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Interview With Author Leon Radomile
Part 1 of 2: About The Author
Where were you born and raised?
What part of Italy are your parents from?
My mother was born on the island of Salina in the Aeolian island group off the coast of Sicily. At the age of two, along with her mother and two sisters joined her father and older brother in Sydney, Australia, who arrived two years earlier to purchase several homes and set-up a green grocer business. While serving in the American Army during WWII, my father went to a USO club in Sidney and asked if there was an Italian family in the area that he could visit for an Italian dinner. They gave him the address of my grandfather. My parents were married in 1945 in Sydney, thereby making my mother an American war bride.
What was life like growing up in an Italian family?
What got you started into writing? Over the years, I always felt offended by those who would dismiss or trivialize Italian culture. Such ignorance was beyond my comprehension. In 1985, I finally realized why, in spite of all the upstanding Italian descendants in this country, Italians and Italian Americans were commonly portrayed in less than flattering terms. The answer lay at the feet of the media-from advertising to movies to television, and even cartoons. Even the revered term of godfather was perverted by author Mario Puzo to describe Italian criminal lords. Years later, he would admit that it was something he simply made up.
Living on the west coast has many advantages, but we do suffer from one major shortcoming. That shortcoming is brilliantly illustrated in our ethnic blandness. Perhaps if I had grown-up on the east coast, the realization of Italian cultural bashing would have revealed itself to me much sooner. But when dim-witted radio or television commercials and programming began to fill the airwaves during the 70's and 80's, I finally began to wake-up. When I objected, I was accused of being too thin-skinned, or lacking in a sense of humor. I am neither thin-skinned nor humorless. But enough was enough.
One day, in 1985, I made a conscious decision to do something about this cultural bashing of Italiana, other than just talking about it. I would try to do something positive to reverse this continual trivialization of Italian culture - something manifested through an educational approach. I had observed how far the African American and Jewish communities had come in educating American society. Just look at the shelves in bookstores and libraries as proof. Jewish and African-American titles abound, Italian related titles, on the other hand, seem to be relegated to the wine and cookbook sections. In order to gain attention to my cause, I needed to do something that would be entertaining as well as informative. I proceeded to develop a board game I called The Italian Heritage Game, based on the popular model of Trivial Pursuit. My writing began there in researching and developing question material for the board game. Eventually, I sold close to 10,000 games across the country.
In the “About the Author” section of your book it tells us that you are happily married and have two daughters. How do you juggle the responsibilities of family life and still manage to work on writing books and meeting deadlines?
Who has been your biggest inspiration when it comes to writing?
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