Jason Ranieri was often asked when he would run for office. According to Ranieri, this was because of what he called the “father factor”. “My father was a politician and if your father is a blacksmith, chances are the boy will do the same,” said Ranieri.
Initially, Ranieri seemed destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. In his freshman year at Worcester State University, he was elected class president. After college, he became a member of the political activist group M-power. During his tenure, Ranieri successfully reinstated Massachusetts’ health coverage of eye and dental exams for those in need through the state’s House and Senate.
Now Ranieri is devoting time to a new passion: writing. So far, he has published two books and three short stories on Booksie. However, the “father factor” still finds ways to influence Ranieri’s writing. His latest novel is a political satire.
The Story of Polka Dots and Politics
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for Polka Dots and Politics? How did the story come to fruition?
A: The inspiration for Polka Dots and Politics came from political happenings in my younger days. My father was a politician and if your father is a blacksmith, chances are the boy will do the same. Many people would ask me when I would run? The story is the result of that “father factor”. A factor that can influence and upon doing so inspire.
Q: How did you come up with the title of the book?
A: I came up with the title Polka Dots and Politics by viewing the complex characters that surrounded me in this book as “polka dots”. Each person is a “polka dot”. Although a difficult pattern to wear, it is a style that is unique like the characters of this book, the “polka dots” were the chess pieces and politics was the game. The only game in town.
Q: Which characters, especially the fictional Ranieris, are most like you?
A: The characters most like me I would say would be Ernie Taft and Joseph Ranieri. Ernie had a laid-back attitude, political insight, loved History and had a sense of adventure. I graduated Cum Laude in my major, History, traveled America for a year and a half and am a born-again dude. Joseph would grab the bull by the horns and make friends with that bull. As he did all living things. He was a philosopher and artist much like myself. I am a vegetarian also. Animals are people too. Joseph loved all animals great and small.
Q: Have any of your relatives or friends read the book yet?
A: I gave most of my relatives and friends a copy. They enjoyed reading the character portrayals and laughed at the humor. The exaggerated plot put a larger than life twist to a satirical story that invites them to cast a ballot for the main character.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your novel?
A: I hope readers take away from my novel that politics is a learned behavior. The door begins to open when we focus on what’s working and what is not. Hopefully, we can become informed voters and not just rely on the influence of others to decide who we vote for. We must hold our politicians accountable. They weren’t born that way but somewhere along the line, they learned behavior that encourages democracy. Democracy is a form of government where the people decide. If a politician wants to win then please the people. Some politicians will say and do anything to this end. Those aren’t leaders they’re something else.
A Look Back at the Writing Process
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
A: I enjoy the process of writing. The actual writing and completion of the finished work is very rewarding. What we say is not as important as what we write because of the process that goes into writing. I like brainstorming also which forces me to become creative. Thoughts and ideas must be developed and I enjoy the method of procedure that results in a well-written story.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
A: The most challenging part of the writing process was constructing original characters that would become the “polka dots” of the story. Each one of them had to be believable. The outlandish circumstances that they found themselves in prove that small-town politics can be fun, glorious, and exciting.
Q: What advice would you give to new writers?
A: Those who wish to travel on a path within the continuity of space and form as a truth-seeker begins to recognize purpose, will, and intention. Having a purpose is not as important as serving a purpose. Thinking and feeling our purpose enough when combined with will and intention.
Will you catch me a fish? The intention is to feed myself. In Zen, the act of doing leads to a deeper understanding. For example, I may explain how to write. I may show you a film about writing a book, nothing will increase your understanding about writing then actually writing so if you want to learn how to write then write… simple as that!
Q: How did you feel when you saw your e-book available on Barnes and Noble for the first time?
A: I was very thrilled and excited. I feel I can get my book into the hands of a lot more people and thus sell more copies. I believe the reviews of the book will be great. I would love for all of you lovers of political, comedic wisdom to purchase a copy for only $3.99 and write a few words about my unique style, original expressions and overall satirical glam.
More About Jason
Q: What was your childhood like? Were your parents into politics?
A: My childhood was a time of great learning. I was disciplined in the ways of Jesus of Nazareth and politics. Religion and politics, the two subjects you don’t mention in polite society, but my parents often did.
Q: Were you allowed to date anyone who shared opposing political views?
A: Dating someone with opposing political views is never easy. One summer I dated a girl with dreadlocks who practiced witchcraft. My parents thought I was becoming a pot smoking, communist, Satan worshiper. I just liked her smile.
Q: Out of all the genres out there, why political satire? How did you develop your passion for politics?
A: I chose to write a political satire because I like political cartoons. They capture the absurdity of bad public policy and politicians. The drawings reveal a lot but a story can reveal so much more. I developed my passion for politics by studying History, working on campaigns, becoming Freshman Class President, joining the Massachusetts Leadership Academy and lobbying for eye and dental exams for those in need through the Massachusetts House and Senate.
Q: Are you a fan of Lewis Black or Bill Maher?
A: They both have a good grasp on current events and use critical, comedic commentary. I am a really big fan of George Carlin. He was once quoted as saying, “Politicians claim they are serving the Nation. I am in public service. Yes, I like America. The food is great but the public service is terrible.”
Q: Who do you hope wins the 2020 presidential election?
A: I hope whoever wins the 2020 presidential election will be honest and trustworthy. I would like to see Bill Gates as president. He’s highly intelligent and a great philanthropist. He would focus on the environment, curing disease, education, poverty, and technology.
Q: Do you have any books planned in the future?
A: Yes. I wrote the poetry book, The Good Old World. It contains 33 original poems that are all songs I sing as I’m also a musician. Please YouTube (Jason Ranieri) you can hear some of the songs. Check out “Fixing to Die” an anti-war political protest song.
My third book will be a book of essays which I have already begun. Essays like “Man of Peace” and “Industry of Insanity” are hard-hitting, controversial reports exposing hypocrisy and institutional fraud. The majority of works are thoughtful, provocative articles which challenge the conventional wisdom concerning issues of importance. The essays have something new and significant to say. For the quality of writing, I make points clearly and in a way that holds the readers’ interest. A reader should not have to struggle to guess an author’s meaning. The essays contain social and ethical commentary in a broad sense, religious and ethical perspectives on society, culture, medicine, music and more.
Q: Where can readers go to learn more about your upcoming projects?
A: I plan on making 3 compact discs of 11 songs each from the poetry book, The Good Old World. Furthermore, I’m currently in contact with Taleflick. They are a company that turns books into Hollywood movies. A future project is to turn Polka Dots and Politics into a film. Please follow me on Facebook to learn more about my upcoming projects. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for autographed, printed copies of each book for $10.
Want to Read Polka Dots and Politics?
Jason D. Ranieri is a graduate of Worcester State University and was Freshman Class President. He graduated Cum Laude in his major, History. He passed the Massachusetts Educator’s Exam with a perfect score in Economics. He is a “Heroes Among Us” award recipient from the Boston Celtics organization for playing Santa Claus for physically and mentally handicapped at Wrentham Developmental Center for over 20 years. He graduated from the Massachusetts Leadership Academy and became a member of the political activist group, M-power. He successfully reinstated Mass. Health coverage of eye and dental exams for those in need through the Mass. House and Senate. He was nominated for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette’s Young Leader Award. He is the author of the poetry book, The Good Old World and Polka Dots and Politics. He is a vegetarian, Freemason and avid musician. Jason toured America for a year and a half.