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Author launches first novel with Nov. 2 book signing

Date: 10/26/2011

Oct. 26, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

FEEDING HILLS — Donald Calvanese said he was watching a movie with his young daughter when the inspiration for his latest work struck.

“I though, ‘Gee I’d really like to write my own story,’” Calvanese said.

Already a published songwriter, he turned his talent to a new form of storytelling, fantasy fiction.

Two years after that first rush of inspiration, Calvanese will launch the first book in his fantasy adventure trilogy, “Carcium — The Conflict Begins,” with a reception and book-signing on Nov. 2 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Carriage House at Storrowton Tavern, on the grounds of the Big E in West Springfield. The event, which is also a fund-raiser for the library at St. Mary’s School in Longmeadow, is open to the public, but RSVPs are requested. Interested individuals are asked to email their intention to attend to

“I’d like to have anyone there who is interested in fantasy and writing,” Calvanese told Reminder Publications, adding that he’s met and talked with “quite a few young people who are interested in writing,” recently, including his 10-year-old nephew, who is following in Calvanese’s footsteps and writing his own book.

Calvanese said he drew on myriad sources, including the game Dungeons and Dragons, the Walt Disney film “Beauty and the Beast,” and the movie “Excalibur” when creating the Kingdom of Carcium, where his novel is set, and its inhabitants.

In the story, Troy, a young and untried prince must confront an evil warlord to save his kingdom after the death of his father, the king. On his quest he meets and befriends a fireless dragon named Brutus and a beautiful and mysterious girl named Nina, who is an accomplished swordswoman.

“In a lot of the movies and things you see, the boys are always the strongest,” Calvanese said. In his book Troy “can still fight, but [Nina] is much stronger. She is better with a sword [and] she defends him.”

Though the book was written for both boys and girls, Calvanese said Nina was drawn as such a strong character by design.

“A lot of fantasy books are not written for girls, [and] I have a daughter,” he said, adding that in the second book in the series, now in the rough draft stage, he has created twin girls who are heroines.

Calvanese, who co-owns the Storrowton Tavern with his father Andrew and brother Vincent, said it took him about a year to write “Carcium — the Conflict Begins” and nine months to complete the editing process.

“I’m the one who closes the restaurant, that’s the time I pull out my laptop and write [while waiting for employees to finish their work],” he said, adding that his writing style, which follows an outline, makes it easy for him to work in small snatches.

“Everything is like a movie in my head. I write what I see, hit the pause button, and then pick up where I left off,” he said.

He said he found his publisher, Tate Publishing of Oklahoma, through the Internet, adding that he submitted his manuscript to various publishers “125 times” before it was accepted for publication.

Calvanese said he advertised his book outside the Tavern during the recent 17-day run of the Big E, and sold about 250 copies.

He added that his agent at Tate is in contact with an entertainment lawyer about turning his book into a screenplay.

“We’re in the process of doing a production trailer to let people know what it could look like as a movie,” he said.

Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at

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Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at