Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.
Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. The poor living conditions and ill-treatment in the German prison camps quickly convince Angelo he has to find a way out. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.
More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.
Thanks to D.M. Annechino for taking the time to give this interview.
What made you write a military book about WWII?
The desire to write this book didn’t blossom until my uncle died in 2010. During his entire life he never shared his story with anyone. The only facts the family knew were that he was captured by the Germans and he escaped. A week before my uncle died, he shared the whole story of his capture with his son, Steve, my cousin. When Steve told me the story, I immediately felt compelled to write a book about the horrific experience my uncle endured.
Your book is set in Italy. Have you ever been there?
Yes. My wife and I visited Italy a few years ago. We absolutely loved it! We started in Lake Como in Northern Italy and from there worked our way south to Milan, Assisi, Pompeii, Venice, Florence, Rome and many other cities. But the highlight of the trip was going to the picturesque town of Positano on the Amalfi Coast. It has to be one of the most romantic places on Earth!
If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?
The Bible, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy and The Green Mile by Stephan King.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
In my younger years, I didn’t read very much and didn’t discover my flair for writing until I was in my early forties. I wrote a couple of novels early on, but at best, they were rough drafts. I didn’t quite understand that writing novels was a combination of intrinsic creative talent and acquired technical skills. Learning these skills and incorporating them into your work is essential. I write because I have no choice. A painter paints; a musician plays; a singer sings. Not always because they want to, but more often than not, because they have to. Unless you’ve been blessed with an aptitude for an art form, it’s hard to relate. The only way I can explain it is to say that even if I never earned a single penny from my writing, I would still keep my fingers poised above the keyboard pounding away.
What advice would you give budding writers?
I think one of the most important lessons I learned is that rarely does a writer become an overnight success. It’s a long hard road. If you’re writing for fame and fortune, you might want to rethink your career path. Remember: Everyone is a critic. So you really need to have thick skin. The best advice I can offer any aspiring author is to accept the reality that rejection is the prerequisite to success. Even some of the most successful writers in history endured years of rejection long before they were recognized for their craft.
More About D.M. Annechino
Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.
A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.