By CHANTELLE DEROSE
Recorder News Staff
Amsterdam residents who know John Giovanni as a teacher, principal or athletic director can now use one more word to describe him: author.
Now residing in Florida with his wife, Giovanni recently published his debut novel titled “Mac-124 No Way To Die.” The action-packed fiction book focuses on three unrelated couples who wind up working together when faced with the possibility of biochemical warfare against the United States of America.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life but I never thought I could do it,” Giovanni said of writing a book. “A couple of years ago I finally started writing my ideas out, but then I put it down for a good 15 months.”
It wasn’t until he ran into an old friend from Hagaman that he felt encouraged to finish what he started.
Jackie, one of Giovanni’s central characters, was inspired by seeing Stevie Nicks in concert with Fleetwood Mac, Giovanni said.
“Seeing Stevie, who is close to my age, perform live was really something special,” he said. “I write with ideas in my head from my own life experiences.”
He said he also frequently spoke with James Ziskin, an Amsterdam native who has written five books of his own, during his writing process. Giovanni said Ziskin gave him advice on writing his first book and was an appreciated source of motivation.
Giovanni left the Greater Amsterdam School District having made a considerable impact on multiple generations of students. In addition to teaching seventh and eighth grade social studies — a position he began in 1968 — his resume also includes assistant principal for both high school and middle school, head of the Continuing Education Program and Coordinator of Interscholastic Sports, Health and Physical Education.
He was also the last permanent principal of Clara S. Bacon School in Amsterdam, which he called his “final and most rewarding position.”
While completing a book has been exciting for Giovanni and his family, he said no feeling comes close to the overwhelming gratitude he has for those he’s taught and worked with in the past.
“I’ve actually had tears in my eyes on more than one occasion,” Giovanni said when speaking about his former students who have taken the time to reach out. “I’m extremely humbled.”
Despite only going into print Aug. 3, Giovanni has already signed 97 copies of his novel and has received orders from the likes of Arizona, New Mexico, Canada and California. He also isn’t slowing down anytime soon and is already about 80 pages deep into writing a sequel.
“Mac-124 No Way To Die” is available on Amazon.com and Createspace.com/7336330. Signed copies can also be mailed directly by sending checks in the amount of $15.57 to John Giovanni at 26324 Stonewall Lane, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.