Today’s Author Spotlight is featuring the co-authors of Lucy & the Lake Monster, a delightful children’s book and soon-to-be feature film that I have shared with you here before.
Multi-medium artist Richard Rossi was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After working in his hometown as a guitar-playing minister, he journeyed from scripture to script, migrating west on a three-thousand mile cross-country journey to Hollywood to pursue his interest in writing, acting and filmmaking.
FILM: Richard is an Academy Award-considered filmmaker. His feature dramatic film “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story” was voted one of the greatest guerrilla films of all-time and was nominated for best film in Milan. Richard’s second dramatic feature film “Baseball’s Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories,” tells the story of his childhood hero, Pittsburgh Pirate right fielder Roberto Clemente. His third film “Canaan Land” was released in 2021 and is based on his novel of the same title. It made the finalized list of films eligible for Oscar consideration for Best Picture. “Lucy and the Lake Monster,” his fourth feature dramatic film, is based on his third novel (of the same title), co-written with Kelly Tabor.
BOOKS: Rossi recently gave a radio interview about his popular books. “I wrote my first novel ‘Stick Man: The Long-Awaited Coming-of-Age Novel’ for my own catharsis and healing after my Dad died,” Rossi said. “I hope it brings some healing for others who have experienced loss or pain in life and love. My second book, ‘Create Your Life,’ came about organically without any intention of writing it. Creative people have contacted me over the years asking for advice and encouragement. I answered their questions in emails and blogs. I had an “Aha!” moment when I realized I had a couple hundred pages of material answering these questions artists asked me. I wrote a little more on the subject and organized it into the book ‘Create Your Life.’ “Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story'” is my third book, and contains my thoughts on the famous female faith-healing evangelist who was the subject of two of my movies. The book contains my screenplay from my feature dramatic film on her life. “Canaan Land” is my second novel and the film based on it is my third feature dramatic film I wrote and directed.” Richard’s third novel, ‘Lucy and the Lake Monster,’ is co-written with retired school teacher Kelly Tabor, and is destined to become a children’s classic, according to the front-page newspaper coverage it’s receiving.
MUSIC: Richard has written over 1,000 songs and his music is available wherever songs are streaming.
FAN CLUB: For more information, visit the International Richard Rossi Fan Club at http://www.richardrossistore.com
Kelly Tabor was a teacher for 32 years, teaching at schools in both North Carolina and South Carolina, including fourth grade at Paris Elementary School in Greenville.
In her decades as an elementary school teacher, Kelly Tabor entranced her students with so many stories she became known around Paris Elementary as The Storyteller.
Their favorites were the ones about Champ, the lake monster, who purportedly lives in Lake Champlain in the Adirondack Mountains between Vermont and New York State.
It’s an area she knows well, spending childhood summers looking for Champ with her Papa, not far from her family home in Crown Point, New York. Tabor grew up there, and at one time when she was a child believes she saw Champ swimming toward her while standing at her parents’ cabin on the lake.
She authored a bestselling book, called “Lucy and the Lake Monster,” with her friend and Hollywood filmmaker Richard Rossi.
The book is a fictional tale of Tabor’s life as a little girl searching for the Lake Champlain sea serpent known as “Champ.”
In the story, “the 9-year-old and her grandpa battle bullies, naysayers, and mercenary forces seeking to exploit them,” Tabor said. “Their search is an allegory for humanity’s spiritual search.
“A lot of people go through difficult times in their life,” Tabor said. “And this (story) will show different ways to help to overcome some of those obstacles,” she said.
She also hopes it helps children develop a love for reading.
And now the story is set to soon be released as a feature film, which she wrote with college friend Richard Rossi. It is based on the stories she told her students.
I also had the chance to ask the authors a few questions about themselves. I’m so happy to share that with you here.
What do you love most about writing?
RICHARD: I love writing, because it is a catharsis to put our feelings and experiences out there for others. It is a way to take different things we think about, experience, or observe, even the trials in life, and turn them into gold. We milk a hundred cows, but make our own butter. Writing is also very healing and inspiring, first to the writer, and then secondly as a meditation to others.
KELLY: I love the creative part, when things start coming together and developing.
What do you think readers will love about your books?
RICHARD: Readers of our book “Lucy & the Lake Monster” have told us that they feel inspired that they can overcome challenges, the way Lucy does in the story. It takes them to a magical time of childhood and remembering adults who were nurturing and encouraging to them, like maybe a grandparent, as was the case with Lucy and Papa in our novel.
KELLY: They enjoy the anticipation of what’s going to happen next, and rooting for underdogs like Lucy and Papa to succeed and have their victorious moments. Readers experience vicariously through the characters, the joy and happiness of overcoming obstacles.
Are you currently working on any new books or writing projects?
We are currently writing the second and third books in the “Lucy & the Lake Monster” series.
Where can people follow you online to learn more?
Do you have a favorite book or author?
RICHARD: I love authors of classic children’s literature, which inspired “Lucy & the Lake Monster.” This includes C.S. Lewis for the “Chronicles of Narnia,” Lewis Carroll for “Alice In Wonderland,” J.M. Barrie for “Peter Pan,” and L. Frank Baum for “The Wizard of Oz.”
KELLY: As a child, I liked “Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B. White. I also liked Janette Oke’s inspirational historical fiction, and Francine Rivers historical romance novel “Redeeming Love.” Another favorite is Kristiana Gregory’s historical fiction diaries for children.