Author talk and table-top role playing at the Lopez Library

Author talk and table-top role playing at the Lopez Library

  • Tue Jan 21st, 2020 11:07am
  • Life

Submitted by the Lopez Island Library

The Lopez Island Library welcomes visiting author Marco Rafalà as a host of two upcoming programs over the next two weeks.

Rafalà is a first-generation Sicilian-American novelist, musician and writer for award-winning tabletop roleplaying games. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in fiction from The New School and is a co-curator of the Guerrilla Lit Reading Series in New York City.

On Friday, Jan. 24, Rafalà will be reading from his debut novel, “How Fires End,” a sweeping family saga that spans generations and continents and explores the relationship between fathers and sons and the long-lasting consequences of family secrets born of war.

The novel begins after soldiers have vacated the Sicilian hillside town of Melilli in the summer of 1943. The locals celebrate, giving thanks to their patron saint Sebastian. Amid the revelry, all it takes is one fateful moment for the destiny of nine-year-old Salvatore Vassallo to change forever.

When his twin brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, Salvatore’s faith is destroyed. As the family unravels, and fear ignites among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets another. Desperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America.

In Middletown, Connecticut, in the immigrant neighborhood known as Little Melilli, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves. But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later, and Salvatore learns too late the price sons pay for their fathers’ wars.

Rafalà will be reading from “How Fires End” and responding to any audience questions on the evening of Jan. 24.

In addition to his author talk program, Rafalà will return to the Lopez Library at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 to host a table-top roleplaying game night. Rafala has written a number of award-winning roleplaying games, including “Star Trek Adventures,” a renowned group table-top game, based on the ever-lastingly popular sci-fi TV series and movie franchise Star Trek.

Rafala will lead a small group of players in the Star Trek Adventures starter kit — which takes players to the final frontier of the galaxy, where new discoveries await keen explorers of Starfleet. This is a game designed for four to six players, so interested participants should email Malia Sanford at in advance to reserve your spot in the game. All ages and experience levels are welcome.

roleplaying gaming has a number of benefits that go beyond a few hours of fun. It’s a recreational exercise in problem-solving, teamwork, creativity and improvisation, humility and relationship building. Rafalà will be donating the Star Trek Adventures Starter Kit to the Lopez Library, and the game will be available to check-out to Library cardholders following the program on the 31st. In addition to acting as Game Master, Rafalà will give a brief presentation on his experience working in and writing for the roleplaying gaming industry.