When Christopher Castellani was growing up, “there were no books in our house. Zero.” And then, one day, in fifth grade …
Before we reveal what happened in elementary school that set Castellani on a writer’s path, we have some fertile ground to cover – beginning with the cover of his latest novel, Leading Men.
It caught the attention of the team at Late Night With Seth Meyers – which is why our conversation begins with an excerpt of that show’s hysterical segment with Fred Armisen called "Fred Judges A Book By Its Cover," followed by the real backstory of the cover.
And that leads us to the substance of Leading Men, which is based on the true story of Tennessee Williams and his partner, a young Italian-American man named Frank Merlo. We explore Castellani’s main interest as a writer -- “the many ways people love and hurt each other, especially in families and romantic relationships.” We discuss where his research for the book ended, and his imagination began.
OK, but what happened in fifth grade that, in Castellani’s words, “changed the trajectory of my life?”
You really think we’d give that away in the introduction?