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Monday, September 30, 2019

Spotlight: The Don of Siracusa by Sean Rea @smithpublicity @theseanrea

The Don of Siracusa
by Sean Rea

Bringing you a little Crime Fiction goodness today.
Go to my instagram page @wherethereadergrows for your chance to win a copy


It’s usually when you feel like you have it all that it all threatens to come crashing down. That’s what happens to Stefano Caruso when his steadfast morals and strict work ethic have earned him the top spot at the corporation his father and grandfather built. He is living the life you’d expect of a handsome and successful legacy magnate. Until the day an unexpected visitor delivers shocking news, and Caruso’s prized moral fiber is tested. 

In The Don of Siracusa [Friesen Press] by Sean Rea, Caruso is forced to decide if the Italian Mafia his family fled is his only ally against the corrupt business partners he’d always thought he could trust. The simple set of rules and morals that govern the Mafia’s philosophies and businesses have great appeal for Caruso, and he quickly becomes entangled in that world. When blood is spilled, the scrupulously honest Caruso finds himself at the center of a story of big business, violence, and betrayal. 

“My book attempts to capture the idea that we can’t just look at the world as black and white – some of the people we say are criminals may be the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and some of your best friends might be capable of true evil,” Rea says. “I want people to understand that humans are incredibly complex, and the concept of morality even more so. This is a significant aspect of the human condition, and my book tries to create realistic characters that react to the world and events around them the way you or I might.” 

Fraught with moral complexity, The Don of Siracusa is a fast-paced, exciting crime thriller that pits good against evil, righteousness versus deception, while asking whether good men should sometimes do bad things to punish evil.

Sean Rea studied at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, majoring in communications and minoring in management. He has travelled much of America and nearly all of Italy. Like his protagonist, Stefano Caruso, from a young age Sean was exposed to the world of big business through his father and nonno, and he drew on much of this in crafting the business aspects of Siracusa. Sean is a long-time fan of the crime-fiction genre and all things mafia-related. THE DON OF SIRACUSA is his first novel. 

The Don of Siracusa is available wherever books are sold.

Question: What made you want to write about the world of the mafia? 

Sean Rea: I have always been a huge fan of many mafia books, movies, and TV shows for as long as I can remember. It was largely inspired by my late grandfather’s infatuation with the Godfather movies and all of Mario Puzo's books. I have since read every single one of Puzo's acclaimed novels, and I can honestly say I've loved every single one of them. That being said, the reason I turned my novel towards a mafia / organized crime story was because I think the mafia is a fascinating organization to base a story like this around. I think it is a system that allows for some deep exploration of what makes a man (or woman). How do you define strength? When does showing patience and "being the better man" not actually play in your favor? Within the contexts of the legal system the punishment often doesn’t fit the crime. I want to confront the moral conundrum that can sometimes exist in the real world - are some people so 'evil' that the world is better off without them? Regardless, I think the answer can be summed up right here - the mafia as an organization is a system based on honor and trust. They have an unorthodox definition of morality, and a proclivity towards spectacle. When you consider those few things, they make a perfect counter to the business world (which is so often the opposite), and an even better setting for a book about exploring a man’s inner conflict and exterior battle against evil. 

Question: How did your family's business experience inform your writing of a character in this world? 

SR: My family’s businesses included years in the automotive industry, horse industry, forays into oil, tech, and more. This, as well as many discussions with family friends and former business partners, has given me an immense wealth of knowledge about just how these big deals come about: the structures of negotiations, the give and take, the importance of the dinner meeting or the golf meeting. How do disputes amongst business partners get settled? What happens when they don't get settled? It's so much more than that, but essentially my family's experience gave me insight and helped to make the business negotiations, the big deals, the daily going-ons of working in that world realistic and believable. 

Question: Why do you think stories of moral complexity are so important? 

SR: I think all stories are important. But stories of moral complexity are at the heart of most great novels. It's a central tenet of most people's existence that they are always unsure of just who they really are. Even when someone is comfortable in their own skin, life has a way of serving you circumstances that are constantly redefining and remolding you. So I think it is important that people read stories of others struggling with their own senses of morality, and in a way their own sense of self. So much of who we are, or how others define us and we define ourselves, is shown in how we treat others. A story of moral complexity can also be called a story of identity, a struggle with one's identity. The other reason I think these stories are important is because morality is an incredibly obscure philosophical concept - what was once unconscionable might now be socially acceptable, and vice versa. These stories are one in many ways in which we all try to move morality towards something more idealistic and principled, rather than obscure. The simple act of reading something that causes you to relate to, or argue against, a character’s actions is worthwhile, in my opinion. 

Question: What is your writing process like? 

SR: My writing process was for many years unpredictable and scattered, mostly due to my pursuit of an undergraduate university degree - which I ended up accomplishing two years ago. That being said, the summers were when I would do most of my writing - usually up at my family's former cottage in Northern Ontario. My writing process is ideally, to wake up, drink a few cups of coffee, have some breakfast, and take a while to enjoy the morning and listen to some music - usually soft rock or acoustic music when I am trying to encourage a creative mindset out of myself. I would always like to start writing by 9 or 10 AM, and I would push myself to write until I got hungry for a small lunch. If I had a successful morning/afternoon of writing I'd often take the rest of the day off, but if I did not accomplish much I'd usually force myself to write again sometime after dinner to see if I could squeeze out a few paragraphs or chapters. I'm definitely a morning person (once I have a coffee) so I try to take advantage of that increased productivity. I do have a notebook for recording poetry, stray lines of dialogue, or even just interesting thoughts that cross my mind, and sometimes those notepad ramblings are refined and implemented into a characters monologue, or into a plot point.

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