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This is a Special Mid-week Blog because October 3 is the anniversary of Sam Billuni’s birthday. As he is the model for one of my main characters—Sam DiFranco—in Journey to Marseilles, I thought it fitting to commemorate the day of his birth. Those of you—especially family members—who have finished reading the novel, will have, I’m sure, recognized some of Nano’s tales of World War II and his formative years in Detroit.

Sam and Tony

I’ve often heard that people who read non-fiction try to figure out what’s not true, and those who read novels try to figure what is true. One author I read about, when asked what’s true and not true in his novels, had the perfect answer: “I can’t tell you. The waters have become muddied.” That’s the way it is with me, but I can tell you that while most of the stories have at least a kernel of truth, some are all true, and some have many details that are true, Journey to Marseilles is a novel, and I have employed my author’s privilege to weave upon those tales, and many—like my brother and I did to a freshly painted garage wall once

Ma, Tony, Jock, Sam,

upon a time—have been thoroughly mud-splattered.

I have included some photos of Sam as a small boy with his mother (my Nana) and brothers, some with Mom (Rebecca) right after the war, and some of him as a young father. Alas, there are no wartime photos. Too busy dodging bullets, I imagine.

Sam and Betty (Rebecca) with Clairie (Zeke Prichard) and Nuddie

Sam and brother Tony just after WW2


Here’s a little teaser for you: I have begun work on my second novel, a follow-up to Journey to Marseilles, which will also feature Sam DiFranco as one of the main characters. Hopefully, this one won’t take me another six and a half years to complete.

Sam and sons


Sam and Betty w/ firstborn