As the leaves turn and Covid continues to keep us inside more than outside, we can find a little escapism when we fall into a scary book. Horror, thrillers, and mystery books are perfect this time of year. They take us away to another place and time, giving us a much-needed break from reality.
I spoke with celebrity chef turned writer David Ruggerio about the books he recommends as the days grow shorter. Ruggerio has two acclaimed cookbooks under his belt. Known as a “Super Chef”, he hosted the iconic TV shows Ruggerio to Go on the Food Network, and Little Italy with David Ruggerio on PBS. In 2019 his award-winning debut novel, A Wistful Tale of Gods, Men and Monsters topped the Amazon bestseller spot in the Horror category. His second book of fiction, Say Goodbye and Goodnight, released June 2020 and is the recipient of the Book Publicists of Southern California 2020 Award for Best Romance. His third book, A Prison Without Locks, releases in November of 2020.
Q: More and more people are reading lately. Why do you think it is good to escape into books?
A: Especially now with COVID and the quarantine, it has become a perfect storm for authors. Television and film have halted productions for quite a while, and people who were not especially avid readers have turned to books. People have found that a book can transport them to another time and place and have provided a much-needed escape from reality.
Q: What books beside your own do you recommend for Fall 2020 reading?
A: I love horror; talk about escapism. “Clown in a Cornfield” by Adam Cesare tops my list. What a title! The other books I look forward to reading this fall is “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I loved Ms. Garcia’s, Certain Dark Things, which was a fantastic vampire novel. A lot of great reading for the fall!
Q: What makes your book a great escape?
A: Foremost, I love incorporating real places in my novels. I think it makes the story more visual when you can identify an actual cemetery or building. Secondly, when it comes to the main characters, I think it’s vital that you can not only visualize them, but I also want you to know minute details that will come into play later in the story.
Q: Tell us about writing your book, what was that journey like?
A: My life has been an extraordinary journey, at times and adventure, and at other times a tragedy. Because of this, I have a wealth of stories to refer to and draw from that even though they are true, they read as unbelievable tales. I spent thirty-five years as a chef in some of the best French restaurants in the world; the cast of characters I have encountered and cooked for is a treasure trove of material.
Q: What advice do you have for those who are writing during these times?
A: Look around you; these times produce unbelievable events and world-changing movements; take your time and absorb it all. After you take it all in, your memories of 2020 will offer you a new insight into your craft.
Q: Tell us what is on the horizon for you. Tell us what is next.
A: Ready for this, my memoir! I know everybody who encountered adversity feels that their story is unique. I think my tale trumps them all. Not to give it all away, I was orphaned when I was five, my father was a notorious drug trafficker, and I went on to be a star of a fledgling new cooking channel called Food Network!
Q: Where can people buy your book and learn more?
A: Of course, there is always online at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon. Also, visit my website at www.ruggeriobooks.com. You can buy books, read excerpts, and explore upcoming events and giveaways.