By Randall Barnes
As a young entrepreneur, I love media about business. Shows such as “Survivor’s Remorse”, “Shark Tank”, “Black-ish” and “Being Mary Jane” entertain and motivate me to reach for the stars because success is possible no matter where you come from. But, where are the “Business Fiction” novels? Where are the books that takes the elements of the corporate world and make it entertaining? Where are the books about the business of the publishing and entertainment industry that are filled with eye-catching drama but still has enlightening content that makes you think? Rich Marcello has the answer to my questions with his new novel “Beauty In The Fall”.
“Beauty In The Fall” covers the unfortunate life of main character Dan Underlight, tech entrepreneur and create of the “RadioRadio” company. Dan is a realistic character, as he is flawed and the hardships of life have overtaken him. His ten-year old son tragically passed away and his long-time friend and business partner forces him out of RadioRadio. He feels alone, isolating himself from the world. His mind became a prison full of anxiety, doubt and worry.
Dan eventually garners help from Willow, a domestic violence survivor, and he moves ahead in his life, determined to make change. This novel is a direct reflection of life. Sure, sometimes life takes us on twists and turns that are unexpected but we have to power through. That’s what being a man is. Quite frankly, that’s what being an adult is. I love this novel and it definitely should spark a trend in the industry where authors start to write novels with an overall purpose that focuses on business. Recently, I had a chance to talk with author Rich Marcello about the novel.
RB: Tell us about your new novel Beauty of the Fall.
Rich: The Beauty of the Fall follows Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, who suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires him from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, things don’t go well for Dan. He crashes and isolates himself, and for a time believes his life is over.
Then Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, to figure out how he wants to move forward with his life. When he returns, he recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change, a company that is the world’s first Problem Solving Network.
Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts which I won’t give away now. Suffice it to say that not everyone is excited about Dan’s company the way he is. As a result, there are a lot of twists and turns as Dan tries to build his company.
RB: Did the novel come from any real life experiences?
Rich: In a way, all of my novels come from real life experience but almost never directly. I’m a believer in the idea that the best fiction comes from dreams, and so, to the extent that my real experiences inform my dreams, they inform TBOTF. Or stated differently, there isn’t a scene in the TBOTF that happened in my life or anyone else’s life that I know, but there are fragments of real life throughout the book.
RB: In the novel, Dan Underlight has to deal with the death of his eight-year-old son. Even worse, he gets fired from the company he helped to create! What would you tell readers who are going through the same situation and are feeling hopeless?
Rich: One of the main themes of the book is dealing with grief. As you point out, Dan goes through three losses early in the story, and, in a way, the whole story is about overcoming the loss of his son. By serving a broader goal––the formation and growth of his company, Conversationworks––he takes a few difficult steps toward healing. But he also takes a few steps backward. I guess it’s fair to say Dan learns how to generate love in a broad community even though he’s not sure he deserves love himself. So I would say to your reader, the best way to manage grief is to go through it, and the best way to go through it is to serve a higher goal, and, in the end, to accept that everyone deserves to love again after a great loss.
RB: Writing a book with corporate business at the front of the plot is a trend I would love to see other authors hop on! What made you put that business element into the novel?
Rich: I worked in hi-tech for many years, so I’m quite familiar with what happens in a technology company. In literature, technology is often viewed as a negative and sometimes as downright evil. I wanted to write a story that uses technology as a way to pull people together instead of dividing them. That was especially important for me given the world we live in today. Conversationworks uses technology to reduce polarization between factions and helps create workable solutions to big problems. Imagine what the world would be like if this technology actually existed.
RB: What is the main message you want readers to take from the novel?
Rich: To love, in whatever sphere of influence a reader has, and to act with kindness and compassion each day, even when it seems most difficult.
RB: Do your novels The Big Wide Calm and Beauty Of the Fall connect? If so, how?
Rich: Some years ago I got the idea to write three novels about different kinds of love.
The first one, The Color of Home, published in 2013, is about romantic love. It follows the lives of a man and woman over six years as they figure out what it means to be in a generative, loving relationship. The second one, The Big Wide Calm, published in 2014, is about a young woman, Paige Plant, who is mentored on her way to making her first album. That one’s about platonic love. The third one, The Beauty of the Fall, is about love in a wider sense, about love in community. But it’s also about fathers and sons, loss, technology, and about equality for women.
RB: Is there a consistent theme in the novels you produce?
Rich: As I mentioned above, all three of novels deal with love in one form or the other. They also deal with overcoming grief, and with how folks might connect with each other with kindness and compassion in a difficult world. My characters don’t always reach a place where they consistently act from love, but they aspire to act that way.
Learn more about Rich Marcello and his novels at: