AMU student, Frank Delegato, plans to graduate next Fall, but he already has a jump start on his plans for after college. Delegato’s novel, A Time for Us, was published in December 2015. He has a second novel in production, with a projection that it will be available to the public by Christmas this year.
As a freshman, Delegato was a member of the Creative Writer’s Club. He also was in the Drama Club’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. “Since then, though, I haven’t really had much time for other student involvement, mostly because I’ve been working on two books,” he comments.
Delegato started to pursue publication after receiving encouragement from his professor, Dr. John Roy (Adjunct Instructor of Literature at Ave Maria University). “Dr. Roy is the reason I pursued publication,” he says. “He encouraged me and told me to keep going. I don’t think I would have sent in the manuscript without him.”
Dr. Roy himself says that he noticed “unusual ability” in Delegato’s essays, and encouraged him to practice writing every day. “The early drafts [of his first book] had sections that were especially compelling,” Roy remarks. He describes a passage from early on in the novel, where the town is expecting a train’s arrival. “This [passage] showed a surprising skill for him as a writer,” Roy explains, “to reach beyond the story into the consciousness and sub-consciousness of the readers with meaning. … [I]t signaled for me a remarkable talent to be nurtured and encouraged.”
Delegato says the title of his book, “A Time for Us,” is misleading. “It sounds like it would be a love story,” he explains, “but I initially wrote it as horror and, I guess, the title is more of a representation of what the two main characters will never have.” The novel takes as its premise the world created by Mary Shelley in Frankenstein. One hundred years after Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s successful experimentations in manufacturing human life, two doctors get a hold of Frankenstein’s notes. They try to recreate the experiments with the purpose of creating a cheap labor force. Like the original tale, the experiments quickly spin out of control and take on a life of their own.
Delegato’s cautionary tale is particularly relevant to medical technology today. He was inspired to write the novel after watching a television program on how Mary Shelley predicted medical technology with her book Frankenstein. In the program, a fertility doctor discussed how it is becoming increasingly possible to manipulate genetic material so that parents can choose the looks and abilities of their children. “I have never been as angry, in my life, as I was at that statement,” Delegato recalls. “To think that anyone would treat a child as a commodity like that.” He went to sleep that night and had a vivid dream. “The dream was the entire ending of my book, and I made no change to it,” he says. Interestingly enough, Shelley’s idea for Frankenstein was also born out of a dream.
To anyone looking to pursue writing and publication, Delegato urges them to be patient with themselves and with the process of writing. He also adds that what helped him was to place all of his hopes and anxieties in the hands of God. He would pray: “Lord, if you want me to do this, then you have to give me the desire, the time, the words, everything I need to do it. But if you do not want me to do it, then take the desire away.”
Dr. Roy says that, while he hasn’t directly discussed spirituality with Frank, it is clear that “the heights and depths of his religious experience have inspired him.”
What does Delegato hope will come of his first novel? “My hope is that people will come to understand the dignity of the human person, and that some things are meant to be left to God. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.”