Don Marinelli has served as a professor of drama, arts management, and entertainment technology at a host of colleges and universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Columbia University, Arizona State, Florida Southern College, and others. He resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and Hialeah, Florida, horse racing has impacted my life in multiple ways, both good and bad. I had the idea of a protagonist featuring combined attributes of my late father, my younger brother, and me, returning to his childhood home in Hialeah, Florida, to deal with unresolved childhood and adolescent issues. In that the idea had been germinating for decades, the words flowed forth like a broken dam. I also personally enjoyed the recounting of times past and reimagining what could have been. Not only was the effort creative, it was extremely therapeutic. I’d have to say the creative journey did indeed resolve and admonish those lingering demons.
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
The creativity of the Atmosphere book cover artists was exemplary. Every step of engagement proved enlightening. Their receptivity to my suggestions and mine to theirs was quintessential teamwork. The final cover captured the book’s theme expertly.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
While the initial motivation was highly personal, very much a purging of regrets, I also wanted to make a contribution to one of my favorite literary genres, namely, South Florida fiction. I stand in awe of writers like Randy Wayne White, Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, and the late, great John D. MacDonald. Making my contribution to that genre was a lifelong goal of mine—now accomplished.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I’ve been an academic my entire life. Interspersed during those decades, however, were six years spent in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as an education specialist. I devour all things related to military history. I am also a devoted baseball fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
The most rewarding part of publishing my book was sharing my story with the world in hopes those reading it might be motivated to reconcile troublesome memories and a problematic past.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
Definitely various aspects of Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice soundtrack. That TV series remains deeply embedded in my memory. I tell people I always thought of Miami Vice as a documentary because its settings and stories reflected the South Florida milieu of my adolescence and young adulthood.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
I would hope readers of Running at Hialeah would realize that accepting and reconciling a troubled past can actually be facilitated lovingly through humor.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I am currently ghostwriting a book of spiritual revelations by a dear late friend of mine. Additionally, I am translating into English two plays written by F.T. Marinetti, founder of Italian Futurism. Marinetti was the subject of my doctoral dissertation. After I complete these, I will start working on a science fiction novel.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
Atmosphere Press is pure professionalism and creativity. Writers helping writers. The entire experience was pure joy.