A few words about my background: In high school I was a sports enthusiast but also an avid reader who especially enjoyed history. As a freshman, my world history teacher, Miss Hoffman, was young and cute, so that got me going. As a junior, my American History teacher, Richard Cherico, a Native American, inspired me to look at history from a different perspective. As a freshman at Syracuse University, I took creative writing and, although not good, enjoyed it—especially the assignment of how Ernest Hemingway’s suicide (he was a friend of my grandfather) was an outgrowth of his heredity, life-style, experiences, and writings.
After our university was peremptorily shut down after the Kent State shootings in my junior year, I left my university’s Newhouse School of Communication (for good as it turned out), to write a book. In the beginning, it centered on the flute music (which I played) and culture of certain indigenous Iroquois peoples who populated the region around Syracuse. To pursue a broader text of Native American culture I left New York for the Southwest, where I made and sold bamboo flutes while living on or near various reservations of the Navajo, Hopi, Papago and Yaqui peoples. Driven by a certain tragic failure at this time, it was in Tucson, Arizona that I took my first cooking job, ultimately earning my degree in Food Management at the U. of Arizona and becoming a chef in that city.
It was during the latter part of my forty years as a chef both in Arizona and California, which provided well enough for my family of four, that I re-discovered my passion for writing. And so I began a twenty-year quest to portray as historically accurate an account as I could of the colorful life of my ancestor, who came to America from Venice via Holland almost four hundred years ago.
To say ‘history came alive’ is true for me. For on my last trip to Venice, I had the pleasure of staying for about a month in the very place my first two books took place, renovated as it was by a very gentlemanly Gianni di Col. And if you do not buy it, please enjoy the book he has displayed in his lobby.