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Last year Duluthian Nick Campanella made his authorial debut with Path of Affliction, a gritty, blood-soaked crime novel that takes place in his “shining city on a hill” hometown.
Today, Dec. 1, his follow-up novel, Order from Chaos, hits the streets, and, while his protagonist Frankie Buccetti and friends return, it is a decidedly different work.
“It basically picks up where the other one leaves off,” Campanella said.
However, both books stand alone, so you don’t have to read the first book to take up the second, but, of course, Campanella would prefer that you read both.
“Both are from a dream I had 10 or 12 years ago,” he said.
He first wrote that dream as a single book.
“The editor advised me, properly, that I should split the two and have a pure crime story, and then have this other dystopian, apocalyptic political drama as a second book,” Campanella said.
The action begins in 2017 with five American cities hit with nuclear explosions and a resulting loss of the power grid across the country. Tyrants take over the country, causing Frankie and his band of Duluth rebels to become freedom fighters.
Campanella said his story is not about the current political divisions in our country, but about the potential threats to the freedoms upon which this country was founded.
“This book explains the transformation or the nation from freedom into tyranny,” he said. “A lot of people love freedom, and then they see government as a potential threat in the future, and a lot of people are kind of worried about that. I try my hardest to not make it political at all. There is no mention of Democrat or Republican, left, right, anything like that. There’s the tyrants that want to depopulate the earth. And there’s also the deep state of freedom-loving patriots. It’s mainly the story through Frank, looking through his eyes and how he sees things.”
Like most of us, Campanella is a working stiff, putting in a 40-hour week in health care, working with independent living disabled folks. He finds the work rewarding, but, of course, can’t help thinking what it would be like to have the financial independence to just be a writer. And,more importantly, a writer based in Duluth, Minnesota.
“My editor, Lauren, kind of wanted me to have my books have like a Gotham City or something like that, you know, and she just said,’You don’t really want to have books about certain cities.’ But I disagree,” he said. “You’d be surprised of all the people I talk to from Duluth, they appreciate reading a book that takes place in their own town. Like, it’s nice to read about cold winters and ice and snow and stuff like that. I think a lot of people who aren’t from around here might appreciate what’s going on up north because, really, it’s a different world up here. I haven’t really traveled much, but we’re kind of in our little bubble here in Duluth.”
While Nick said you will be able to find his books at local independent book stores, he expects most sales to be online, and to that end he has done a little research to help his book gain traction, and Duluthians can help.
“I invented this thing called e-book bomb,” he said. “I basically dropped my e-book price to $1 so my friends that don’t read or don’t want to read this book, but they want to support me. they can invest, and I’ve researched on Amazon. if you sell 500 e-books in one day, then you’ll make the front page to top 100 on Amazon. And from there, you know, millions of people see that. I know 500 people is a lot to motivate. That’s going to be tough, but even if I get 100, it’ll be fun.”
Campanella is already hard at work on his third book about a serial killer – already titled The Revenge List – with a whole new cast of characters set right here in the Zenith City. It’s a story based on his schoolboy observations of a rude sad sack student being bullied. He takes the story 20 years forward, to a high school reunion where people start dying.
“You know, I’ll be happy to just get back to write crime fiction after this,” he said.
You can order his books and learn more at nickcampanella.com.