Interview with George Curcio

What prompted the writing of "The Road to New Hope"?
My wife's family lives in Johnston County, North Carolina, a largely-rural area that is about 45 minutes to the southeast of Raleigh.

We would visit there often. There is a small Baptist church there on one of the roads we often traveled, and I would always wonder, as we passed the church, about its pastor, congregants and their lives.

One weekend, I sat down and started writing, using that church as my starting point. That led to the creating of Charlie and Harley Odel, Charlie's wife, Harley's girlfriend, and the congregants who are spotlighted in the story.
Are you a Baptist? Do you have to be a Christian to enjoy the book?
Actually, I am not a Baptist, and no, you do not have to be a Christian for the story to speak to you. If you are a Christian, it will resonate within you differently than it will a non-Christian, but it will speak to people all across the religious-denomination spectrum, from fervent believer to non-believer.

One of the things with which I am very pleased is the broad appeal of the book, regardless of the reader's religious beliefs . . . or non-beliefs, if you will.

Personally, I have been "all over the board." I was raised as a Catholic, but have also been, at different points in my life, a Baptist, a Methodist, and an agnostic.

Honestly, personally, I am not sure what I believe. But I do respect the beliefs of others, and I hope that respect is displayed throughout the telling of the story.
Are all of the characters unique?
They are, as much as every person is unique.

Each of the characters has certain traits that are specific to themselves, but those traits can also be "drawn out" to be traits that people share. There are, to me, things within each of the characters that readers will be able to relate to, whether they are traits also held by the reader, or by someone they know.

In developing the characters, the aim was to stay true to the feel of the region, and I think that goal was met. The characters strike me as good, everyday folk who are trying to live their lives the best they can.

There is no "bad guy" in the story. You develop a sympathy and a liking for each character in the book. I like that it turned out that way.
How have readers responded to the book?
The best way to answer is to provide a couple of examples from reviews that were written by readers of the printed version.

One person said, "I was hesitant to read a book I thought would be 'preachy'. I should not have worried as a great lesson of acceptance was delivered without beating the reader over the head. I was impressed with the author's ability to tie it all together with a wonderful surprise ending."

Another said:

"If you are like me and struggle to fully accept life completely on life's terms - you need to read this book.

"It is a great personal temptation for me to see the flaws in every person or situation. In fact, my greatest talent is my ability to see through my 'logs' and accurately examine my neighbors 'splinters'. I am not alone in my weakness. Many of us are eager to point out detected flaws to those who need to learn, because we all are seeking perfection, right? This book brought home so clearly to me the lesson I struggle everyday to retain - acceptance. There is a bit of bad and good in the best of us yet we are all children of God and all deserving to be here.

"This book is a must read for those of us who strive to be better shepherds as we tend our flock."
What are your views on being self-published?
It was a decision that I debated for some time. The reality is that 99.9% of self-published books likely are garbage. It has become so easy for people to self-publish that everyone thinks they are an "author."

On the other side of the decision, and the reason I chose to do it, is the control you keep over your work. The book does not have to be shopped to publishers, I do not have to yield to things that they may want and with which I do not agree, etc.

And, the biggest factor: the story and book are good enough to stand on their own merits. Once the reader becomes vested in the story, it becomes one of those books you do not want to put down. You don't want to stop reading until the end.

That is why I ultimately opted for the self-publishing route.
Published 2014-03-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

After the Stroke
Price: Free! Words: 4,340. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » General reference » Questions & answers
"After the Stroke" is a short synopsis of some of the problems experienced following survival of a stroke. It is an attempt to share with other stroke-survivors and give them an idea of what has been experienced by others. The ultimate goal is that reader feedback will lead to a longer, in-depth book that can serve as a "reference" for stroke-survivors, their caregivers and loved ones, and all
The Road to New Hope - A "Charlie Odel" novella
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,060. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Charley Odel. Harley Odel. Two brothers. United as youths, disjoined as adults. For one, it is the ultimate road trip. For the other, it is an emotional journey. Each hopes for answers at the end of the road.