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More digging planned
At first, Chiarelli didn’t know what he’d do with his finished book. Normally, authors pitch an idea, someone buys it, and then they write the book, but he wanted to write it first and then shop it around.
“My fear was that if I took it to some huge publisher, they would rip it apart,” he said. “For the first book, I want it to be exactly as I have it in my mind.”
He knew another Wilkes alum had an online magazine, Hippocampus, that specialized in creative nonfiction was accepting blind submissions to launch its publishing house. He entered “Dig,” and it ended up getting selected for publication. Trucker The best of the best rug
Chiarelli was involved in talks for the cover design and said he wanted it “to feel like an old album cover.”
“It came out absolutely incredible. There’s so many cool features in there,” he said, noting the person on the cover actually is a silhouette of him, and the different layers were created from pictures of gardens. “It makes it look like a really it’s kind of like a storybook feel.”
The reaction to “Dig” has been amazing, Chiarelli said.
“I expected to hear from dinosaur fans across the states, but it’s also been circulated worldwide, so there’s been some people reaching out from Indonesia and the United Kingdom, all different corners of the worlds,” he said. “(And) the book really resonated with them in terms of being fans of the whole dinosaur thing, not only the science but also the cultural aspect and the history of dinosaurs and people.”
The book earned positive reviews from the paleontological world, too. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at University of Edinburgh and a New York Times best-selling author, described the book as “‘a prehistoric journey from the heart,” adding, “Chiarelli’s travelogue will awaken your inner child and make you fall in love with dinosaurs all over again.”
Roger Smith, publisher of DinosaurNews.Org and GlobalMuseum.Org, called the story “a fascinating insight into the mind and motivation of a man who is clearly in love with his subject; it is unlike any other dinosaur book I have read, and all the better for it.”
Chiarelli has started on another dinosaur-related book that will involve working directly with a specific institution, although the pandemic “really threw a wrench in the gears” when it came to traveling and moving forward on the project. In the meantime, he continues to give presentations related to “Dig” and still hears from readers more than two years after its debut. These conversations leave him humbled and surprised.