Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 12, 2004

Former native, Gina De Luca, publishes ‘Minn. Mafia’ book

By Darla Swanson

Former Howard Lake resident and high school graduate of Howard Lake-Wavery, Gina De Luca recently published her second novel, “Minnesota Mafia, A Delicious Tale of Accidental Murder.”

De Luca currently resides in Weston, Fla., but her new book shows that her heart and her stomach are still in Minnesota.

De Luca’s fictitious book is loaded with Minnesota memories and Minnesota food. The story includes familiar names like Pillsbury and General Mills.

As food is a big part of the story, De Luca includes some Minnesota recipes, including Spam fried rice and tater tot hotdish at the end of each chapter. “The book really shows my love for Minnesota,” she said.

The main character of the book, Barbie Johnston, is a typical Minnesota girl who grows up on a dairy farm. The amusing and ironical incidents find the character guilty of accidental murders as she innocently attempts to protect people she cares about.

The author describes her main character as a “good girl,” and suggests that there is much more to the story than the accidental murders. “It’s a nice family story,” she said.

De Luca indicated that the main character is not mirrored after her. The one thing they do have in common, however, is they both spent their childhood in Minnesota. Affectionately, she said, “I would not want to have grown up anywhere else, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

As a child, De Luca always loved writing, and spent time writing short stories.

And though her full-time job is currently working in sales for a copy machine company, writing full-time is where her heart is. “That would be my dream,” she said.

De Luca is returning to Minnesota this August for her 20th high school reunion. With the opportunity to spend time with old friends in the place she grew up and loves, De Luca also hopes to schedule a book signing or two while she’s home.

Grandpa Ittel’s Meats will also offer De Luca’s book for sale. The meat market is also mentioned on her web site and her book.

The author loves the meats sold at Ittel’s and makes sure to stop there whenever she is home, she said.

The web site De Luca uses to market her book www.minnesotamafia.com also offers Minnesota Mafia merchandise. Coffee mugs, aprons, T-shirts and, of course, the book, can be ordered off the website.

The book is also available online at some of the larger book store web sites.

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