Interview with DiVitto Kelly
Author of Summer of the Shark
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How would you describe Summer of the Shark to a new reader?
- Summer of the Shark is a mid-seventies, nostalgic first-person account of 12-year-old Ryan Sullivan's iconic vacation and the two significant events that occurred one year later: his Cincinnati Reds capturing the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in dramatic seventh-game fashion, and the debut of his favorite movie of all time, Jaws. Reminiscing on his childhood, Ryan Sullivan concludes that 1975 to be his favorite year.
What was the inspiration behind Summer of the Shark?
- I definitely have a fondness for the film Jaws, sharks, and of course my Cincinnati Reds. My thoughts were how to incorporate these things into a story. I'm happy with the result.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- One of my favorite authors is Avi. Although I still work in libraries, he is a former librarian turned successful writer. My favorite book by him is The Man Who Was Poe. I also enjoy Spencer Quinn, Ernest Hemingway, and Stephen King. Things I've learned is to not pontificate too much and just get to the story. Write like you speak.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- The novel takes place in two main locations: my former home town of Cincinnati and Martha's Vineyard. I know there were a lot of issues filming the movie Jaws, but what a beautiful locale. I had fun doing the research.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Join a writers group and start with short stories. I t won't seem like such a daunting task to write 2-3K words. From there, get those ideas percolating. Don't edit while you write; you'll get bogged down. Get into a flow and edit later. Last but not least, write. You can't edit what you don't write.
What's your writing process?
- I work full time so I pick my moments here and there to write. In the evening is good. I must admit sometimes when I'm on the reference desk and things are slow, I'll start jotting down ideas on a spiral notebook. You never know when the ideas will hit you.
Which character in Summer of the Shark has had the greatest impact on readers?
- I would say the grandfather, Arthur 'Artie' Sullivan. He drives a cool car, a cool job (he owns a music store), and enjoys his life. Unfortunately, tragedy will hit him.
If Summer of the Shark were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye when you wrote him/her?
- I can definitely see it as a film. As for the main characters, I could see Emjay Anthony as the boy, but he's a bit older now. He was great in Krampus. As for Artie, maybe Kurt Russell or Gabriel Byrne?
How have readers responded to Summer of the Shark?
- So far it's been very positive. I would love to do interviews and book talks. I enjoy schmoozing with people.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- My current work in progress is Sol, a vampire tale set in late 1970's Miami Beach. I've also developed a television show based on my warped experiences of working in a public library. The pilot episode is completed and I'm working on the second.
On June 20, 1975, the summer blockbuster was born. The movie was Jaws. Forty-five years later, author DiVitto Kelly taps into the nostalgia of the mid-70s, Jaws, and perhaps the greatest World Series ever played between the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox with the release of his new YA novel, Summer of the Shark.
It’s 1974 and school’s out for 12-year-old Ryan Sullivan, only he won’t be spending it in his hometown of Madison Hill, Ohio. No playing baseball with friends, riding bikes, or going to Reds games at cookie-cutter Riverfront Stadium. Instead, he’ll be visiting his grandfather, Arthur ‘Artie’ Sullivan, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard for the whole summer.
And during his stay, Ryan will discover the joys of eating “lobstah,” snag a foul ball at a Red Sox game, survive not one, but two, great white shark attacks, and along with his grandfather, become hired extras in the movie, Jaws, which is being filmed on location. Ryan even meets a girl his age, Veronica, who not only digs baseball, but loves monster movies as much as he does.
Filled with humor, drama, and the flavor of Martha’s Vineyard, Summer of the Shark is a mid-seventies, nostalgic first-person account of Ryan’s iconic vacation and the two significant events that occurred one year later: his Cincinnati Reds capturing the World Series over Artie’s Boston Red Sox in dramatic seventh-game fashion, and the debut of his favorite movie of all time, Jaws. Reminiscing on his childhood, Ryan Sullivan concludes that 1975 to be his favorite year.