…Author pal, Don Massenzio shows how fact and fiction so often intertwine…

…here’s a superb insight to the kinda thinking and research that goes into the backstory of many great authors’ books… my pal, Author Don Massenzio traces it for yeez in this excellent Guest Post… enjoy..

On July 2nd of 1918, tragedy struck the hamlet of Split Rock, New York. This site was established as a limestone quarry in 1834. In 1880, quarry operations were expanded to deliver limestone used for the processing by way of a remarkable elevated conveyor about two miles long to the industrial plant at Solvay, New York. The quarry was abandoned about 1912. In 1915, during World War I, Split Rock became the site of a munitions factory.

Photo Credit http://www.syracuse.com/living/index.ssf/2014/06/disaster_at_split_rock_the_week_in_history.html

The plant employed about 2500 people when it exploded on July 2, 1918, killing 65 and injuring 75 more. The explosion occurred when a mixing motor in the main TNT building overheated. The fire rapidly spread through the wooden structure of the main factory. Firefighting efforts were hampered by a loss of water pressure, and the factory eventually exploded. Approximately 1-3 tons of TNT were involved in the blast, which leveled the structure.

Photo Credit: https://kihm6.wordpress.com/category/country-club/page/3/

I used this story and expanded on it for my book, Blood Orange. I wanted to write a terrorism thriller based on an actual historical event that occurred near the city where I grew up.

The 1918 explosion was devastating to the spirit of the city for some time to come.

My book, Blood Orange, takes this true event and enhances it placing a fictional secret military facility under the munitions plant where very early nuclear and radioactivity research was being conducted. Rather than rescue the scientists that were present in the underground facility, the government at the time chose to deny the existence of such a facility and leave the men and women working there to perish. The radioactive material is later discovered and ends up in the hands of the book’s antagonist and his evil organization.

What I set out to do was draw a parallel between the devastating effect of the Split Rock explosion on the city with a modern-day terrorist attack on a soft target, The Carrier Dome. The Dome is a venerable landmark in Syracuse and is a Mecca of college basketball often setting records for attendance.

Carrier Dome Roof Exterior Summer

Photo Credit: http://archives.syr.edu/buildings/carrier_dome.html

It was both enjoyable and challenging to write a book with roots in a historical event. It required a good deal of research. I kept waiting for black helicopters to descend on my house as I researched radioactive materials and explosives concepts.

In Blood Orange, I introduce a protagonist, Commander Brad Rafferty of the U.S. Navy, who is involved in nuclear inspections in the Middle East. He and his team are called in to investigate a devastating explosion and radioactive contamination of the structure that takes place during the national championship college basketball game with over 50,000 fans in attendance.

This book was about taking an event that took the breath out of a city and connecting it to a modern day event that had the same effect. Just like in 1918, there are significant casualties and, while the original event was tied to an accident, the mourning and aftermath of each event are similar as I describe them.

If you’re interested in reading Blood Orange, you can click on this LINK,

A Delay in the Release:

One interesting note about this book is that it was originally set to launch on November 13, 2015. You might recall that this was the day of the Paris terrorist attacks. I remember sitting at dinner and my editor texted me and said, “Have you seen the news? You might want to delay the release of Blood Orange.”

Sure enough, the commonalities between the book and the actual event were too close for comfort. I stopped the publication of the book and did not release it until January, 2016. I wrote a long and painful blog about my decision and, in the end, this book ended up being my best selling effort to date.

A Sequel:

I’m currently finishing up a sequel to Blood Orange, with the working title of Blood Match. Again, there is a terrorist element, but the plot is quite different and I’m very excited about how it’s shaping up.

A Bit About Me:

I was born in Syracuse, New York to first generation Italian American parents. I’m an avid reader. Some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, John Grisham, and Hugh Howey. My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

I started writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate life. I use writing as a therapeutic outlet to combat my homesickness.

I moved to Jacksonville, Florida 22 years ago where I currently live with my wife, daughter, and three dogs.

My Other Books:

Frankly Speaking – Purchase LINK

Let Me Be Frank – Purchase LINK

Frank Incensed – Purchase LINK

Frankly My Dear – Purchase LINK

Frank Immersed – Purchase LINK

Random Tales – Purchase LINK

Connect with Me:

Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/AuthorDonMassenzio (Universal Amazon Link)

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authordonmassenzio/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dmassenzio

My Web Site: https://www.donmassenzio.com

My Youtube Channel (Book Trailers): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-F7gLx9BbeTUclDbgYbipg

…many thanks, that man, Don… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

6 responses to “…Author pal, Don Massenzio shows how fact and fiction so often intertwine…

  1. A fascinating blog. I believe using a true event anchors the believability of the story. I will shortly begin the first of a new historical crime series, set in the time of the Wars of the Roses. And, like you, the events of the first book are firmly anchored by true events. I wish you the best of sales.


  2. Seumas, It was an honor to be featured on your blog. I really appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    I had the honor of being featured on Seumas Gallacher’s blog today to share a little insight into the real event that inspired my book, Blood Orange. Thank you Seumas!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a good review of your book BLOOD ORANGE and the history it was based on, Don. All the best on your current writing project. Thanks, Seumas, for having Don as a guest. 🙂 — Suzanne


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