I once realized how rare it is for a writer to be considered an “artist,” even though so much life can be portrayed in as short as a few stanzas. Then, through the experiences of Anthony Cafiero, our featured February artist, I read about the gift of writing in the way only a writer can express, perfectly encapsulating just how artistic the craft truly is. See in the interview below.
Nonahood News: What drove you to become a writer?
Anthony Cafiero: I truly believe that writing is in the blood. It’s an innate ability. In my case, it probably started before I can even remember, perhaps as a baby scanning this new world
I was born into and imagining sandcastles in the sky. So, my take is that I never became a writer, I always was.
NHN: When did you realize writing was your passion?
AC: At the age of seven, when I passed up eating a Nestle’s chocolate bar the size of a license plate because I was too busy scribbling a tall tale. I should have pursued writing in high school by joining the school paper, but being shy, I instead retreated into what I was good at: “book learnin’.” I graduated college with a biology degree and surprisingly joined the university paper, where I covered sports and drew cartoons. Then, onto chiropractic college, where I also was a cartoonist for the school paper, graduating as a chiropractic physician in 1980. I practiced 33 years but would write on-and-off when I had the chance, heavily delving into The Fall of Carbon the last few years before I retired. Writing, the fulfillment of creative expression, was always present.
NHN: How often do you find yourself sitting down to write?
AC: It’s constant and instantaneous, and it takes many incarnations. In addition to my second novel, which I am currently working on, it could be in the form of a Facebook post, an extensive email to a friend, or a professional letter. Everyone is a writer to a certain degree.
NHN: Tell us about your latest novel The Fall of Carbon.
AC: It’s a dystopian/apocalyptic story set decades in the future. America is no longer a functioning democracy but instead a theocracy known as the United States of the Lord, church and state no longer separate. A scandalized reporter, Ronnie Salt, is sucked into a murder mystery with consequences so dire that they are as horrifying as they are unimaginable. Salt criss-crosses a toxic globe, unlocking clues to this mystery while also on a parallel journey of self-discovery. He soon learns that solving the puzzle exposes a larger and more deadly plot – the purposeful destruction of the planet by those in control of the levers of world power. Their rationale will be a Da Vinci Code-like revelation for the reader. And speaking of revelation, I reveal the true meaning of 666 in the Book of Revelation, according to me, in Chapter 88.
NHN: What inspired you to write The Fall of Carbon?
AC: I have a strong science background and an equally-balanced spiritual side. I’m also aware of the historic conflict between science and religion. It needn’t be so. When I see an imbalance, it bothers me, so I figured I’d do some cathartic writing and hurl the two sides at each other in the context of an entertaining thriller. That was my goal, and I hope I met expectations.
NHN: Which of your writing projects would you consider to be your favorites?
AC: I began The Fall of Carbon in 2004, and it took many years to finish because I was working. So that would be number one. A poem I wrote entitled “Never Imagined” was published by the #1 online poetry site, RavingDove.org. My submission was one of the last entries before the site closed in the spring of 2011. But the address is still up, and my poem continues to be listed under Current Edition on the website. I wrote that poem in 40 minutes, in what I can only describe as divine inspiration. It was a Sunday morning, and I was reading the guest columnist section of The Orlando Sentinel over breakfast. It was graduation season, and a high school senior was describing how her classmate was just taken in a car accident. The pathos in her writing was heart-wrenching and must have opened up in me some conduit to a special creative space. I was compelled to start writing right there at the table, next to my abandoned high-fiber English muffin. There was no pause in my writing; words came to me nonstop on a magic carpet. “Never Imagined” was the result. This was 2011, and Michael Vick’s dog-fighting conviction and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill must have resounded strongly within me because they both made it into the poem. That was a unique, exhilarating experience and one I’m sure resonates with many writers.
NHN: What serves as your inspiration on a day-to-day basis?
AC: I don’t need much inspiration. I am thrilled by the act of writing, and it serves as a constant source of entertainment. This is why I think it is what I was meant to do. There are tons of things I don’t do well, like speaking in public, but writing I believe I do well. Whether other people think so is the difference as to whether I’m successful or not. I understand that I can learn something from every single person I meet. And that opens up a world of writing opportunities.
NHN: Future goals/plans?
AC: My focus is to make The Fall of Carbon successful. It’s available at Amazon, on Kindle or paperback. I can easily see it as a movie with Clive Owen as Ronnie Salt. I would be foolish to think that this is anything but a longshot; however, one thing is for certain. If I don’t dream it, then it definitely has no chance.
Continue world travel after the pandemic. Another source of inspiration. The world is a big place and citizens outside the States think differently than us, and of course, this intrigues me.
Continue learning Italian. Learning a foreign language is yet another thing I don’t do well. I find it astonishing that a person is able to speak three or four or more languages. Now, that’s a gift, like singing, acting, or perhaps writing.
To order The Fall of Carbon by Anthony Cafiero, please visit Amazon.com.
Photos Courtesy of Anthony Cafiero