El Cid

Dons Alum completes first novel

Andrianna Yeatts, Editor In Chief

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USDHS alum, graduate of Trinity University, and Dean of Nativity Prep Academy, Mr. Louie Centanni, son of Mr. Lou Centanni, Cathedral Catholic counselor, has published his first novel, A Couple of Unorthodox Love Affairs, a dark comedy.

The author explained that the book can mean different things to different people. “When you read, you enter with different background knowledge and experiences, so everyone’s interpretation is a little different.”

Simply put, this character-driven piece is about Phil, a “morally ambiguous” man who develops an obsession with learning about serial killers. The time he spends in the library after work each day ends up negatively affecting his marriage, career, and relationship with his best friend. As he drifts away from his wife, she decides to become a serial killer in order to interest him and get through to him.

“From there,” the writer said, “it embraces dark absurdities with regard to morals, relationships, etiquette, etc.”

He decided to write the book in 2005. He had solely written comedy prior to this and wanted to test the waters of a creepier, darker comedy. In the end, he said, “I think I hit ‘creepy’ on the nose, ‘comedy’ a bit more subtly.”

In 2006, he finished the work as a short story, shared it with friends, and nobody liked it. Although his roommate told him to turn the story into a novel, Mr. Centanni said he left the story to rot. It was three years later, while talking about the work, when he figured out what the ending should be. He revisited it and finished it at the end of 2009.

In terms of publishing, he said, the most difficult part was formatting the book the way he wanted it, since he did everything himself without any expert assistance. It took him two months to format the text, edit the manuscript, and have it ready for print.

He said, “There are so many kooky psychological aspects you have to worry about, like which font to use and where the page numbers should be. They’re the most mundane important details ever.”

As for teaching him to write and becoming interested in writing, Mr. Centanni credits Mrs. Marilyn Harmaning, Cathedral English 3H and speech teacher.

“I hated reading in high school. I don’t even think I finished a single book until halfway through junior year, except for The Great Gatsby, which I listened to on cassette tape,” he said. “All that said, Mrs. Harmaning had us do a poetry project where she gave us very little guidance. I figured I would be a smart aleck and write some funny stuff. I got an A by accident. I had inadvertently created art. That made me realize writing might be more than just a chore, so I kept fiddling around with it.”

A Couple of Unorthodox Love Affairs is dedicated both to Mrs. Harmaning and to Dr. Coleen Grissom of Trinity University.

After reading the novel, Mr. Lou Centanni, father of the author, said, “Perhaps because he is my own son or perhaps because it was a good read, I have to admit that I had a hard time putting it down…the twists and turns that develop within the plot make this an interesting read.”

He added that the novel contains a number of themes related to the human condition, such as desire, freedom, and individuality. Also, he said, “It has similarities to American Psycho, and I would say that it is the type of story that the writers of Criminal Minds might like.”

Mr. Louie Centanni said he hopes students have the opportunity to read and extract messages from his novel, which is available on his website, www.louiecentanni.com.

Though the characters in the story are not based on real people, he said, “I do think that there are people out there – whether they admit it or not – who share certain morbid qualities. Fortunately for society, though, these particular people are figments of my imagination.”

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The School Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School
Dons Alum completes first novel