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Are You Ready?

To explore and question your own views on faith, hope forgiveness and the afterlife.

On a typical weekday morning in a peaceful suburb of Akron, Ohio, the town awakes to discover that Rachel Turner and her son Evan have been brutally murdered during the night. A short while later, Danny Turner is found in his car at the bottom of a ravine, after having taken his own life. Any explanation as to why a loving father and husband would suddenly commit a series of such heinous crime has gone to the grave with the accused.

The mystery only deepens as the details of the murders emerge, and evidence of premeditation as well as Danny’s hidden past are revealed.

Subsequently, Rachel’s closest friend, Carolyn Bianci sinks into a deep depression, while her husband, Mitch, copes with the despair by attempting to uncover the facts of the crime. Eventually they encounter Joanna Larson, a fascinating woman who possesses extraordinary spiritual gifts. Through Joanna, the truth about the events that took place the night of the murders is unveiled. The answers Mitch and Carolyn get are beyond their human understanding.

Inspired by true events, The Ravine is a story of faith, forgiveness, and most of all, the restoration of hope – even for the most seemingly unredeemable among us.

Question and Answer with Author Robert Pascuzzi

THE RAVINE: a Novel of Evil, Hope and the Afterlife

What is the background to this novel that is based on a true story?
I had a close friend who, tragically, murdered his wife and son, then took his own life by driving his vehicle into a deep ravine (thus the name of the book). Our families were very close. It was a shock to so many people. Nobody saw it coming. We have our own theories, but to this day, we have no concrete explanation.

How did the events affect your family, and how was it depicted in the novel?
Obviously, it was devastating for the whole family. Not only was it very confusing and disturbing to my wife and me, but it was even more difficult for our kids to understand.  How do you explain something like this to your children? This was my wife’s best friend, since sixth grade, and our kids were very close friends.  In that respect, the story is accurate in the book.

How did you and your family cope with the loss of close friends?
After some time had passed, something stirred inside me. I felt a calling to begin telling the story and sharing our message. I also wanted to find the truth about what happened. We were left with so many unanswered questions and Joanna helped us gain a sense of peace. I thought I would find something tangible that would connect the dots.  Instead I found a deeper meaning.

Why write a book?
My wife and I felt that even if we helped only one family by writing this book, it would be worth the time and effort. I felt an obligation to put the story down on paper for others to read. It was not about detailing the events of the crime. It was about helping others cope with their struggles and find inner peace.

Was the book easy to produce?
It was certainly a challenge and it didn’t happen easily.  By trade, I’m an entrepreneur, but this has become my calling. I knew I had to see the project to completion.

You talk about forgiveness, is that the main theme of the book?
Forgiveness is the central theme. Before this all happened, I understood the concept of forgiveness, but I wasn’t truly living it. The book challenges the reader to question what they think they know about forgiveness.

Are there other pervasive themes?
Well, certainly there is a theme of hope.  In every tragedy there is something positive that can be found, if we look for it.  Another element is, and I think it’s central, there is darkness in our world.  We must stand guard at the door of our mind.  Danny struggled with this and, over time, the darkness won.

You have spread the word beyond the book as well?
I have responded to invitations to speak to a variety of groups; churches and schools, as well as prisons. My message resonates with the incarcerated.  Some of the most powerful responses have come from inmates.

Are there more books in your future?
The short answer is, yes, I believe there are. I don’t think we are asked to stop sharing God’s messages. This is the platform He has led me to use to reach others. Why did He choose me? I don’t know. But I do know I have a passion to help others who are searching for answers.

The story hits very close to home, yet you provide few details. Why?
This story just provides the platform for God’s message. Although who is involved, and what happened, are personally important to me, that part is not important to the reader. The book shares a universal message that, I hope, will be an inspiration to many people. Like most works of fiction, some of the events we write about actually happened, and that’s what happened here. However, the story is only loosely based on those events. It is the starting point from which I invented the story.

Where is the book available?
THE RAVINE is being released nationally through Midpoint Trade Books. It is available online and wherever books are sold in the greater Kansas City metropolitan region including Lawrence, Topeka and St. Joseph. For a limited time, through the end of October, a special promotion is being offered where an e-book version can be purchased for 99 cents on Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.