RICHMOND – An avid reader who has always wanted to try writing has produced her first book – the factual, fictional story of her grandmother’s life.
And next for new author Joan Farchione McGlone of Richmond is her first book signing event for “The House on Seventh Street.”
It’s happening at the BookMarx Bookstore, located at 181 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, from 6-8 p.m. Friday when the Harmonium Project First Fridays launch on Fourth Street for the 2022 season.
McGlone will distribute free bookmarks while supplies last and sign copies of his book, the back cover of which reads in part, “Nina doesn’t know what to expect when she is forced into an arranged marriage with Angelo Taglieri. But she finds herself a loving wife and mother in Steubenville, Ohio. Angelo protects and shelters them from the brutal gangsters of the city. When he dies, leaving them with a mountain of debt, she must find a job.
Born and raised in Steubenville, McGlone is the youngest of five children who attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville, earning a degree in political science and a minor in communications.
“I have always enjoyed writing and was editor of the Baronette, the campus newspaper, for a few years. One of my first jobs was for Patrick O’Hara at Tri-County News and Sports,” she explained. She and her husband, Mark, who have been married since 1982, have three adult children – Sarah, Steven and Brian – and seven grandchildren.
As a stay-at-home mom, McGlone said she volunteered at Richmond Elementary School, where her children attended. “I wrote the school newsletter which went home periodically and was involved in the PTO. Once they were all in school, I went to work at my alma mater, Franciscan University,” she added. There, she worked in different departments over the years, including alumni relations, advancement, student life, and academic affairs.
“Writing is something I have always loved” McGlone commented. “As a student at Catholic Central, I was lucky enough to have Mary Antoinette Sunyoger for the English class. She was so passionate about writing that it ignited that passion in me.
The love of reading combined with the desire to write would become what constituted a “bucket list” pursuit.
“When I left work to babysit my grandchildren, my sister Sandy gave me a blank journal and said, ‘Now you have time to write that book you’ve always wanted to write. ‘ I don’t know what happened to this diary, but I finally wrote this book. McGlone noted.
This pursuit was fueled by a visit from a cousin from Michigan, whom she was surprised to learn had written and published a novel himself.
“We had a long discussion about writing, and he encouraged me to give it a try”, she explained, recalling her advice to “write about what you know.”
“When he got home I thought, why not give it a try, but that thought was intimidating,” she admitted.
“I kept thinking about the story of my mother and my grandmother. My siblings and I always told my grandmother that her life story could be a bestseller. Her first marriage was arranged and her second marriage was to an alcoholic who beat and abused her. My mother witnessed all of this. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I knew some parts of the story would be difficult to write, but I was convinced it was a story that needed to be told. she explained.
“Growing up, our grandmother seemed to push us away – there were times when we couldn’t visit her. She didn’t want us to witness the abuse. As a child, I didn’t understand. But as an adult , I now realize the depth of her love for us. She loved us so much that she pushed us away to protect us,” McGlone commented.
“What started as a book about my mother and grandmother became my grandmother’s story. I have chapters written from my mother’s perspective, but it got too hard to write once it got to a certain point. she continued. “I did tons of research at the library and online, using ancestry.com, the Herald-Star and census records. I talked to and interviewed as many people as I could who knew my grandmother and his situation “, she says.
“Even though it’s the story of my grandmother’s life, there is fiction in the book. Interestingly, I learned through my research that her first name was Annina, something I never knew. I changed the names of some people and the name of some places in the book,” she added.
McGlone described her grandmother as “a strong woman who led a difficult life, endured many hardships and overcame an abusive marriage to find a life of peace and love with her children and grandchildren.”
“The House on Seventh Street” is self-published via Amazon and available in print and Kindle e-reader. The paperback version costs $8.99 and the Kindle version is $4.99, according to McGlone, who said she would donate copies to the Steubenville and Jefferson County Public Library.
McGlone thinks her book will resonate with locals because it could be, she pointed out, anyone’s grandmother’s story.
“Nina is a devoted girl and marries a man she doesn’t know because that’s what her parents arranged. McGlone proposed. “She falls in love with her husband and then is devastated when he dies. Faced with a difficult life without him, Nina must make difficult decisions. She meets a man she thinks is a kindred spirit and marries him but realizes too late that he is a gangster. He beats and abuses her, and she sacrifices a lot to survive.
The local woman’s interest in writing includes membership in the Tri-State Writers Society. “We meet monthly to encourage each other in the pursuit of our literary goals. It’s a great group of people.” commented McGlone, who virtually meets in June with a group of women from Hilton Head, North Carolina, who read the book as part of their monthly book club.
“The House on Seventh Street” will apparently have company.
“I am currently looking for my next novel. It is a murder mystery and takes place in Steubenville. Some characters from ‘The House on Seventh Street’ appear in the next book,” McGlone said.