Local author publishes first book
by The Press and Standard | August 16, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: August 15, 2018 at 9:30 am
The setting is Pompeii, Italy. An Italian police officer and an American archeologist fall in love, but a nemesis from the officer’s past tries to tear them apart.
“Love in the Ruins,” written by Walterboro resident Jackie Dasen, has all the ups and downs of a classic romance novel, including the ending where “love prevails.”
Dasen’s first published book, “Love in the Ruins” came out this summer under the pen name Josie Naclerio — a tribute to her Italian grandmother. She started the novel last summer after her third trip to Italy, where she discovered she still has family. “We actually spend a day with my mother’s side of the family at the family villa. She passed when my mom was seven, so I never got to meet her,” she said. “It was just wonderful. Even the language barrier didn’t make a difference. It was just a great day. And it was something I’ll never forget because I felt that it put me in touch with my grandmother, even though I never got the chance to meet her. Making that connection with my Italian roots really inspired me.”
So she thought “What better way to honor my grandmother than to use her name as my pen name?” Plus, Josie Naclerio sounded like a romance author’s name.
The book is not the first novel Dasen has written, however. Just the first one she’s actually published. “I was really hesitant to take that first step to self-publish it because I was very self conscious about putting something out there,” she said. She self-published because “I didn’t have the confidence to go through a regular publisher.” But after much encouragement from numerous friends and husband Ken Dasen (who is assistant police chief at Edisto Beach), she decided to go for it.
“So far it’s gotten good reviews. I’ve even had a couple of people tell me it should become a movie,” she said.
Dasen began writing just for fun years ago, and has a number of novels in various stages of completion. She’s inspired to write by little things — a song, a tv show. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” she said. Her first book (which is completed but never published) starting forming in her mind while she and Ken were watching a police show. “So I went to the back room one night and started writing out this story.”
Writing a book is a lot of work, involving lots of research on the internet, calling people to verify facts, including relatives in Italy, a friend in Australia (who’s also an author) and consulting with Ken about the accuracy of crime scenes. For instance, she took a lot of time to make sure “if you went there and walked there, you could say, ‘Oh, that’s where Gian and Rebecca (main characters in “Love in the Ruins) walked. You’d feel like you’re connected to them.”
She usually writes after work, said Dasen, who’s worked at Walterboro Eyecare for 22 years. “On the weekends, a lot of times I’ll sit up until 12:30-1 o’clock. Most of the time, I write my best dialogue after I go to bed, so I have a notebook that sits next to my bedside. I’ll lay down, I’ll be tired and all of a sudden, this dialogue just starts coming through my head. I just have to write it while it’s there.”
All of her books have law enforcement officers as one of the main characters — a DEA agent, a border patrol agent, the Carabinieri (Italian police) — with settings from Charleston to California. The next book she plans to publish, “Empire of Love,” is set in ancient Rome.
“Love in the Ruins” is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.
Copies will also be available at a book signing planned Wednesday Aug. 22 starting at 5 p.m. at Carmine’s Trattoria on Washington Street. Books will be $10, including a free glass of wine.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jackie Dasen was born in Port Jervis, N.Y. and grew up in Albany, N.Y. She moved to Walterboro in 1996 and has worked for Walterboro Eyecare for 22 years.
She took her pen name, Josie Naclerio, from her grandmother, the daughter of Italian immigrants. Fascinated with her Italian heritage, Jackie has taken three trips to Italy to visit relatives there and study the culture.
Husband Ken Dasen is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. After retiring from the Air Force while at Charleston AFB, he was an officer with the Walterboro Police Department before taking his current position as assistant chief of police at Edisto Beach.
The two met through Jackie’s best friend, Tasha, who was dating Ken’s partner, Brad, at the WPD. “We’d stopped at the police department one night after a movie, and Tasha ran in to see Brad while I was sitting in the parking lot in the car, in the dark, with the car running. Ken had always told Tasha not to leave her car running because someone could take off with it.
“Well, he hopped in the car with me and drove it around and parked it in the back of the police station. And I’m like ‘Buddy, I don’t care if you’re in uniform or not. You put one hand on me and I’m going to knock you out.’”
After that, the two just started talking and after he volunteered to put mud flaps on her new Nissan, they started dating.
Today, 18 years after they got married, Ken’s graduated from installing mud flaps to reading novels. “I have to give Ken a pat on the back. He offered to read the book (“Love in the Ruins”) before I got ready to publish it, and bless his heart, he read the whole thing,” Jackie said.
Archaeologist, Rebecca Walker has been granted the job of a lifetime — to work in the ruins of Pompeii — her dream since she first visited the ancient site. A week later she arrives in the small town, excited for this new chapter in her life.
Gian Caravello, back from several years overseas fighting against terrorist insurgents and weary of bloodshed, plans to see out his career with the Carabinieri in his hometown.
A forgotten backpack, and an unwelcome phone call bring the two together and their attraction is undeniable. The more time they spend together, the deeper they fall, but as Vesuvius once threatened Pompeii, a terrible danger stalks the couple and a ghost from Gian’s past is intent on wreaking revenge.
In a place where past and present collide, can Gian and Rebecca survive, or will their love end up in ruins?