Interview & Giveaway: Saving the Music by Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco

Hello, dear readers! I hope you are all safe and healthy! Today on the blog I am very excited to share my interview with Author Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco! Chip is currently on blog tour for Saving the Music, which I absolutely loved, and he's here today to tell us more about the book and series, and himself! Enjoy! And don't forget to enter to win a copy of the book!

Hello Chip and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Saving the Music!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I live in New Orleans with my wife and two kids, where, when I am not writing, I practice law. I have written three novels, Tempesta’s Dream, A Song for Bellafortuna and Saving the Music.

Saving the Music is the follow up to A Song for Bellafortuna, what inspired you to write the series?

When I started writing, I never envisioned that this would become a series. Book 1 – A Song for Bellafortuna – was a story that came to about a small Sicilian village who is visited by the great opera tenor, Enrico Caruso. I decided very early on that instead of placing the story in a real village in Sicily, which ties your story down to the history of that place, I decided to create my own village with its own history, yet based on what life was like in Sicily at the turn of the century. It was after Book 1 was released, that I received an email from a reader who told me that they loved the characters and so wished to know what happened to them all as they got older. The very next week I was in DC and I went to the Holocaust Museum, which greatly moved me. There was a plaque there that I came across that thanked the Italian people for their response to the Holocaust. Right then and there the genesis of Book 2 – Saving the Music – began. The characters from Book 1 would still be around during WWII and they would be involved in the hiding of Jews in Sicily. Thus, without having any idea when I first started writing about Bellafortuna, I began work on book 2 of a series for which I never had any intention of writing.

What research did you undertake when writing the Bellafortuna series?

For A Song for Bellafortuna, I did a lot of research regarding Sicilian life at the turn of the century. However, Saving the Music, by far, was a huge undertaking as the story concerns the Vatican’s controversial response to the Holocaust, and in particular, the actions of Pope Pius XII. My research led me to read speeches of Pope Pius XII, newspaper reports from around the period, and the works of lots of historians. I also spoke to people who lived at the Vatican during WWII so that I could adequately describe what life was like inside the Vatican and around Rome during the War years.

What would you like readers to take away from reading the Bellafortuna series?

I think at the end of the day, the stories speak to one simple truth - To be fully human is to live for others. Although it’s an easy statement to say, often its hard in today’s world to find evidence of it, where people are more interested in living for themselves and not for others.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There is a scene in Saving the Music that takes place down in the burial grottos of St. Peters Basilica and the final resting place of St. Peter. I loved the message of that scene and the way it all came together.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Without giving too much away, it was a scene regarding the roundup of the Jews in the Roman Quarter by the Nazis. It was very difficult as I wanted to allow the reader to get a sense of the horror and sense of betrayal that the Roman Jews felt.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I wrote – “Giovanni Tempesta always dreamed of being an opera tenor.” Those were the very first words I wrote when the story of Tempesta’s Dream came jumping into my head. I needed to know more about Mr. Tempesta. The writing bug bit me hard that very night.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Being a lawyer during the day, most of my writing takes place early in the morning. I try to write for an hour to an hour a half every morning. I’m an early riser, so weekend mornings are spent perfecting everything I had written the previous week. This is a picture of my writing spot. A friend gave me the bottle of wine on the right called Writers Block with a card that says “In case of emergency break glass.”

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

For me, my greatest challenge is trying to find the story I want to tell. Once the story is in your head, I find it rather easy to proceed from there. But its antagonizing as story after story comes to you and you work through them mentally to see if they will give you the inspiration to not only start writing, but see the story till the end.

Who are your writing inspirations?

By far, the single greatest writing inspiration for me was JRR Tolkien, as his Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit, provided me with a life-long love of fiction and story-telling.

What was the first historical novel you read?

It was probably The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I loved that book and still to this day remember parts of it and how Eco described certain things.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

What are three things people may not know about you?

1) I’m a huge opera fan and have seen operas at some of the most famous opera houses in the world.
2) My most favorite dish – don’t laugh – is pasta and meat sauce.
3) My dog is an 11 year old beagle named Scout – yes after the character from To Kill a Mockingbird.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I was a history major in college. I love learning what life was like in different times. Historical fiction requires a lot of attention to details and lots and lots of research. It’s fascinating for me because I get to learn so much while I write.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

I love anything to do with the WWII period.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Listening to opera and music, travelling, and just being with my family.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m only three chapters in, but I just started working on Book 3, the final book in the Bellafortuna Series. I have no name for it yet.

Oh yay, I am so excited for that! I can't wait to get back to Bellafortuna! Thank you for stopping by today, Chip!

Saving the Music by Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco

Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Cefalutana Press
Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook

Series: Bellafortuna, Book #2
Genre: Historical Fiction

It is the winter of 1942, and the world is at war. A few Jewish musicians attempt to flee the Nazi death grip, each desperately trying to navigate his own path to safety. With the courageous aid and kindness of strangers, they soon find themselves in Rome, where under the highly secret help of the Vatican, they are hidden in Bellafortuna, a small village in Sicily. The residents of Bellafortuna welcome them and care for them, and for a fleeting moment, the horrors the musicians are facing are forgotten while residing in the beautiful, idyllic landscape of Sicily. But word soon reaches the small village that Italy has surrendered, now making Germany at war with Italy. War quickly comes to the village as the Germans storm into Sicily to repel the Allied advance. As Bellafortuna becomes front and center in the raging war, the villagers rise as one to try and protect and save the Jews hiding in their midst. Failure to keep them hidden will mean death to those under their protection...and perhaps even to the villagers themselves.

An intricately plotted and meticulously researched novel, Saving the Music demonstrates how, in the face of death and unspeakable horror, the strength of the human spirit of ordinary people can shine bright through the darkness.

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Advance Praise

"In Saving the Music, author Chip LoCoco writes of the efforts undertaken by common villagers, priests, and even a Pope to protect Jews from the Nazis. He vividly depicts the horrors faced by the Jews as they confront the Holocaust. Filled with real heroism and high drama, this book brings perspective and depth to its subject. It's an exciting read on an important topic, and I strongly recommend it." -Ronald Rychlak, Author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope

"This is a well-composed novel that captures key moments of the Holocaust as it relates to the Italian people. I highly recommend it." -Professor Vincent Lapomarda, S.J., Author of The Jesuits and the Third Reich

"This is a well-researched novel and reflects the situation as it then existed, hopefully, never to return." -Fr. Peter Gumpel, S.J., postulator of the cause of beautification for Pius XII

"Chip LoCoco's novel, Saving the Music, is a realistic fact-based story of pain, fear and true heroism. The premise is solidly grounded on documented facts of the actions of the Catholic Church under the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII down to priests and individual Catholics. Saving the Music is an exciting and engrossing read, which joins the list of wonderful truth-based books of late that is shedding light on the truth ending the worst character assassination of the 20th Century. Bravo." -Gary L. Krupp, Author of Pope Pius XII and World War II- The Documented Truth

About the Author

Chip LoCoco was born and raised in New Orleans. His first novel, Tempesta's Dream, became an Amazon Bestseller.

His second novel, Bellafortuna, has been nationally recognized, being named a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition and awarded the B.R.A.G. Award in Historical Fiction. Mr. LoCoco is a member of the Italian American Writers Association.

His newest work, Saving the Music, which is Book 2 of his Bellafortuna Series, was just recently released.

Chip, who is an attorney, is married to his wife of over 20 years, Wendy. They have two children, Matthew and Ellie and a beagle, named Scout. They reside in their beloved city of New Orleans, where if you try to find them on a Sunday in the Fall, they will be somewhere rooting on their Saints.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, June 3
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, June 5
Feature at What Is That Book About
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Monday, June 8
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 9
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, June 10
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, June 12
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Monday, June 15
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 18
Review at Impressions In Ink


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Saving the Music! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Saving the Music

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