Frank Scozzari is an American novelist and screenwriter whose life of adventure has greatly influenced his writing. Born in Bay Shore, New York, he was the middle of five children of first generation Americans; all his grandparents migrated from Italy to the United States via Ellis Island. In his formative years, his parents took several cross-country trips to California during which the family explored National Parks and natural wonders and through which Frank gained an appreciation of nature and a love for the West. At age fourteen, he hiked the John Muir Trail, a 250 mile trek through the highest mountains in the continental United States. He repeated this feat at age seventeen. At age eighteen he hobo’ed his way across America, spent time in the Carolinas and Florida, and worked as a horse wrangler, gas station attendant, dish washer, laundry man, and construction laborer. He returned to California to attend college. After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Sociology, he was briefly employed as an ‘Armed Responder’ at a Nuclear Power Plant before becoming a court investigator for the Superior Court of Santa Barbara County. At one point in his criminal justice career, he ran an investigation unit which pumped out several hundred reports each year for the court system. He attributes “having to learn to write” when his written word, and the written word of his staff of investigators, was to be scrutinized by Judges, attorneys, victims, offenders, and the public.
Always, Frank sought opportunities to pursue adventure, whether it was backpacking in the High Sierras, Eurailing through Europe, or jeep-trailing down the Baja peninsula. He credited having read The Call of the Wild in the fifth grade as the seed to his literary quest and desire to write. He also sites adventure writers such as Robert Luis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Ernest Hemingway as important influences. His first published writing came in the form of non-fiction travel articles for the Baja Times. After which, he began chronicling his travel experiences in the form of short stories. His first short story Viejo was published in 1989 by the South Dakota Review (University of South Dakota). This same story gave him his first taste of paid literary success when re-published in 1994 in Gold & Treasure Hunter Magazine, to which he said; “a dollar made by writing is better than a hundred dollars made from work.” Several trips to Africa resulted in a series of stories influenced by some harrowing experiences on the ‘Dark’ continent. These stories found homes in dozens of national literary magazines including The Kenyan Review, Tampa Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, and War Literature & the Arts (U.S. Air Force Academy). Two Wills won the 1999 National Writer’s Association Short Story Contest. The Triumph, a tale about environmentalists thwarting elephant poachers, netted his first Pushcart Prize nomination. This story was also featured in Santa Barbara’s preeminent literary theater, Speaking of Stories. During one trip he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, from which came The Arrow of Light, a short fiction piece first published in the Pacific Review and which went to be widely anthologized.
In 2002, Frank made his first of several trips to Russia which resulted in his first novel, From Afar, a tale about an American man seeking love in Saint Petersburg (which was featured in USA Today and received a 5-star review from Readers Favorite). Four more Pushcart Prize nominations followed for his short fiction, including stories of war and love. His screenplay Mimosa was a finalist in Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards. His latest novel The Wind Guardian is about a terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant, based on his days working in nuclear security.
Frank now resides on the central coast of California, and is working on his third novel. An anthology of his short fiction is also in the works. He indulges in a wide-range of interests including reading, painting and acting, is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and is a licensed private investigator. His love for fiction is no better embodied than in his quote; “When I die I’ll know I’ve gone to heaven if I wake up in a used book store.”