A Ketchikan author has published his first novel. While a work of fiction, the story set in Southeast Alaska is reality-based, and contains mystical elements and adventure.
Rudy Saccomanno’s novel, “Under the Raven’s Wing: a mystical adventure of Southeast Alaska,” was launched as an eBook on November 23rd. Saccommanno first attempted to get the book published in the 1990’s. He says he received positive reviews, but no publisher. Saccomanno decided to leave the book on the shelf while pursuing other interests, but last summer decided to pick it up again.
“The Craig Public Library had ‘Pitchapalooza,’ and it happened to coincide with when I’d be off this summer. I took six weeks and just rewrote the heck out of the thing and updated it and actually put cell phones in it and different things that really didn’t exist back then. And finding out about e-publishing made it a distinct possibility.”
Pitchapalooza is an opportunity for aspiring authors to pitch their story ideas to publishers and book critics. Saccomanno says that event inspired him to update his novel and reconsider publishing.
The book begins with Kyle Thornton, a well-meaning but lonely boy, stealing a wheelchair from the Pioneer’s Home to transport a keg to a party. The boy gets caught and ends up doing community service at the retirement home. There he meets Jasper Callen, a gold miner facing early Alzheimer’s disease. Kyle ends up working with Jasper at a remote mining site and later discovers why he is actually brought there. Discovered is a cold-case disappearance, and throughout the story is the subtle, persistent guidance of ravens.
Saccommano says the mystical adventure is a work of fiction, but much of the story is reality based.
“In the process of writing this book, and learning about it, and doing research, I actually went up to the Pioneer’s Home and worked in the kitchen. I went through a lot of the experiences that Kyle goes through. For the Alzheimer’s parts of it, I talked to several people who have had the experiences with their parents. All the different things that Jasper displays as symptoms are all things people actually told me that their parents did. So there’s nothing that is out of my mind, it’s just building them into the story.”
At one point in the story, young Kyle is guided by ravens into a hidden cave.
“The cave where the shaman lives is an actual cave on Prince of Wales Island. The way that the cave gets discovered by the boy, and the actual things (in the cave). The description of the inside of the cave is right-on-accurate from what I was told. A little altar area. Just an incredible cave over on Prince of Wales.”
Saccomanno says many other locations in the book are based on real places, and he tried his best to capture the mystical feel of Southeast Alaska and the sounds of the raven.
As an eBook, the novel doesn’t lend itself to traditional book signings. Saccomanno is using a unique marketing approach he tried out recently in Ketchikan.
“’Under Raven’s: A mystical adventure of Southeast Alaska’ is the full title. I had that put on a business card that says ‘go to Amazon, take a look, read a sample, and if you like it review it please.’ I handed out an envelope with that card on the front and three dollars inside and just gave away free books. That’s what I’m going to be doing. Going around town and handing these out and say ‘Can you please take a look at this and it you get a chance, please review it.’ Because that is what really makes the rest of the country take a look at it.”
You can view the first three chapters of “Under Raven’s Wing” for free at Amazon.com. In addition to Amazon, the eBook is also available from Barnes and Noble and i-books.