One of the hottest novels out this holiday season reintroduces us to the most famous fictional mafia family of all time.
“The Godfather” author Mario Puzo died six years ago, but a Florida author was hand-chosen to pick up where the Corleone family saga left off. Florida State University professor Mark Winegardner is author of “The Godfather Returns.”
Winegardner says his life has been a whirlwind since his novel 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 all that.
“One thing I really underestimated was the amount of media there would be.”
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.
“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 dived 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 his 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.
“The Godfather Returns” is currently number 11 on the New York Times bestsellers list.