Meet Debut Author George DiGuido

Brooklyn-born George DiGuido, a history buff and self-professed romantic, attributes his interest in and love of Saharan culture to his WWII service in Morocco and West Africa. Prior to that, the only sand he saw was the beach at Coney Island. Subsequent treks to Morocco and Tunisia strengthened his love of things African and inspired the writing of his historical romance The Tuareg.

Postwar, Mr. DiGuido enjoyed a long and successful career in New York, Detroit and Chicago advertising agencies. His expertise as an art director for print and television advertising on Chevrolet, Butterball Turkey, Coca-Cola and Chrysler Motors charges his novel’s every scene with a highly cinematic quality.

The author lives in a Chicago suburb with his wife, two adopted daughters from Poland and his overly affectionate Wheaten terrier.

Join me as we learn about more about Mr. DiGuido and his journey to publication.

.

George DiGuido

Photo taken in Marrakech, Morocco in 2001.

.

.

Mr. DiGuido’s Journey Begins

.

•Since you self-published three titles before landing the contract with Vivisphere Publishing for your debut mainstream novel, I gather you’ve been writing for some time. When did you begin working on The Tuareg, and how long had the idea been germinating prior to that?

I began writing The Tuareg in 1980. And during my long career as an advertising art director, I always thought I could write better conceptual themes and/or headlines for advertisements than those submitted by copywriters and approved by the clients. In 1980 my wife and I began writing a romance novel together. I soon found I could not write with another person, even if she was my loving wife. So I started writing The Tuareg. Alone! There had been no germinating period.

.

The Tuareg is a romantic historical adventure played against a background of the early 19th century African Slave Trade (1828-1830). It’s evident from your glowing reviews and the lengthy bibliography page on your Web site that you performed extensive research. How many hours, weeks or months did you devote to your study, and what were your primary resources?

I had two primary sources. First: My extensive collection of books that I owned, many of them with history as their subject. And second: Public libraries containing books I did not have; particularly those in the “Africana Collection” at Northwestern University. I estimate that I spent half a year reading from these books and making notes which I then filed on index cards.

.

The Tuareg takes place in a variety of locations, including some readers may have encountered in stories before: Virginia, London and Paris. However, you transport your audience to locales foreign to many: Gibraltar, Timbuctoo, the Turkish kasba at Algiers, an African slave king’s village and the Sahara Desert camp of the Tuaregs. How were you able to bring these exotic locales to life with such vivid detail? Have you visited some or all of them on your travels?

I had been to Virginia, London, and Paris. Regarding the more exotic locations, I was stationed during WW2 in Morocco and in West Africa. Postwar, I visited Morocco and Tunisia several times. But the catalyst for bringing all this together into a novel is my creative imagination. Which is strong and vivid, and during my long advertising career was instrumental in gaining me recognition for ads I created, both print and television. Presumably, I inherited my creative mind from my Italian ancestors who were poets, painters, writers, and lovers. As Charlie Brown of Peanuts fame has often said: “I never even got to fill out an application.”

.

•I’m sure you anticipated this question, but I have to ask. What is a Tuareg?

A Tuareg is not an Arab. He is a member of the Tuareg peoples, a branch of the Berber people in North Africa. However, as a result of so much miscegenation among these peoples, including the Moors, it is sometimes difficult to categorically determine one’s religious and/or cultural background.

Yes, Tuaregs are Muslims, but in their adherence to the Prophet Mohammed’s teachings, nowhere near as orthodox as Arabs.

.

.

Mr. DiGuido’s Milestone Moments

.

•After navigating the waters of the publishing world solo for some time, Vivisphere Publishing offered you a contract for The Tuareg. Please share with us how this came about and how you reacted to the exciting news.

My wife, who works for Special Olympics, knew two editors who worked for the literary agent, Nancy Rosenfeld. My wife told them I had written a novel and asked if they would like to read it. They did. They liked it. They told Nancy Rosenfeld. She read it. She liked it and called me “out of the blue” one day and said she wanted to represent me. I said yes. Shortly she called and said that Vivisphere would publish the book. Was I happy? Of course! What’s not to like?

.

The Tuareg was released in June, and you celebrated with a Publication Party, one particularly suited to your unique story. What made it so special?

My wife, who is a great producer, took on the whole show. She put on an extravaganza publication party with a Moroccan theme. Had a Moroccan chef prepare North African food. Hired tents, table, chairs, decorations etc, etc. Invited perhaps 90 or so guests – about 70 showed up. Gave books GRATIS to all attendees with the stipulation that if they liked it they would then spread the word so their friends and relatives could BUY the book. At the party created by my wife a great time was had by all. I owe her one.

.

•Your book hit the shelves, and the great reviews began. Which reader comments have meant the most to you?

Actually they all mean a lot, but the one from my California friend, a professor with a long list of PHd’s etc, wrote the most astute and literary review. I particularly appreciated his mention that — embedded in this Romance novel, the author (me) “spoon feeds” the reader bits of history. True, not too many people are history buffs, but along with the adventure and romance they get in my novel they also get a chance to learn a bit of interesting history. “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,” as Julie Andrews once famously sang.

.

.

Mr. DiGuido’s Partners

.

•One person may write a novel, but any author knows a number of individuals help make the story what it is. Who are some of the people who’ve assisted, supported and encouraged you in your writing adventure?

My wife, of course. She, being an alumni of Northwestern University, had access to their library. Otherwise I would never have been able to get in and take advantage of their book collection.

The other person was a French-born woman friend of ours who helped in all things francais, in addition to helping type and correlate the many notes I’d made during my “research period.”

.

•You have a supportive team behind you at Vivisphere. Their marketing department made the initial contact regarding your interview, which impressed me. What have been the biggest advantages to having a proactive publishing house promoting you and your novel?

They distributed advance reader copies (which garnered reviews), and were able to promote my novel in places I never could get to, and contact people in the publishing business whom I did not know.

.

.

Mr. DiGuido’s Debut Novel

.

•Please tell us about The Tuareg: Blue Man of the Desert.

The TuaregThe Tuareg character I envisioned is a combination of many people that I know and have known, including Moulay Mouha, my great Berber friend from Marrakech, Morocco. The Tuareg is basically a romantic (like me), but of course a little rough around the edges – he is after all, a desert warrior from a long line of them. But he is noble, compassionate and in love with this (strange to him) Western woman, Fleur Caldwell.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Mr. DiGuido’s Journey Continues

.

•The Tuareg is in the hands of readers now. What can they look forward to next?

I am now writing another romance adventure historical novel; this one set in the early 1800s with a background of the Turkish Muslim corsair action against western commercial shipping. (Basically, corsairs were pirates.) In those days the young United States was forced to pay tribute money as protection against these ravaging corsair raids. My hero is an American seaman who fights the corsairs, and who gets “involved” with two attractive English sisters who live with their Ambassador father in Palermo, Sicily. Great stuff!

.

.

Five Fun Facts About Mr. DiGuido, the Person

.

~ I love to write. Name a subject. I have an opinion on it. Usually a strong one.

~ I love Music: Not the stuff kids listen to today, which is all about noise and lights and smoke and beat, and I can’t understand the words. At my age I go for the romantic ballads of Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and the Big Band era of the 30s and 40s. My great love, however, is Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and all those other classical guys. Opera too!

~ I wish I had become an architect. I love contemporary houses; their open spaces and big glass walls that let in lots of daylight.

~ I love to travel. Love new places, customs, cultures. Have been on all the continents of the world; but not Australia.

~ I love to read. Mostly biographies and histories. I have a crying need to know how we all got to where we are today. History tells us.

.

.

Five Fun Facts About Mr. DiGuido, the Writer

.

~ I love words: My father used to tell me that when I was a little kid (before I learned to read) I’d walk along the street w/him and try to pronounce the words on signs.

~ l love limericks. Wrote this one when “streaking” was the craze:

A lovely young streaker was tryin’

To streak from Chicago to Zion

A young man in a Ford yelled, “Welcome aboard –

I’m goin’ to Zion.”

But was lyin’

~ I wrote a book of alliteration – where each small story began with the same letter. I used all 26 letters of the alphabet. “X” and “Z” were the tough ones.

~  Self-published a memoir about growing up in Brooklyn NY in the 20s, 30s, 40s — times much more fun than those we’re all living through today.

~ Self-published a memoir about the greatest adventure in my life: My three plus years in the Air Force during WW2. Since no Nazi or Jap ever shot at me, my years in Africa and Italy were wonderful. All that free traveling with my Uncle Sam paying for it.

.

.

Mr. DiGuido’s Question for You

.

•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Mr. DiGuido. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so have at it.

As a writer of novels with Romance and History as important ingredients, I know that all readers love Romance (what’s not to like about Love?) but I ask why most people don’t care a fig for History? What is so difficult about learning what went on in the world before we got here, and shaped us into the way we are today?

.

.

Learn More About Mr. DiGuido and The Tuareg

Visit his Web site ~ www.thetuareg.com

.

.

Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win

To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.

.

My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place November 10th. I’m giving away a copy of Amazing Grace, the DVD starring Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by November 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On November 11th, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

.

You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and November 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On December 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

.

Note: Offers void where prohibited.

Prizes will be mailed to US addresses only.

Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Advertisements

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in author interview, first sale story, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Meet Debut Author George DiGuido

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Mr. DiGuido. It’s great to have you as my guest and learn about your debut novel.

    Like you, I write inspirational historical romances and care deeply about history. I strive to bring historical accuracy to my stories and yet create characters modern readers care about in spite of the different cultures in which the characters lived and values they held, a task that can be challenging at times. With the current popularity of historicals, I’d say many readers enjoy history as much as we do.

  2. Uninvoked says:

    I love history. I hate the way history is presented in text books and in school. In America, everything is all about the history of the US. According to what feels like every history class I sign up for, the world did not begin until 1776. I’m bored of US history.

    Things got interesting in my world history class, especially when I got into so many creative arguments with the teacher. (I now realize this was just a sneaky way to get me to do more homework for free. >_>)

    I still read up on history voluntarily, but again not from textbooks. My latest deep research was in trying to figure out the possible father of the Darley Arabian.

    As for Romance, I love it too…but I’m bored of the formula typically accepted by the romance genre. Bleh.

  3. Linda Henderson says:

    When I was in school and had to study it I hated history. I think part of the reason was my teacher was strictly one of those memorize the dates type of teachers. You know, what happened April 2 1928. Dates are not my thing, I enjoy reading the stories behind the history. Since I’ve gotten older I’ve developed an interest in the Revolutionary War & Civil War and I have a few books on this subject. I don’t know much about international history and I would love to change that.

  4. Lin Floyd says:

    Enjoyed reading more about Terri and her journey of writing. Interesting how important positive critiques and encouragement are. Go Terri! Enter me in your contest. Thanks, Lin in Utah

  5. I love history. You learn so much from history. The nice thing about learning from history, some one once said, is that we recognize the misstakes when we make them again. Unfortuately nation leaders never learn from history

Comments are closed.