New Carlos Rubio novel contains intrigue

December 23, 2012
  • Carlos Rubio of Martinsburg, W.Va., is a native of Cuba. He has published a new book, "Forgotten Objects," a historical fiction novel.
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Age: 68

City in which you reside: Martinsburg, W.Va.

Day job: I taught at Shepherd in the English and Language Department from 2001 to 2009. At the moment I work with the Education Department as a student teacher supervisor.

Book title: "Forgotten Objects"

Genre: historical fiction

Quick synopsis of book: "Forgotten Objects" traces the life of Anna d'Amio, daughter of opera singers Louis and Francesca d'Amio, from Mussolini's Italy to the city of Pittsburgh during the mid 1960s. She eventually becomes a mother of two daughters and must make sacrifices for her children. It is after her passing that her daughters discover a box containing objects from their mother's past.

Publisher: Portilla Publishing

Price: $25 for paperback; $8.99 for Kindle edition

What inspired you to write the book?

I have no idea. As with my other novels, it just appeared one day. I never plan to write a book about anything; the book chooses me.

A native of Cuba, your cultural background is often seen in your books. Was it important that Cuba was included in "Forgotten Objects"?

I do not believe that my cultural background is reflected in my work. I consider myself a writer, not a Cuban writer. If you look closely at my novels "Orpheus' Blues" and "Secret Memories," you see right away that they have nothing to do with Cuba in particular or with Latin America in general. Further, "American Triptych" (a trilogy of satirical novels) is just that, an American work that explores the obsessions that we find in this particular culture.

But getting back to your original question, Cuba is one of the locales where "Forgotten Objects" takes place, so it was inevitable that I would use my familiarity with Cuban history and culture in that work. On the other hand, the other sections of the novel take place in Italy and in the United States. I also used my familiarity with those places to make the settings more believable.

In "Forgotten Objects," the main character Anna d'Amio is the daughter of opera singers. Are you a fan of opera? Was there a particular opera singer you listened to while writing this book?

No, I do not consider myself an opera fan, but a lot of research went into that particular section of the novel. Italians do take opera very seriously; I am very much aware of that. While writing, I usually listened to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons. "

What type of woman do you see Anna as being?

I see Anna as an average woman, but life in general and certain specific historical events made her grow up very quickly.

What themes did you want to present to readers?

That we are not as much in control as we would like to believe, but that we can also overcome adversity if we do not give up and seek help from others.

What is your favorite part of the book?

I do not believe that I have a favorite, but I am fond of the story of Harold Wilson, Anna's third husband. He has some qualities that I admire very much.

Did you learn anything about yourself while writing this book?

I confirmed what I knew all along, that I have the self-discipline to devote five years of my life to a writing project. After all, I am not 20 any more, and this is my 12th novel, not my first. I have learned a few lessons along the way.

Is there something you want readers to take away from your story?

Yes, that life never develops as we had planned, but that usually things work out at the end.

Are you working on another writing project?

Yes, this past September I started a new writing project, as yet untitled. It is something I promised my daughter years ago. So far I am pleased with the progress, and I hope she is just as pleased when I give it to her.

Is your book available in the Tri-State area? Where? If not, how can a reader buy a copy of the book?

"Forgotten Objects" can be purchased through any bookstore and most online retailers, such as Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I encourage readers to visit my website so they can see the range of my work, both in English and Spanish. I welcome questions and comments and they can get in touch with me through the contact page of the site.

— By Crystal Schelle, Lifestyle editor

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