Hello there, and welcome to my blog!  My name is John Pasquariello, and I have never done anything like this before, so please bear with me as I feel my way along here.  I’ve been married to my lovely wife Anne for almost 25 years now and have two fine sons:  John Vincent, Jr. (JV for short) who is 22, and Joseph, who is a very active 11.

So what is this blog about?  Well, it’s primarily about my first novel, The Railroad Man, which will be available for purchase soon.  I’m just giving it a “pre-flight inspection” before I set it loose on the world.  But I’ll be touching on other subjects along the way, too.

To say I’m passionate about this novel is an understatement.  The idea for it came to me almost 25 years ago!  It led to my writing what I call a “proto-manuscript” of the story back in 1990, written on a Tandy WP 100 word processor, about one half step above a traditional type writer!  I tried unsuccessfully to get it published via the old fashioned way:  Mailing query letters and sample chapters to literary agents with stamped, self-addressed envelopes.  Back then, bulk copier services charged about 3-5 cents per page.  Even so, the totals added up fast.

After almost 5 years of trying, I gave up and put the manuscripts (I had 2 full copies made plus my original.) in a box and walked away.

Life went on after that.  New jobs.  New house.  My son JV grew like a weed.

Then 9/11 happened, and as I was working by then for my current employer, NJ Transit, I witnessed the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center from our terminal in Hoboken.  I swore I could hear the buildings as the crumbled.  It was day I will never forget.

In 2002, my wife and I were blessed with a new son, Joseph.  All was good.  But late in 2004, I injured my back.  This put me on the rack for several months.  In no time at all, I was bored to tears.  Looking for something to do, I started rummaging around my basement, and found the box I had stored my proto-manuscript in all those years before.  For shits and giggles, I took it out and started paging through it.  It was at that moment I realized why my earlier attempts to get the story published met with such total rejection:  It was BAD!  Very, very bad.

However, there were some scenes that were very good, in my opinion (For whatever that may be worth!).   And I felt that if I salvaged those scenes and put them in a new storyline that, maybe, I might have a story that people would want to read and truly enjoy.

Armed with almost 10 years of life experience, plus the haunting memories of 9/11, I started putting a new storyline together.  And I had a new tool to work with:  A computer, and through it, the internet.  It was a revelation for me.  No more trying to hunt down hard copies of magazine articles, books and encyclopedias at the library, or trying to get personal interviews with “experts” in whatever field I needed to amass information in.  Now, it was all just about at my fingertips.  I started researching elements of my story that I was unfamiliar with, collecting information in dribs and drabs.  In some cases, I was afraid I’d be getting a knock on the door from a couple of sunglass-wearing Federal Agents asking me what I was up to.  Luckily, that never happened.

After 5 years, I felt I had enough research to make my new storyline “fly.”  All I had to do now was find the time to write it.  Then, unfortunately for me, I injured myself again, this time my knee.  Once again, I found myself in the rack for a number of months.  This was the summer of 2010.  While my recuperation progressed, a friend of mine who shares my interests in trains and railroading sent me a link to a trailer for a new movie that was coming out that November.  The film was Unstoppable, about an unmanned train rampaging through the countryside, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.  When I saw this, I almost fell out of my chair!  (Almost hurt my other knee in the process too!)  Unfortunately, that film was in no way anywhere close to accurate in the way they portrayed the story.  It could have been far better and more exciting if it were done differently, but this blog is not meant as a critique of that film.  Suffice to say, it was just not a well executed movie.  And it in no way bared any resemblance to the storyline in my novel, either the one in my proto-manuscript or the re-vamped one I had developed.  However, I felt that if a major film studio was putting out a film with such a heavy railroad theme to it, then the iron will never be hotter for me to write the new version of my novel.

So I set out writing.  And I finished the initial manuscript that November, 1 week to the day after Unstoppable hit the theaters.

For the last 3 years now, I have been editing, reworking and refining the manuscript, much of it with the help of a great bunch of fellow writers on a site called Absolute Write.  Those guys taught me more about the craft of writing in the 3 years since I found them than I learned in all my years prior.

So now it’s finally ready.  It’s been a crazy 25 year journey.  And it will soon be available for all of you to see in the next few weeks.  And as this blog progresses, I’ll fill you in with some deeper background as to the story line and its themes as well as just how this all came to be.  And it will be a lot shorter than this entry!  Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you’ll stick around to see just how The Railroad Man came to be.

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