Author: Michael Ferrence, 33, of Philadelphia and formerly of Hazleton, is a special-education teacher in Philadelphia who also plays rock music solo and in the band Slippery Cup.
Available: Through amazon.com for $4.99.
Suitable for: Mature young adult and up.
Characters: A melting pot of memorable characters, this book follows lead character Sam and his adventures.
Fellow characters include a girlfriend, son, various other family members, a comical bulk-food salesman, a stringy-haired, mandolin-playing slaughterhouse supervisor and a one-eared chef, among many others.
Plot: Sam's longtime girlfriend Marilyn storms out on him, taking their son Alex. Unable to locate them and overcome by deep sadness, Sam returns home to live with his father and embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
Question: This book is actually not new to you; you began it in 2005, and you just now published it. What happened?
Michael Ferrence: Between the time I finished it then and now, a lot had gone on. I went back to school, got a master's degree in education, changed a couple different jobs; I went from working at a center for autism to teaching in a school district in Philadelphia.
When I was at the autism center I met my wife, Julia, who encouraged me to get back to the book. I had been writing songs, recording things for the band I'm in, and I really just wanted to make a strong effort to get all of the things I had created out to the public.
Q: The setting for this book is based in Hazleton. Is that something the readers will know right off the bat?
MF: Oh definitely. I do make up some different names for well-known places there, but you can tell what I'm talking about. I talk about driving down 309, heading into Drums, things like that.
Q: Are your characters also based on real-life experiences?
MF: It's absolutely based on my own life with an imaginative twist. Some of the things the main character Sam gets into come from my experience.
The twist comes in with Sam's dad, who runs and operates a restaurant in New York City. There's a strong food and music element to it. My family has never owned a restaurant, so that's your twist, but I've been playing music for a long time, so of course I had to put that in there.
Q: You resolved to create and circulate this year. What else does that include besides this book?
MF: There are 50 or 60 songs I've written over the years, some of which I've played with the band or friends during shows, that I would like to do on my own. With a band you play something one way, but you play it totally different by yourself. I want to put out an album of those songs, just me and an electric guitar. I'm also working on a second book. It's not really a sequel to Realigned, but it does have the same characters and builds on them.