A Separate Heaven
by Alex Disanti
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Step into a world of riveting drama. Enter A Separate Heaven, a story comprised of power, wealth, and romance, multifaceted characters, and complex relationships. A novel by Alex Disanti. From Long Island to the shores of the Mediterranean, this exciting series spanning twenty five years in the lives of the Gianelli and Hamilton families will hold you spellbound.
from Book Two
They had been back on Long Island only a week when the earth quaked, shattering their peaceful existence. It began slowly, a tiny crack on the surface, but before it was over, it opened into a chasm of such upheaval, such misery and strife; it threatened to swallow them and rob them of everything.
It started innocently enough, on a Sunday morning as Dominic showered while Paige cooked breakfast. After pouring herself a second cup of coffee, she opened the Times. There, staring up at her from the front page were the faces of the two men, the ones who had confronted her in Salerno. She recognized them immediately.
In bold letters, the headlines proclaimed: “Bodies Identified as Missing Federal Agents.” It was like being slammed in the chest with a bat. Paige could hardly breathe and she began to shake violently.
* * * *
This was how Dominic found her. “Paige! What is it? What’s wrong?”
She gasped, “Them!”
“Who, Paige? Where?”
She pointed toward the paper on the counter. “Them!”
As he rummaged through a drawer, searching for an inhaler, he glanced at the pictures and read the headlines, but he didn’t understand. “What about them?”
He located an inhaler and held it to her mouth. “Breathe! Come on, Paige, a deep breath in! Now! Again!”
He took her to the den and sat her on the sofa, wrapped a throw around her. He knelt in front of her. “Paige, please, tell me what’s wrong!”
“Salerno. L’Allegreto. It’s them.”
“The ones in the paper?” She had to be mistaken, he thought. Why would U.S. agents have accosted his wife, threatened her?
“Yes, it’s them, Dom. It is!!”
“But Paige, those men were federal agents.” His mind was racing.
“I don’t care. It was them!” She was crying now. “And they were liars! They were horrible, evil men and I’m glad they’re dead!”
It is my pleasure to welcome Alex Disanti, author of A Separate Heaven, to Room with Books!
Thank you so much for having me and for hosting A Separate Heaven. It is my pleasure to be here!
Please tell us about yourself, Alex.
I’m a lifelong Texan. Favorite things include writing (of course!), stargazing, music by Zack Brown, Willie, and the Avett Brothers, novels with a lot of page-turning drama, hanging out with friends and family.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I don’t think I ever “aspired” to be an author in the sense that from childhood on I thought “Oh, I want to be a writer!” But I always loved words. I learned to read at the age of four – from a newspaper, the Dallas Morning News to be exact. My father wasn’t fond of children’s books. He showed me how to look up words in the dictionary. From that point on I was an avid reader and always on a quest for the meaning of a new word.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
I began writing poems and short stories at the age of nine. A pen, paper and my imagination provided my favorite pastime. Until the series I wrote short stories that would play well on the Hallmark network. A Separate Heaven took another direction. The short stories I wrote involved little or no research. Certain aspects of A Separate Heaven involved a lot of research. For instance, I have never been to Italy and the Amalfi Coast is a principal location in the books.
If I may take an extra minute or two here, I would like to share the story of how I found the artist who provides the covers for my books. It still inspires and motivates me because it is a perfect example of “meant to be” even if you don’t normally believe in signs.
I had told my daughter that for the cover of the first book I wanted a picture of a sunrise or sunset over water. She found two photos by David Humphries. His name was all I knew. It took a while but I did locate him. There are a lot of David Humphries in the world. My David turned out to be an artist who lives in Yorkshire, England. Several weeks after contacting him and gaining permission to use his photos I received a message from him. He told me the photos were taken off the coast of Italy when he and his wife were guests on a friend’s yacht. If that wasn’t enough of a coincidence, a week later I received word that his wife had located pictures of that particular vacation and the name of the boat was Heavenly Daze.
When life interferes with my plans and the road gets bumpy, this story reminds me to smile and enjoy every mile of this journey. What are the odds that I would find an artist thousands of miles away and the story would unfold as it did? Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.
Do you have a job in addition to writing and would you tell us more about it?
Currently, writing is my full-time occupation, but I have worked as a histologist doing tissues and slides for pathologists, and in quality assurance writing procedures and specifications for an engineering and construction firm that built gas plants and specialized in cryogenic processes. I was also a welding inspector.
How would you summarize this book in less than 20 words?
A Separate Heaven…where love is found, lives are changed, loyalties are tested, and forgiveness isn’t always an option.
Now, let’s talk about writing and how you came to be a published author.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
After I began writing A Separate Heaven.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
What can we expect from you in the future? More of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Well, A Separate Heaven, which initially I thought would be one book has become a series of seven books. I am currently working on book five.
My ultimate goal for A Separate Heaven (beyond being a best seller of course!) is a television series.. I have a collection of short stories I want to publish. It will be titled Seasons of the Soul. Beyond that I have plans for two novels…one about a Texas family, the other about a middle aged blue collar worker who makes some midlife changes when his wife leaves him.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why are they your favorite?
Dominic Gianelli is my favorite character in the series. His inner strength, his power and his ability to make his own justice appeal to me. And that he is sexy without being a “pretty boy”.
What is your routine for writing?
I don’t know that I have a routine. I carry chapters in my head and when I have the details worked out, I write. I never outline. I write (mentally) while doing other things. I admit to some OCD. I like order. My favorite times to create are when I am driving or walking.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Title comes last for me. For A Separate Heaven, I didn’t change titles or use a subtitle even though there are seven books. A Separate Heaven simply best describes the life of Dominic and Paige, the main characters. There is a scene in book one where Dominic uses the term.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
I do play on the fact that good people sometimes do bad things for good reasons. That sometimes people whose lives appear idyllic are anything but that. Also that there are those with authority over others who should hold themselves and be held to a higher standard, but instead make it a practice to manipulate and abuse.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Paperback, hardback, and then eBook.
What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite? How many times would you estimate you’ve read it?
I have at least 100 favorites but, to narrow it down… I have read Out of Africa at least ten times. I would love to have known Karen Blixen. I find her quite brave and fearless.
The Godfather, The Horse Whisperer, To Kill a Mockingbird and Davita’s Harp I have read an equal number of times. I am a “mob groupie” so The Godfather is perfect escapism to me.
Do you read all the reviews of your books?
That’s enough of the serious business. How about a handful of fun questions?
What is your favorite food? Steak, medium rare.
Who is your favorite singer or group? The Avett Brothers.
What is your favorite color? Black.
What is your ideal getaway dream vacation? Italy.
What final words would you offer to our readers?
First of all, a big thank you for being here at Room with Books with me and for allowing me to tell you a little about myself and my series, A Separate Heaven.
Too, I would like to say that whether it is success in writing or something else that is your goal, perseverance and a passionate belief in yourself will be your best friends. I believe there is no substitute for dogged determination. May your star shine brightly! Thank you again!
Thank you for spending time here at Room with Books. I appreciate your time and wish you the best with your series. I hope you will come back again!
Alex Disanti lives in the Texas Hill Country. While writing has been a lifelong love for her, A Separate Heaven is her first novel. Early works were mainly poetry and short stories. As A Separate Heaven progressed from thought to paper, friends and family began reading the manuscript. Then, in an effort to test the marketability of the material, she enlisted the aid of what she calls her “test readers.” These readers vary in age, occupation and background. It simply grew from there. Alex’s rich detail brought the characters to life, and the ensuing chapters could not come quickly enough for her readers.
Alex Disanti will be awarding a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.