School of Communication adjunct professor Steve Piacente has released a prequel to his award-winning 2010 novel “Bella,” titled “Bootlicker.”
“Bella” is about a military widow who teams up with an investigative reporter to discover the truth behind her husband’s death.
Two years later, “Bella” has garnered popular acclaim and won the 2012 Readers Favorite Gold Medal for Dramatic Fiction. Piacente released “Bootlicker” on Sept. 29, featuring the same lead character Dan Patragno.
The prequel shifts the action to 1992, when Ike Washington, an African American candidate from South Carolina is poised to become the first black senator from that state since Reconstruction. Yet there lies a deep and disturbing secret that connects Ike and the senator that he is replacing.
Piacente says the book is about “guilt, hope and redemption.” He said that he usually writes about what he knows but that “Bootlicker” was a different case.
“I’m interested in what people do when no one is watching,” Piacente said.
Piacente’s background is in print journalism. He graduated from SOC in 1976 (even serving as the arts editor of The Eagle), which led him to a 25-year career in newspapers. Despite his writing background, writing fiction was a different and more difficult process altogether.
“They’re very different, like driving a car 40 miles an hour, then throwing it into reverse,” Piacente said. “I found that over the years, the most interesting parts of stories never made it into the story.”
As for the future, Piacente said that he has made a transition from creative writing to creative marketing for his books. He also mentioned the possibility of a third book in order to tie up some loose ends in both “Bella” and “Bootlicker.”