Thursday, April 17, 2014

LARP: The Battle for Verona by Justin Calderone: Guest Post


Artists are “inspired” by other artists, which really just means that they saw something someone else did, and either totally ripped off the idea, or, they took the idea and reworked it in a way that made it their own. Twilight was inspired by Dracula. The Hunger Games was inspired by stories and activities from ancient Rome.
My novel, LARP: The Battle for Verona, was inspired by Jack Kerouac and Bruce Springsteen. If you don’t know, Kerouac was a prominent post-war writer who hitchhiked across America in the 1940’s, and wrote novels about his adventures. The novels are sort of a mix of fiction and autobiography, and in them, Kerouac mythologized his friends.
Most everyone reading this knows Bruce Springsteen, the great poet of New Jersey. He is similar to Kerouac in that he mythologized his experiences, and his hometown. Both Kerouac and Springsteen are romantics, in that they romanticize their existence and experiences.
Is Verona exactly the way I describe it? Nope, probably not. But, it’s how I see it, how I remember it. In my mind, it’s a Rockwellian, Mayberry place that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a small town where I saw the same people every day, doing the same thing. We grew up together in the grocery store and post office.
I wanted to capture my hometown of Verona, PA, to preserve it for myself in my later years. I’m only 36, but the last 20 years have gone by so fast, that I don’t want to lose, or forget, any of it when I’m too old to remember.
And I wanted to share it with you, the reader, in a way that would hopefully make you smile sweetly about your hometown, too.


Sometimes even a geek can become a hero.

Dennis and his friends have been LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) since high school. Now, in his 20s, Dennis is seriously considering giving up LARPing for good. He's tired of dealing with his overzealous friend Mark; he's tired of his older brother Brad's constant put-downs; and he's tired of the fact that he doesn't have a girlfriend.

Check that.

Not a girlfriend, but the girlfriend. Alyssa--the one woman he's been pining over for years.

Dennis and his fellow LARPers have never been considered cool, in their small island community of Verona, located off the coast of Washington State.

But all of that is about to change . . .

While Dennis and his friends are attending a big LARP tournament on the mainland, a rogue terrorist group of Mongolians in medieval garb, led by an American madman, invade Verona and take its citizens hostage--including their families and friends.

When the LARPers find out what's happening in their home-town, they do what any dedicated LARPer would do: they put on their armor, strap on their swords, and fight their way home--LARP-style!




A writer with a passion for inspiring teens and young adults, Justin Calderone debuted his first novel LARP: The Battle for Verona in December 2012.
Calderone grew up in Verona, Penn., a suburb just northeast of Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from La Roche College and graduated from Gannon University with a master’s degree in education. Calderone is expected to graduate in 2014 with a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University.
Calderone, 36, began his journey as a writer nearly 20 years ago after reading Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. He is the author of the 2004 collection of contemporary poetry Revolutions.
An English teacher at his alma mater, Penn Hills High School, Calderone lives in his hometown of Verona with his wife Emily and 1-year-old son Sam. He enjoys watching baseball, listening to music and has a special place in his heart for Spiderman.

You can follow Justin Calderon on Twitter via @justincalderone.


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