When Marco Muzzi sat down two years ago in Planet Bean to write his first novel The Restless Night he re-opened a mysterious chapter in his life that began many years ago and many miles away.
“I have a bucket list of things in life I want to accomplish and this was high on it ever since I was a kid,” said Muzzi. “My Grade 8 teacher told me I should pursue writing as a career and I kind of ignored her but I kept having all these creative ideas. Finally I said I should just do this just for the experience and the process of following through with it and I fell in love with it, really.”
Muzzi honed his literary skills over the last 10 years working as a software marketer and writing articles for industry publications such as Techvibes and Adweek.
“People around marketing would always ask me, ‘Do you consider yourself a writer?’,” said Muzzi. “I would say no I’m not a writer. I’m a marketer. But now I’m like, shoot ya. I always was and always will be.”
Muzzi was born in Sault Ste Marie to a large extended Italian family. His grandparents on both sides immigrated to the area from Calabria, Italy to work in the steel industry. When he was young his grandfather died of cancer and some time after that thieves broke into the home of his widowed grandmother and made off with his grandfather’s treasured coin collection.
“He kept this big safe in his bedroom full of coins from all over the world,” said Muzzi. “He was a soldier in the Italian military for a while so he would have seen a few different countries. It was a shame and they never found out who did it.”
The mystery had a lasting impact on Muzzi and he carried the memories with him long after he moved away from his childhood home.
“My family moved down here when I was 15 so, I went to the new Bishop Mac for high school and then University of Guelph for marketing,” he said. “I have made a career in marketing for myself so, that is kind of my day job.”
He works for mathematics software company Maplesoft in Waterloo now but before that he was part of a number of startups including a successful software company in Toronto. The three-hour commute between Guelph and Toronto each day was fertile time for his dramatic childhood memories to mix with his active imagination.
“This whole plot unfolded about this young man who actually comes in and finds his grandfather has been murdered,” said Muzzi. “They killed him and took the coins. A decade passes and they don’t actually find the killer and he’s very traumatized and haunted by this. He decides, as a policeman, to go out and solve this crime himself.”
The fictional story from The Restless Night takes place in Sault Ste Marie and draws heavily on the factual people and places that contributed to Muzzi’s most formative experiences.
“I wanted to pay tribute to my grandfather in a way,” he said. “His character is not in it for a long time and it’s not his name but it is him. Actually, all the characters are friends and family for the most part. Again, the names are different but they are all inspired by people that I know.”
Most of his family lives in Sault Ste Marie and they threw a large party in one of the city’s most popular Italian halls, the Marconi Club Lounge, at the end of August to celebrate the launch of the book.
“They love it,” said Muzzi. “I have a big supportive family and everyone has gotten behind it. A lot of them are serving as salesmen and women selling it to their friends so, it’s been really, really great.”
He will be reading excerpts from the book and signing copies in downtown Guelph at the Bookshelf from 2 – 3 pm, Sunday Dec 9.
“I finished writing the manuscript right here in Planet Bean in February of this year,” said Muzzi. “I hired an editor and went through the editing process and published it all in July. This is my first local event since publishing so, it will be nice to bring it home in a sense.”