She became a well known, award winning author with five nonfiction books, including "Ghosts Of Long Island" and "Ghosts Of Long Island II". Now KERRIANN FLANAGAN BROSKY has written her first fiction novel "THE MEDAL" and though it has just been released, it is getting rave reviews from around the world. The inspiring story that Kerriann has written involves lovable characters whom we all can relate to, Padre Pio ( one of today's most revered Saints) and a miracle that will not only surprise you but warm your heart at the same time. I spoke with Kerriann recently prior to the books release...
MICK: You've had great success writing non fiction books. Is fiction something you've always wanted to do?
KERRIANN: Yes it is something I've always wanted to do! I thought that having the background with non fiction would help further my career and people would take me seriously as a writer. I wanted to do a story that would be a good transition from what I was doing with ghost books and with Padre Pio it works well. His story adds mysticism. He had bi-location, he was psychic even though the church doesn't necessarily use that word. Based on my own knowledge from what I've read, he could read hearts, he could have that sense of knowing what people are thinking. So this story is a great progression for me. I combined a lot of history in this book as told from the character of Jimmy, in his language and his words. He talks about the life of Padre Pio. So this combines my love of history and my love of the paranormal that I worked into the novel.
MICK: When did you first learn about Padre Pio?
KERRIANN: The book is based on a lot of things that have happened to me. I have had a lot of paranormal experiences and I've had a lot of religious experiences too. My father had passed away seven years ago after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. I was born and raised as a Catholic and had a very religious background. When my father got this disease, I was thinking "Why? Why my father". This is a question that a lot of people ask in times like this. After seeing this illness taking over every once of his body and cutting his life short with my mother and the family. He was only 48 when he was diagnosed. My mother is three years younger. I started losing my own faith and starting questioning and doubting God. I became so upset that I said I wouldn't go to church anymore and just stopped believing. I never believed in miracles. The very next day, I was in a store in town and I ran into this man that I did not know. Out of nowhere, he said to me "Do you believe in miracles?" I'm now thinking that I was losing my mind. He started saying "Do you have someone in your life that is in need of help that is suffering with an illness?" Why is he asking me this? All of a sudden he started telling me about Padre Pio. I had never heard of him before. He told me to start doing research on him which I did. As time went on, every time I was suffering or had doubts, this man would sort of appear in my life. He gave me a medal of Padre Pio, a very old silver medal that has a relic in the back. He told me to give this to my father and have him wear it. My father wore it for three or four years. It helped him as much as it helped me. Every time he was in the hospital, there were several times when he almost died and pulled through. As time went on, my faith started to improve. My fathers condition would sometimes even get better! It was more about me at that point than it was about him. The book is written in the perspective of the caretaker. There are so many books that are about people that have the illnesses, and of course that is the most important thing. But so many overlook the role of the caretaker.
I was told by many people that it was a whole journey that I had been on.
I knew that it was still ultimately up to God if someone doesn't get cured. So when my father eventually did pass away, there was a miracle that took place in my life.
Two years later, I was in the same store where I met that man and he was suddenly there again! I had only written my first "Ghosts of Long Island" at that time. He told me "Mark my words, one day you will write a book about me". I had no idea what he was talking about. So as time went on, I started picking up things that I had to write a book on this subject. In "The Medal", the main character is Bethany Fitzpatrick and she is based on what I had experienced and what my mother had experienced, as the caretaker, in relation to my father's illness. In the book, Bethany's family came from money, they lived in Northport and had the perfect kind of family. She had gone to the culinary institute to become a pastry chef. She had this great job lined up in Manhattan and then her mother gets very sick. So she had to forego that to go home and care for her father. She ultimately opens a bakery and has to run it. But she's only in her late 20s and also has to care for her father, whom she loved beyond comprehension. It's not a normal life for someone that age and I have that conflict in the book. Her two friends have a totally different life and the character of Bethany doesn't fit in. Her friends go blank when it comes time to talk to her about her life because they don't understand. This is common for people who are caretakers. No one understands them; no one knows what to say. People say the wrong things or they ignore you. In the book, I am trying to stress that caretakers are not alone in feeling that every day you wonder what is going to happen, that they've given up their own life. She gets to that point in the book where she's given up and has a breakdown in her bakery. All of a sudden, this stranger appears who is reminiscent of a character from the Godfather. The bakery was locked so she doesn't know how he got in. He starts telling her about Padre Pio and the story unfolds from there.
MICK: Since this book has more of a universal appeal, will you be traveling around they country for book signings?
KERRIANN: I would like to. I've always been a Long Island girl and an author on Long Island. Last year, I came in third to Nelson DeMille in "the best of Long Island" for authors. With this book, it does have the potential to move outside of this area. So far, people of all ages and genres are raving about my book. I've already got two five star reviews from two totally different people whom I do not know!
MICK: When we spoke recently, you told me that you met a man here on Long Island that had a first hand encounter with Padre Pio.
KERRIANN: Yes I did and that was a huge turning point for me as well. I was learning about Padre Pio and things would come in my path unexpected.
One day, I went to a religious store to buy a communion gift. I paid for it and was looking around as she wrapped it up. When I got home, I opened the bag and with the gift, there was a flyer in there about this man Anthony Fuina who was doing a presentation in Bayville. It was about Padre Pio and it was a healing mass. I could not believe it was in my bag! I had to go! So I went to see this man and listened to his amazing story. His miracle with Padre Pio is one of the reasons that Pope John II declared Padre Pio a saint. There are a certain amount of requirements for a person to be made a saint. Anthony's was one of them. I not only heard him speak but also attended the healing mass. I was always very reserved about my religion and this was more of a charismatic experience. I was taken back by the whole thing with people falling back on the alter. I thought that is not going to be me! But it happened to me! I saw bright light and heard them speaking
in tongues. It was an amazing experience!
I woke up and there I was looking up at the ceiling in the church!
But Anthony Fuina is a very interesting man. He is alive and well all these years later and his life's work now is devoted to Padre Pio.
MICK: Have you ever seen that mystery man from store again?
KERRIANN: Yes I have. And the book is dedicated to him! He is very excited! I often wonder about him because he's an unlikely person but I owe him so much! He lifted me up many times when I needed lifting. He is also very Italian so I had a lot of fun making the character of "Jimmy" in the book because of the lingo and the language.
MICK: Are there any more fiction books in the future for you?
KERRIANN: I would hope so! I keep several journals with different story lines and it is things that are not necessarily paranormal or spiritual. It is definitely something I would like to continue. I often get asked if I will be writing a third "Ghosts of Long Island" book but as much as I would like that, I want to be able to move on and do something a little different. I have my radio show that keeps me in with the paranormal so that satisfies that need that I have. I really love non-fiction because I love the research and I love going out in the world interviewing and meeting people. It's a big change doing fiction because it is very reclusive. For "The Medal", I did have some research but it was nothing like what I had been doing. It was an adjustment. The book went through four revisions and three professional edits. The one thing I really enjoyed was I could create my own story and my own characters and I still found a way to include my interest with history to put that in with the life of Padre Pio. After doing five non-fiction books, I really want to move up into the fiction world. I think this is the book that can do it!
This book is more of a natural progression from non-fiction to fiction because of the subject matter. My fans expect this of me with books coming out in October so the timing of this could not have been better!
MICK: When will "The Medal" be officially released?
KERRIANN: The official release date was on September 23. We were at the Church of St. John the Baptist and that was Padre Pio's feast day! I did well. I sold 41 books in between Masses. I was really taken back emotionally by the whole day. People were coming up to me telling me the most amazing stories. One woman broke down at my table and reached across and started hugging me for writing the book. People were requesting the book in Spanish, French and Polish. Other people would come by my table, pick up the image I had on display of Padre Pio, kiss it and walk away. It was all quite overwhelming. The church was packed! I've gotten some incredible responses on Facebook and some Amazon reviews too!
On Friday, October 19, 2012,at 7:00pm Kerriann Will be at the BOOK REVUE
313 NEW YORK AVENUE HUNTINGTON NY Huntington, NY 11743 to discuss "The Medal
" and sign books. Don't miss this this wonderful evening with one of Long Island's most gifted and loved authors!