June 16th. A very special date for me, because today I’m launching the first Love at Lake George Novel, A TAMING SEASON. But I chose this date for another, even more special reason. Today was my father’s birthday.Frank Anthony Del Negro was born on June 16 over 90 years ago. I lost him in 2001.
They say time heals all, but I don’t think I ever really got over the loss of my Dad. In fact, I have lived every day of my life in his shadow, always wondering “what would Daddy say?” when I had a big decision to make. The day I got the contract on my very first published book, I actually picked up the phone and almost dialed him—his name and number were still in my contacts list, even though he’d been gone over ten years when that happened.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have his number in Heaven.
You see, my father holds a lot of the responsibility for my writing career. He was not an author, but a businessman, an entrepreneur with a Master’s degree who could speak five languages. He was brilliant, and his vocabulary never ceased to amaze me. I can clearly remember sitting at the kitchen table as my father would dictate an important letter to a client or colleague while my mother transcribed it into shorthand. Yes, shorthand! I was equally amazed at how she could later transform the series of squiggles and dots on the page to words on a typewriter.
But listening to my father craft sentences was magic. Even at the tender age of six or seven, I can remember sitting there, mesmerized, listening as he formulated a logical, yet poetic message with words I mostly didn’t understand. I knew better than to interrupt him. But afterward, I would often ask, “Daddy, what does that word mean?”
He is the reason I fell in love with words, and the intricate, artistic craft of putting them together in a special way. And it’s truly a shame I didn’t decide to pursue writing as a career until after he slipped away. I think . . . no, I know, he would be very proud of me.
So here’s to my Dad, just a few days before Father’s Day, on his special day. On my special day. Happy Birthday, Daddy.
And Daddy? I could never have come this far without you. Thank you. For everything.
Claire Gem writes contemporary romance, with or without a paranormal twist. Today she releases A TAMING SEASON, the first Love at Lake George Novel. Join her at the Facebook Launch party here, going on from 3-6 p.m. EST. You can find out more about her new release, as well as her other works, at www.emotionalcontemporaryromance.com.