Florida State University professor Mark Winegardner says his life has been a whirlwind since his novel “The Godfather Returns” came out.
He was already a successful writer, but not a household name. Penning, the long-awaited sequel to Mario Puzo’s internationally infamous “Godfather” series, changed that.
"One thing I really underestimated was the amount of media there would be," he says.
Winegardner submitted a proposal for the novel, picking up the mafia family’s saga after Sonny Corleone is whacked at the tollbooth. The publisher made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Mark Winegardner says, "To take the story from the end of The Godfather and overlap it a little bit with the end of the novel and film and move forward was just, looked like it would be a blast."
Winegardner dove into the dark underworld of mafia literature and spent two weeks in Sicily to get a feel for the characters. Research took a grisly turn when he started looking into the psychology of murder.
"I hope it doesn’t confess too much if I admit that I never have killed anybody, but I didn’t want the violence in this book to feel like it was made up."
Winegardner says this is the first Godfather book to have a complex female character, Sonny’s daughter Francesca Corleone.
"We see her convocation at Florida State in 1955. We see a lot of scenes set in various places in Florida."
Winegardner’s already working on his next novel about the porn industry, but he says he doesn’t think the Corleone family is finished with him just yet.