Today we travel to Hollywood to chat with Richard Rossi about how playing guitar in nightclubs, being a working actor, journaling longhand, “That Darn Cat”, synchronicity, and being a filmmaker come together as part of Richard’s past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I grew up in a musical family and I played guitar in nightclubs with my family as a boy to make money. I am currently in Hollywood finishing post-production on the film version of my recent novel “Canaan Land.”
In which genre do you write?
My latest novel, Canaan Land, is a faith-based love story, with both comedic and dramatic elements. It is currently available on Amazon as a novel, paperback, Kindle, and audiobook. It will be coming out as a movie at the end of this year.
How many published books do you have?
I’ve published four books. A coming-of-age novel, “Stick Man,” a self-help book for artists entitled “Create Your Life,” “Sister Aimee” about a 1920’s female faith healing evangelist, and “Canaan Land,” my latest novel about a con man preacher who falls in love with a woman who is a sincere Christian.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
As a boy I carried a notebook and wrote jokes and short stories. In my teen years, a creative writing teacher who recently passed, Jim Demcheck, poured gas on the flame and published some of my poems in a literary magazine. I also wrote songs as a teenager that had some success and performed them with my best friend and songwriting partner, Johnny Walker.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
My most recent novel, “Canaan Land,” came out of things I experienced or observed working in my young adult years in the world of charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. I saw real signs and wonders, but also was shocked to discover some of the biggest names in televangelism were faking the miracles, and this inspired me to write a story contrasting the fake with the genuine.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I am a working actor, filmmaker, and guitarist.
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
Writing has been a catharsis for me, very healing to let out my emotions, thoughts, and experiences. It truly is therapeutic and it is an art form I can do in solitude.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?
Yes, I journal longhand three or more pages every morning, to drain my brain of the initial thoughts and feelings I experience at the beginning of the day. This is a form of meditation for me and much of my writing and art comes out of this.
What do you miss about being a kid?
I miss the innocence and a time in which people were more fully present and not distracted from cellphones and technology.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
I watched one of my favorite movies when I was a boy, the 1965 Disney film “That Darn Cat” to regress and experience that childlike feeling again of innocence and good, clean, laughter and fun.
Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?
I have experienced synchronicity in which I feel like I was divinely guided, like having famous people cross my path who have helped me in my artistic journey. Sometimes I doubt divine providence when I see suffering, such as children abused by their parents and yet I know people who would make wonderful parents and are unable to conceive.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working with my colleague, Richard R. Krause Jr. finishing the editing of my movie “Canaan Land,” based on my latest novel. I’m also writing a sequel to my first novel “Stick Man” that is tentatively titled “Naked and Not Ashamed.”
It was wonderful learning more about you and your books, and upcoming movie! It was a pleasure having you on MTA, Richard. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla
“Canaan Land” Blurb:
“Canaan Land” is a love story between Brother Billy Gantry, a charismatic con man, phone psychic, and preacher, who falls for Sister Sara Sunday, a sincere Christian and beautiful evangelist. She seeks to redeem “Brother Billy,” who manipulates the flock with fake miracles, including a stunt with gold glitter and feathers he claims are from angels. He turns her small online ministry into a growing Tinseltown racket involving celebrity converts and sermons at the Hollywood Bowl. Can Billy quit the religious show to find true faith and redemption? “Canaan Land” is an unapologetic look at modern religion and televangelism based on the writer’s personal experiences as a former faith healing evangelist. The novel is also a Hollywood motion picture.
“Richard A. Rossi’s Canaan Land will certainly ruffle feathers and raise eyebrows in the Christian community. Although it was hard to swallow at times, I appreciated Rossi’s expose of the truth. This narrative depicts the verse “…wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13).” (Reader’s Favorite)
“Canaan Land, tops a list of most-anticipated independent novels and films. Rossi’s a former evangelist exorcising his own demons as he shares his journey from fundamentalism to freedom. Everything about Canaan Land is unique. It’s faith-based, yet edgy.” (Charisma Magazine)
“Canaan Land is not an attack on religion. It exposes the counterfeit to show the search for that which is pure, lovely, true.” (Christian Today)
Canaan Land website: https://www.canaanlandmovie.com
Canaan Land Trailer:
Richard Rossi Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Rossi/e/B004JYL9BM/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Canaan Land Facebook: https://facebook.com/canaanlandmovie
Canaan Land is on Instragram and Twitter @canaanlandmovie
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