Indie Author Spotlight: Paolo Ruggirello

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome back to Indie Author Spotlight by The Edifying Word, thank you for joining me for week two! Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing poet and fantasy novelist Paolo Ruggirello (who is also an editing client of mine, and an awesome one at that!). 


I first met Paolo on Twitter, when he was looking for an editor for his work-in-progress, a fantasy novel for which he plans to pursue traditional publishing. We’ve been working together for nine months or so now, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know him during this time. I admire his dedication to writing and his passion for his created world, but also respect the value he places on family and his respect for how my family impacts my work! I don’t think we have had a single correspondence where he didn’t mention his mom, his siblings, or his girlfriend. This is a big deal for me, a girl who as a kid got banned from trick-or-treating with “friends” because I talked about my family “too much.” I’m excited to be a part of Paolo’s publishing journey, and I encourage you to stay tuned in for updates.

Without further ado, meet Paolo Ruggirello!

How did you get started writing?

I started writing consistently when I was 20, which was when the universe in which my fantasy series takes place was born. I started writing when I was a little kid: when I was in first grade, my elementary school had a field trip to a publishing firm, where we got to have one of our books “published”. I wrote a terribly illustrated Batman book that my mom still has today, somewhere. Now I write because I must. Without it, my head would be too full. It’s hard to describe, but there’s something way deep down that calls to me, telling me to put my thoughts into words. I have no choice but to write.


So, aside from Batman, tell us about your writing!

I have one self-published book of poetry, Lover, which is inspired by my wonderful girlfriend. My upcoming debut novel from my fantasy series is currently being edited for publication.

Wow, you wrote and published a whole book of poetry for your girlfriend – she must be pretty awesome! There’s someone else awesome in your life, too, isn’t there? 

Yes! I have a budding babe due in about seven months (October). It’s really kicked me in the butt and motivated me to see my writing through, because now I’m not just doing it for me. I work full-time and just completed a coding course. I have one year of C++, Java, JavaScript, and ReactJS. I really love coding and building apps, so I’ll probably continue doing it even after my series is published.

You mention the book I’m editing is part of a series. What is your approach to the series – is it all planned out, or are you still waiting to “find out” what happens?

I like to allow my ideas to grow naturally, but the plot of the series is entirely mapped out at this point. My universe was initially written for use with tabletop role playing games (RPG), so the plots that occur in different time periods are centered around certain characters. This book series is based on a completed campaign, during which many unexpected things happened, things I didn’t plan at all. I usually plan the initial idea and allow my characters to take it to new and exciting places.

This is a fascinating method for developing a story. Do you plan any intersection between your writing and your programming passions? What are your upcoming projects?

In terms of writing, I am working on the sequel to the sequel to the book that is currently being edited. My brother has reprised his role as Miami in our tabletop game and Bertucio’s player is taking on a new character. It’ll be a lot of fun once it’s ready to read! As for Zubare part 2, I’m having a very hard time deciding on how to begin the book, but rest assured the plot has already been completed. It’s just waiting on an exciting beginning and some descriptive text. In terms of coding, I want to create a text-based browser RPG in the same universe as the books. Players of this browser game might even meet characters from the books!

Do you enjoy reading fantasy as much as you enjoy writing it? What are some of your favorite books?

My favorite genre to read is definitely fiction/fantasy. I find I’m mostly drawn to books that blend our world with fantasy elements, or completely new worlds of high- to mid-level fantasy. That being said, I also peruse many scholarly papers and nonfiction books on topics that interest me, if one comes across my path. I have so many good books on my bookshelf, but I’d have to say my favorites are the Charlie Bone series, by Jenny Nimmo; The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien; the Rowan of Rin series, by Emily Rodda; Shogun by James Clavell; the Arthur series by Kevin Crossley-Holland; and the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage.

What is your author dream?

My dream would be to be able to live off my writing so I can afford to dive into programming. I don’t know if I want to be the next Tolkien, but I definitely don’t want to be just another Joe Schmoe in an already overcrowded genre. Ultimately, I want to publish TV shows, video games, and movies set in my universe, as well as help other indie authors bring their projects to life.

Is there anything else you want readers to know about you? 

I’m a pretty open and logical thinker. I love questioning myself, others, and especially the universe around us. Also, I hate wearing hats.

His website is currently being built, but in the meantime you can connect with Paolo on Facebook (@piafantasy) and Twitter (@pia_fantasy). 


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Indie Author Spotlight: Carolyn Astfalk

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome to my first Indie Author Spotlight which I hope to make a weekly occurrence for at least the next ten weeks (because I have ten lovely authors who have agreed to chat with me!). Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Carolyn Astfalk, author of contemporary Catholic romance novels. If Catholic fiction isn’t your thing, don’t worry – come back next week for a completely different genre (you all should know by now that my reading tastes are eclectic)!


I have read and loved every one of Carolyn’s books – I even preordered her newest release, Come Back to Me, because I was THAT excited for it come out. While most of her books are written for adults, her very first book, Rightfully Ours, is a Young Adult romance most appropriate for older teens; I just read it this week and I’m truly considering making it mandatory reading for my kids when they’re older (I wrote a little about it here)!

So, I first gave Carolyn’s books a chance when I saw her promotional tweet that said something like, “Theology of the Body fiction with enough spice to keep it real.” The notion intrigued me, and I bought Stay with Me. I was not disappointed. It’s easy to read “Catholic romance” and think, “oh, this is gonna be about two perfect people living the perfect, chaste relationship and making it look easy.” I was so, so thrilled to find this is not the case. In each of her books, Carolyn has created real, relatable characters. Yes, they’re Catholic. No, they’re not perfect. They struggle, in life and in love. They’re tempted, they fall, and they get back up, ask for forgiveness, and try again. They are REAL people, living REAL lives, while trying their best, with the Grace of God, to live and love in the way He designed for us.

And now, meet Carolyn Astfalk!

When did you start writing?

Though I’ve been writing nonfiction of one sort or another my whole life, I started seriously writing fiction during National Novel Writing Month in 2010. It was a lark. Something to try while my husband was working out of town, and I only had two young children. I grew to love creating stories and molding them into novels.

Why do you write?

I write mainly to get the ideas in my head out and onto paper! I always had sort of a cinematic imagination, but I never knew what to do with it until I started writing novels. Once I found that outlet, it’s been hard not to write, though I’m greatly limited by the time I have available for it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Pantser with some plotter tendencies. I organize characters and the basis of the story in my head before I begin writing. I’ll let the plot and characters lead me, but there’s usually a point in the process when I need to take pen to paper in order to keep the timeline straight or organize chapters.

One of the things we have in common is being SAHM to four kids. How do you fit writing into parenting? 

It’s very hard to fit in writing around family and household duties. I wrote more during naps and playtime when my children were younger. As they’ve grown older, they are less physically dependent on me but continue to require at least as much of my time, just for different things. It was also simpler when I was only writing, not having to market my books. That takes a significant amount of time I’d otherwise devote to writing and revising. My husband is supportive of my writing generally, but not in the way of helping me devote time to it. That’s mine to manage.

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?

I have two novels in progress, both contemporary Catholic romance, although one is a bit more women’s fiction. After that, there’s a Young Adult novel tied to the characters in one of my short stories published with Catholic Teen Books that I’m aching to write.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Favorite books?

I like to read a variety of genres, including classics, Young Adult, and historical fiction, but I always come back to Catholic and Christian contemporary novels, particularly romances that have some depth. Here are a few of my favorite books by author friends:

Besides reading and writing, do you have any other hobbies?

I’d love to return to some old hobbies, like playing the piano and doing calligraphy, but right now I lack the time – and a piano. I’d also like to have my daughter teach me how to crochet. Maybe someday!

What is your author dream?

I’ve really tried to temper some delusions I had about success early on. I’d just like my books to find themselves in the hands of those for whom God intended them. I’d also love to have more Catholics become aware of and take an interest in fiction being written by contemporary Catholic authors.

What do you want readers to know about you?

If they know anything about me, I’d like them to think of me as a proponent of Catholic authors, someone who is doing her little part to share the good work that others are doing and is trying to share hope and faith through her own stories.

Learn more about Carolyn Astfalk at her website,, buy her books from her Amazon author page, and find her in the following places:


Twitter: @cmastfalk








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