Luna Rising

Luna Rising by Selene Castrovilla | SeleneCastrovilla.comLuna Rising

by Selene Castrovilla
Publisher: Last Syllable Books

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Life begins at thirty-eight for Long Island mom and writer Luna Lampanelli, when she kicks her secretly gay husband to the curb. She’s got her freedom, but what she wants is love.

Luna knows she doesn’t need a man to exist, but try telling that to her heart. Against the advice of Sunny, her snarky best friend, and Jiminy, the cautioning voice in Luna’s head that just won’t shut up, Luna sets course to find a mate.

Luna speed and on-line dates her way into several short-lived, surreal relationships. There’s Ari, the humorless Israeli who refuses to assimilate – to America, and to humanity. There’s Alex, the young and handsome ex-crackhead who informs Luna he doesn’t want to be monogamous–while they’re in bed. There’s Memphis, the wild-eyed sadomasochist. There’s Red, angry and crippled, who becomes the catalyst for Luna to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

But before Luna can proceed to recovery, she meets the elusive but oh so appealing Trip. He’s emotionally unavailable and has the Madonna-Whore Complex, but how can Luna (aka “whore”) let him go when she enjoys his dry wit so much, and his naked body even more?

Humorously haunting and packed with unspeakable truths, Luna Rising follows a woman’s funny and heart-breaking struggle to relate with un-relatable men and an un-relatable world, and to figure out something even more un-relatable: herself.

Luna Rising



I am honored to have my book be the subject of an essay by
Great Writers Steal!

This essay examines the writing choices I made, and accurately deciphers why I made them. It also compares Luna to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You may know, Shakespeare is my God. Please read the full essay for all of the details, especially if you’re a writer.

“Ms. Castrovilla imbues the book with a great deal of pathos and deals with it in much more comprehensive terms than you might find in straight-up romance novels. (The “heat meter” is also lower.) These choices make Luna Rising a novel that has a bigger emotional impact. Instead of chronicling how one finds passion, Ms. Castrovilla illuminates how people negotiate the minefield of love. I suppose it’s easy for two incredibly hot people to fall into bed for a night. This book is much more about how we build deeper feelings and appreciation for the people in our lives, from neglectful parents to our kids and especially the man or woman we love, even if their snoring makes us want to smother them in their sleep sometimes.

–Great Writers Steal”

I’m also thrilled that a blogger decided to cast the leads in the movie version of Luna Rising! Thanks to the Invisible Diva for deciding Luna would be best portrayed by Rosario Dawson–who I first loved in the movie RENT, and who definitely looks like me. 😉

Luna has a conscience (which she refers to as Jiminy – like the Cricket in Pinnochio) and a snarky, but honest, best friend named Sunny (a secondary character

Here’s the whole blog piece!

“…this book really spoke to me on a deep level and sometimes that is even more important that liking or loving a read.

In Luna Rising, Selene Castrovilla expertly creates a character in Luna that I think many women can relate to deeply…even though most probably would not admit it.

At times humorous but mostly just devastatingly honest and saddening…I think that Castrovilla exposes a deep dark secret that many women share…sometimes…we are so desperate for love that we hold on to any relationship that comes our way…even if it seems so obvious to others (and to ourselves if we look close enough) that said relationship is unhealthy.

Luckily for Luna, with the unconditional love of her best friend Sunny, the pearls of wisdom from her chiropractor Dr. Gold, her inner voice Jiminy (yes like the cricket…lol) and most importantly her sponsor and gym trainer Joe {I loved Joe!}, she is finally able to let go and come to grips with what really matters in life. She is finally able to accept and forgive herself and those around her and move forward in a healthy way.

Her mom Loreena, Aunt Zelda and kids…especially Ben…round out a great cast of supporting characters. Luna Rising would not have been the same without them.”
–Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf

Here’s the whole blog piece!

A review from Actin’ Up With Books:

“I jumped at the chance to read the adult novel LUNA RISING by Selene Castrovilla. I discovered her books when I first read MELT, the first of her Rough Romance Trilogy, and fell in love with her writing.

What I liked:

The “stats” on the characters as they are introduced. It was a quick way to know about a character, and I especially liked finding out – what they read (or don’t read) says a lot about a person.
Her friendship with Sunny – they are at similar places in their lives, but take different approaches to relationships. Their interactions add a lot of humor to the story.
Her relationship with her Aunt Zelda. The love between them is evident.
So much Chinese food – by the end of the book (or maybe even the middle) I was craving some Hot and Sour soup

Some of my favorites scenes are when Luna visits her chiropractor for adjustments and some enlightenment and “therapy” instead of seeing a therapist. There she gets centered and finds balace – in her body, and sometimes in her mind. I wish some of my experiences seeing my chiropractor were like hers. And like her chiropractor, I believe “Everything always works out.”

Memorable Quote:
“Sometimes you have to clear your path before you can continue down it.”

Luna experiences a lot of personal growth and self-realization that a lot of readers can relate to. We are always changing, always observing, always learning, and always growing. We don’t always recognize when it is happening, but when it does, it can make us feel powerful. And when Luna experiences it, she is happy with just being.

LUNA RISING is an enjoyable read – filled with humor and wit. I’m looking forward to reading more adult novels by Selene Castrovilla.”

Here’s the whole blog piece!

Here’s an interview I did with Mythical Books blog:

1. First of all, I must say that you make me cry with Girl Next Door and I’m not used to that when reading! So, what to expect in Luna Rising?

Thank you so much! The Girl Next Door remains remains my biggest tear-jerker, I think. But Luna Rising is also very emotional, especially as we learn about her neglected childhood. These scenes are told in short flashbacks, but the reader will resonate with them. There is no heartbreaking disease in Luna, but there is heartbreak. This is the story of a woman determined to rise, no matter how many times she is pushed down.

2. Why does a woman need a man beside her or why we (as gender) are still looking for the “perfect” guy?

This is the question Luna Rising poses! Women are raised to believe they need a man to rescue them/take care of them—just look at fairy tales like Cinderella or Snow White. Look at love songs, old and new, all agonizing about having a man. Our society raises us to believe we need a husband—and it seems to be ingrained in us biologically as well. Perhaps this has to do with our instincts to bear children? We know we don’t “need” a man to survive—and yet, we can’t shake that urge to find one. Look at the billion dollar wedding industry if you don’t believe me. Look at the surge of on-line dating, and apps! As for the “perfect” guy—I think that term is a mistake, too. Sometimes we dismiss people people we don’t think “fit” with us, without even giving them a chance. However, Luna’s problem is the opposite. At the beginning of this story, she’ll accept anyone so she doesn’t have to be alone!

3. There is something about Luna that can be applied to all women?

Absolutely! Erica Jong started the movement in literature where women could be real—not just sexual objects, but imperfect, afraid, looking for answers about themselves. Luna is so busy searching for a man that she’s neglecting herself. This is something all women can understand—that squeamish, uneasy feeling aloneness brings, like we’re incomplete. This escalates into full-blown desperation! (And look at the gossip magazines, describing poor Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Anniston or one of the Kardashian’s latest heartbreak! Showing independently happy women won’t sell copies. These are bad examples for the rest of us. And Taylor Swift’s swift dating habits are not helping young women!)

Luna Rising addresses this desperation, but it doesn’t give into it. The solution is not in finding that “perfect” guy to sweep her off her feet. It’s only through a painful (and often also humorous) series of events that Luna learns it’s herself she needs to obtain love from. The men are insignificant—beside the point. She must learn to be okay with herself, by herself.

Another thing that women do is store every painful thing that’s ever happened deep inside ourselves, where it ferments and seeps into our souls. We need to release our pasts, in order to be happy now. This is something Luna must learn to do.

Finally, women will relate to the power of friendship, and laughter. Luna has a best friend named Sunny (who provides much of the humor in this book) and together they laugh at the absurdity of the world. For moments, they even forget the world exists.

4. The book is categorized as “woman fiction” – there some reasons for which men should read Luna Rising? What do you believe about splitting the books in “for men” and “for women”?

I think men might read Luna to learn about women’s psyches, and how they feel. Men have a different operating system then women — more direct, more primal. A man can also forget about something, while a woman will cling to that thing with all of her heart. So a man could see how a woman is affected by the things that happen to her if he reads this, and he can also have his own take on the behavior of the men. There are some interesting male characters in this book. My favorite is Joe, Luna’s no-nonsense boxing trainer. Trip, the main love interest, has some great lines. I’m sure men would enjoy his wit. And they could interpret why he acts like he does.
And if a man likes a well-written work of literature, perhaps for that reason alone he will enjoy Luna Rising. 😉 This book explores a slice of humanity, which is something we all belong to.

I don’t love splitting books into “for men” and “for women”, but this is the way book publishing works. (Also “for teens”—while I certainly think anyone can enjoy The Girl Next Door.) I do believe there are subjects men and women gravitate to, but why not call everything “fiction” or “nonfiction”? Furthermore, people expect certain things from “women’s” books which I thing are formulaic. This book isn’t a romance novel where two good-looking people fall into bed. This book is about navigating the minefields of love, including within oneself. It’s about relationships, really.

5. What do you feel and what are the responsibilities of an author when sending a message to the readers?

I think a message comes out inherently through the writing process. I don’t set out to send a message, but at some point I stop and say, ‘Aha! That’s what it’s all about.’ But that’s what it’s all about to me—and iy may be all about something else to another reader. I’m a conduit to possibilities for my readers. I present my story, and they are open to thoughts and considerations they might not have been otherwise. To say, “I am sending this message!” is dangerous, and absolutely not the purpose of literature. Literature says, “Wake up!” But once you’re awake, you’re free to think whatever you like.

Here’s the whole blog piece!