Weekly Feature

2018-08-09 / Front Page

Newly-published author returns home

Interim editor

Kevin Del Principe Kevin Del Principe Kevin Del Principe grew up on the border of West Seneca and South Cheektowaga. At first glance, that may seem like an insignificant detail, but it has proved to offer some serious creative fuel for the recently-published author.

“I went to West Seneca East Senior High School, but a lot of my friends had Cheektowaga addresses,” he said.

Being on the cusp of two communities sometimes left Del Principe feeling a bit like an outsider in his younger years, and now, at 35, that sense of placelessness has manifested in the protagonist of “I Animal.”

The Western New York native put pen to paper about four years ago, but it was a longtime ambition for the man who has his hands in many creative pots.

“When I went to film school, I just had the idea in my mind that I wanted to write a novel,” he said. “I can’t really say exactly why except that I wanted to tell the story I wanted to tell in the way I wanted to tell it.”

And telling that story proved easier than he might have imagined. Del Principe is a playwright and recently finished principal photography on his feature film “UP ON THE GLASS” and also established a production company, Save Them Wild Dogs. Although this project was a divergence from his past endeavors, the shift was smooth.

“This was really kind of crazy in the sense that it just kind of poured out of me,” he said.

The story is set in a fictional version of Del Principe’s home neighborhood and facets of himself are woven into Tommy. Yet, the book is not biographical. The crossover between his own history and the fictional trope, makes coming home a bit nerve-wracking, however.

“It’s really satisfying for me to have gotten this book out there and bring it back home,” he said. “On the other hand, of course there’s trepidation in writing about your own home and things that aren’t autobiographical, but are close.”

The setting of “I Animal” is based on the area, but is situated in the Midwest, and while the suburbs of Buffalo might not seem to be the most exciting location for a plot line, Del Principe thinks that it might just link many readers to his story.

“I think most people come from towns like Cheektowaga and West Seneca,” he said. “I don’t think towns like this are misrepresented, but I think they’re underrepresented, so I think that was sort of the import of telling this kind of story. You kind of go away and you come back, and your heart is always kind of at home, but there are many reasons why people leave home.”

The new author also said he was fortunate to connect with Canadian publishing house Tumbleweed Books, which was supportive of him telling this story in his own way.

His homecoming, he hopes, will also serve a greater purpose, perhaps showing young people who feel a bit on the outside as well, that following their own path can be worth it in the long run.

Del Principe, who now lives in Los Angeles, will be returning to the area to offer a reading and signing of his novel from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at Revolution Gallery, 1419 Hertel Ave.

His novel is available online at Barnes & Nobel, Amazon and Indie Bound.

email: bjackson@beenews.com

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