Monday, February 10, 2014

Joseph M. Rinaldo, author of Valerie's Retreat

I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife and daughter. We like to go boating as a family, and I jog to stay fit. My daughter has Down syndrome and competes in Special Olympics powerlifting, bowling, and basketball. I'm an assistant basketball coach and helper "coach" for powerlifting. My arms are so tiny they make Barney Fife look strong.
The actual impetus for me to begin writing came while I was reading Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks. When I got to the part where he received a million-dollar advance, I thought, “Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.” I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

Title: Valerie's Retreat
Author: Joseph M. Rinaldo
ISBN: 9781492762621
Page count: 402
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Price: $7.99 Kindle $12.59 Paperback

Tell us about your book: Valerie's Retreat puts Valerie's crisis management skills on display. You'll get to know her pretty average life. Her job as the head teller at a bank, her one bedroom apartment, and her exceptionally lazy cat give the impression that she could be anyone you meet in your daily life. However, when things start to get rough, her first reaction is to run. An abusive childhood you learn about as the story proceeds left her with shaky decision-making skills. Franco, her boyfriend, doesn't know what the right answer is either. Between them they commit a little felony and leave the country.

How long did it take to write the book? That's harder to answer than one might think. I wrote the book in a few months, since I was working part-time. However, I reread/edited it twice, my wife edited it once, and we had a professional editor. Start to finish, all of that takes somewhere in the nine month range.

What inspired you to write the book? My background has a teeny influence on Valerie's Retreat. Valerie meets a man sixteen years her junior at a local church dance. My wife and I have the same age difference and met at the same kind of place. We still smile at each other when we drive by that dance hall/community center even after fourteen years of marriage. Dang, we're cute! Seriously, like my wife, Valerie is NOT a cougar on the prowl. We met long before anyone heard that term. Valerie wasn't searching for any kind of specific man, she just happened to find Franco. He happened to be younger, and neither of them cared.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Research interests me greatly. I don't really have a technique or process to writing; I sit down and type. The research for me falls into two categories: intentional and inadvertent. The intentional is obvious. You need a fact so you search it on the internet. Inadvertent is much more important and beneficial! Noticing the way friends, coworkers, strangers react in a variety of situations helps me develop characters and create plot twists better than anything written on the internet. Keeping my eyes and ears open in everyday life adds depth and meaning to my books.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book? I want the reader to follow Valerie's actions and have a strong reaction. Love her? Hate her? Think she's crazy? I'd do that, too? Everyone has different levels of tolerance, compassion, understanding… for the trials other people face. Valerie (and Franco, her boyfriend) face some pretty daunting situations. Valerie's abusive childhood left her few coping skills, but she's forty years old and able to think for herself. What do you, the reader, think about her behavior? I hope the readers think about this book long after they finish it.

Excerpt from book:
Valerie walked into her modest, nicely kept, one-bedroom apartment; a ten-minute drive from where she worked. Caesar immediately greeted her just inside the door.  She hoisted him up. "You’re the fattest kitty in the whole world." The tiger striped tabby cat came from the Animal Shelter and resembled anything but a kitten. "You’re also the best kitty in the whole world."
She began to change her clothes and pulled her cell phone out of her purse. The blinking red light indicated a message.
"Hey, Val! It’s Janet. You promised to come to the singles dance at Saint John the Baptist tonight. I’ll be by to pick you up at six-thirty unless you want to get a bite to eat before we go? I get home a little after five, so call me at home after five-fifteen or call me at work before five or on my cell phone between five and five-fif-" Valerie smiled, wondering when Janet would learn that the voicemail would, in fact, cut her off, regardless of the topic. Janet Knead pulled double-duty as Valerie’s best friend and Social Director.
She deleted the first message, and the second one played. "That cranky little mailbox of yours cut me off! I think you probably got the message of when and where to call me, so I’m going to hang up before your mailbox cuts me off again, and I have to call back to show that little spoiled piece of electronic whodads just who’s boss. Call me."
Valerie looked at Caesar, who had laid across her right foot while she listened to the messages.  "I’d rather stay home with you, but I promised I’d go." She reached down to rub his head.  As her fingertips approached, he rolled onto his back and stretched, exposing his belly.  "That’s my cute cuddly fat kitty."
Still only halfway out of the dress she wore to work, she grabbed the phone and went to her bedroom. She hit speed dial as she unzipped the back of the dress.  Janet answered on the first ring.
They exchanged greetings, and then Valerie asked, "Would you be disappointed if I didn’t go to that dance with you tonight?"
"I definitely would be disappointed! You need to get out of the apartment and do something fun," Janet chided.
"I know, but I had a really bad day at work, and I just don’t feel like it."
"What time is it?" Janet asked rhetorically, checking the digital clock on her office phone.
"Four twenty, you sure do keep banker’s hours."
Valerie laughed. "Yeah, working from ten till eight almost every day, including Saturdays, I might add, not to mention working one to five most Sundays, those are great hours.  Seriously, this working at an in-store branch is getting old."
"It’s great for the customers though. I get my banking and grocery shopping done all in one stop. Maybe I should write commercials for Community First National Bank!?" In her best radio voice Janet said, "Community First, where service and convenience aren’t in our name, but they’re in our heart."
"Wow! You should keep your day job," Valerie suggested.
"I will," Janet sighed. "Being an administrative assistant is my life. Well, anyway, I’ll pick you up for dinner, and we can discuss whether we’ll go to the dance or not."
Valerie laughed again. "If you’re driving, I know where we’ll end up."
"I’ll be there at five-thirty or six or abo-"
"Or whenever you get here," Valerie interjected for her unpunctual friend.
"Be dressed appropriately."
"Tight jeans with a shape-showing top?"
"That’s my plan!"
"Janet, that’s what you wear to work, to dance, to workout-"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, just be ready when I get there."

Where can we go to buy your book?
Ebook -
Paperback -

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
My website:
My blog:
Facebook author page:
Twitter handle: @jmrinaldo
Goodreads page:
Book trailer link:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this opportunity to promote my new book, Valerie's Retreat. I so appreciate the support of bloggers like you, and I am very proud to be featured here. Any of your followers/readers who would like a free chapter Valerie's Retreat to tantalize their "tastebuds" for the book are welcome to email me at Again, my sincere thanks. The interview looks GREAT!
    Joe Rinaldo