To local author Nicholas Campanella, sacrificing any trace of realism to tell a fantastical story is the first way to lose your audience - and your voice as a writer.
“I want people to smell the air in my book. I want them to know what the sky looks like, how the characters feel,” Campanella said. “I don’t want to just bombard them with action figures and guns going off... That kind of science fiction never impressed me.”
Campanella, who has resided in Tucson since 1995, just published his new novel, Traglamoor’s Journey, in January. Described as a “social satire with a slight science fiction element,” the novel tells the story of a human-like alien race who send one of their own to investigate Earth. Free of “obsession with religion and government” on their own planet, the curious extraterrestrials encounter more turmoil than they bargained for.
The novel took Campanella, who cites Hermann Hess, Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury as his major influences, about two years to write and edit. Developing multi-dimensional characters and having them naturally “enter into the events” of the novel without revealing too much was the first step towards an authentic story.
“I never clearly define a character because when you meet a human being, you would never clearly define them until you get to know them,” Campanella said.
Dialogue has a strong presence in Traglamoor’s Journey as the main character explores the foreign terrain of the American Southwest (the novel, naturally, is mostly set in Tucson). Using Traglamoor’s perspective as a newcomer on Earth allowed a rare opportunity for humorous, unbiased social commentary, Campanella said, which he hopes will give his readers a break from the more pointed satire of political authors like Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter.
“[Traglamoor’s Journey] isn’t just shooting somebody down, it shoots everybody down,” Campanella joked. “People just need to read good books that make fun of ourselves for a bit.”
The same publisher that distributed Campanella’s last novel, Room for Madness, picked up Traglamoor’s Journey, which Campanella said helped him hit the ground running on his next project, titled Death of Illusion. The book envisions an entirely privatized society in the near future and the young people that rebel against the constrictions of that world.
Campanella will juggle the new novel with a small book signing tour for Traglamoor’s Journey in independent bookstores, traveling to Bisbee, Silver City and other small Southwestern towns. Official dates have not yet been disclosed, but interested readers may contact The Moon Publishing and Printing via their Wordpress site for more information on the novel.
The Kindle edition of Traglamoor’s Journey is now available on Amazon, and Campanella is working on a deal with Antigone Books to sell printed copies.
Traglamoor’s Journey; Nicholas Campanella; 308 pages; The Moon Publishing and Printing