For those of you who read my A Family Affair books, you can probably tell that one of my very favorite people is Angelo “Pop” Benito, otherwise known as the Godfather of Magdalena. He is a spry “senior citizen” who makes pizzelles, uses analogies tied to food and gardening, and never seems to age. Pop is full of wisdom, wit, and plain old common sense and uses all three to guide those in need because for him, it’s all about forgiveness, family, and second chances.
Pop exists in my mind and in my heart as a symbol of what my grandfather might be had I ever met him. I never knew either one of my grandfathers. Mom’s dad died when she was four and Dad’s passed when I was a young girl. Over the years I’ve watched and listened to other people interact with their grandfathers and I will admit, there is a certain longing and sadness that my siblings and I never had the opportunity to experience this. Maybe that’s why I created Pop Benito. He’s become the grandfather I always wanted. Fiction is a great way for a writer to tell a story and live the emotion of it.
As I finished A Family Affair: The Homecoming last year, I thought about Pop and the special place he holds in my heart, the one reserved for a grandfather.