel, The Beauty of the Fall.