Cliche as it may be, the saying “happiness is on the inside” couldn’t be more true. Although all three of my novels explore this theme, my forthcoming novel, A Very Wealthy Poor Man is all about the joy to be had from living on the inside. The Greco family matriarch, Donna, is the protagonist of this novel and we meet her at age thirteen in 1970, while she and her older brother, Vincent are listening to the Beatles last album, Let It Be. She sits listening to the music, gazing at Vincent’s paintings which cover his walls, admiring her older brother who taught her everything she knows about music. “It’s because of him that I know so much about cool music…. I’m pretty sure I’m the coolest eighth grade girl in the whole town, possibly the whole state of New Jersey.”

Vincent is someone who is truly able to live on the inside–a sort of Renaissance man, who paints and plays several musical instruments and studies philosophy and astronomy and loves Tolkien so much that when he meets a woman on the bus who claims to be an elf, he believes her! As a young girl, Donna recognizes and admires her brother but as time moves on, she begins to see him as unpragmatic and incapable of achieving happiness. Like so many people, she equates happiness with monetary success, with being married with children and pursuing a dignified career. She spends so much of her time and energy trying to get him to change and conform to the society in which we live. But in the end, he ends up saving her and giving her the insight and fortitude to seek a different path.

The novel moves through various decades and ends in the present day when Donna is a grandmother in her sixties and her children are in their twenties and thirties. For those of you who’ve read the previous two novels featuring the Grecos, Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees and Discovery of an Eagle, you’ll be very gratified to see what happens with the Grecos. You’ll find out if Silvia stays in Portland and if she pursues a career in art education, and if Cosmo becomes romantically involved with Emily. This prequel also shows Donna and Frank meeting and falling in love and her children becoming the adults you’ve met in the first two Greco family stories. You will see how Donna became the strong, beautiful woman she is and how she learned the invaluable lesson of living on the inside.

For those of you who haven’t read the previous two Greco family novels, the first one, Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees is available for free as an eBook from Amazon and all other online booksellers, and the second one, Discovery of an Eagle is available for free as an eBook when you sign up for my newsletter.