About the Book
Mark Finley, happily married and father of two children, is now a shark. What’s worse, he’s now smack dab in the middle of the community pool, swimmers terrified, dashing for safety. You get the picture. But he’s a nice shark, quite unique actually. Bright as an orange and steeped in Hawaiian folklore. It’s a classic case of biting off more than you can chew. Yet, somehow, Mr. Finley must find a way to break a family curse and return to human form or he’s going to become a permanent fixture at his own aquarium.
About the Author
DiVitto is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. At age 13, he and his family relocated to Longboat Key, Florida where he quickly developed a fascination for sharks and other sea creatures. He later moved to New Jersey where he developed a taste for Taylor ham, egg, and cheese (salt, pepper, and ketchup always).
True story: One day while combing the beach for shells, he discovered an 18-inch hammerhead shark. Wanting to have the deceased fish stuffed, but finding the cost too expensive, he instead wrapped the shark in aluminum foil and strategically placed it in the back of the kitchen freezer, where his mom discovered it later. Somehow, she was not too surprised.
As a kid, DiVitto read everything from newspapers to cereal boxes and even loved the word Riboflavin way before Kramer blurted it out on Seinfeld. Up until ninth grade, he aspired of becoming a professional basketball player. Kelly worked briefly at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC and played bass guitar in a band (twice performing at famed CBGB) before spending way too much time employed at corporate-type jobs. He ventured to South Florida, eventually working for the Seminole Tribe of Florida where he managed a library before becoming the editor of their newspaper.
After joining the local library system, the idea of writing fiction fell into place. A co-worker started a monthly writers group that piqued his interest. During his desk shift, Kelly decided to sneak over and sit in one of the meetings. Weeks later after the instructor resigned, he took the reins. Through trial and error, DiVitto crafted his first short story titled, Go Fish. A dozen short stories later, he got the confidence and inspiration to begin his first novel.
DiVitto is the former editor for the Seminole Tribe of Florida newspaper and has a master’s degree in library science/media specialist from the University of South Florida. A certified diver, he is also a papier mache artist and instructor, creating everything from colorful sharks to super-sized Pop-Tarts. Check out DiVitto’s artist website at www.lopezkellyart.com.
He and his family have three adopted pets: a tortoiseshell cat named Bria, one insanely cute jet-black Schipperke dubbed Bree, who sheds so much she should be bald five times over, and a Shiba Inu named Sheba. And despite decades removed from his hometown of Cincinnati, he remains a die-hard Bengals fan. Who Dey!
Qn 1: Can you tell us more about your book What is it about?
Brooding in his office one day, Mark Finley notices a peculiar story on the Internet about an orange shark spotted in a remote Hawaiian lagoon. By the way, when in human form, Mr. Finley is in charge of the floundering Finley Aquarium in Beachside, Oregon. The former elementary school teacher took the reins after his older brother accepted a gig to run the brand-new aquarium up in Portland. Finley’s late grandfather, William, a famed marine biologist who founded the aquarium, wrote of such a shark decades ago while conducting research in that very location before mysteriously disappearing.
With attendance dwindling, Finley devised a plan to travel to Hawaii and capture the unknown species then proudly display it back home in hopes of reviving the family business. While diving solo, he encounters the fabled fish. It darts forward, nipping his hand. With help from the dive boat captain, he’s rushed to a local doctor, who, after removing the bandage, discovers the wound has miraculously healed.
Upon returning home, Finley starts experiencing comical werewolf-esque transformations. While visiting a popular fish market with his wife and two children, he intercepts a rainbow trout with his gaping maw as two fish mongers play catch. During a panic attack at the beach, he dives into the ocean, transforms, and ends up conversing with a wise-cracking remora. Later, total chaos ensues after he morphs into the orange (Alani) shark at the community pool. Finley is rescued then transported to the Finley Aquarium. With the help of friends in Hawaii, he discovers the only way to break the curse and return as a full-time human is to bite another person while in shark form. Sounds reasonable enough, until he learns it must be someone in his bloodline.
Ultimately, Finley is a story about a man who ends up ‘in the water’ rather than a fish ‘out of water.
Qn 2: Who do you think would be interested in this book, is it directed at any particular market?
Tween and early teens will enjoy the humorous twists and turns of Finley. If you’re a fan of sharks, perhaps talking sharks, Hawaii, and comedy films like Flubber, The Shaggy Dog, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, I think you’ll enjoy it. My publisher has asked me to write the screenplay ASAP as she wants to present it to Disney.
Qn 3: Out of all the books in the world, and all the authors, which are your favourite and why?
One of my favorite authors is Avi. He writes mostly juvenile/YA fiction. When I was earning my MLS degree from the University of South Florida, I had to write a report on an author. I selected Avi because I liked his writing; he’s also a former librarian turned author like me. He was definitely a role model and inspiration to becoming an author.
The Man Who Was Poe is one of his best. I love Avi’s description of the dreary city and characters. The story just clicked with me. I contacted him about signing by copy and he was more than happy to oblige. I enjoy Spencer Quinn too. He writes the Chet and Bernie mysteries. Another writer I enjoy is Les Standiford. He wrote The Man Who Invented Christmas and Last Train to Paradise about the Key West Railroad. Amazing story. Anthony Horowitz is a great British mystery writer. Richard Matheson and Stephen King are a couple of my favorite horror writers.
Qn 4: What guidance would you offer to someone new, or trying to enhance their writing?
Most of us work full-time so we have to fit our writing in whenever we can. It can be difficult, but you can do it. And remember, you can’t edit what you don’t write — so write. As for getting published, don’t get discouraged if you get turned down multiple times by agents and publishers. For me, I believed in my stories and that there was someone out there who would publish them. I developed a chip on my shoulder and was totally committed to getting published. Self-publishing is also a great option for aspiring writers.
Qn 5: Where can our readers find out more about you, do you have a website, or a way to be contacted?
Please visit my webpage at www.divittowrites.com I enjoy schmoozing about writing, films (from horror to independent), Cincy sports, Saabs, sharks, and papier-mache art. I look forward to hearing from you.