The Story behind ‘Turning to Stone’ by Gabriel Valjan

TurningtoStone_FlatforeBooks (1)Several streams flowed into the river for Turning To Stone. Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah was influential for giving me a sociological portrait of the Camorra and Naples, although I’ve been to Naples. The Financial Crises of 2007 and 2008 also inspired me. While I’m not paranoid or susceptible to conspiracy theories, I never subscribed to the analyses that American media outlets offered the public.

Journalist Andrew Sorkin’s corpulent Too Big To Fail, at 500-plus pages, is considered the definitive post-mortem on the Fiscal Crisis of 2008. While I was writing Turning, UMass Amherst graduate student Thomas Herndon and Professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin came along and exploded Harvard duo Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s pro-austerity argument. R & R said that a country would collapse when its public debt hits 90% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Herndon et al. proved that the hypothesis and the methodology were specious, the result of faulty thinking. I probably enjoyed the plate-glass at Amherst trumping Harvard’s red bricks more than I should have, but needless to say, economists everywhere took a black eye for not having seen the storm on the horizon, not having sounded the bell, or having explained it adequately after the fact. I opened Turning with Italian bonds being downgraded because rating agencies are owned by the same entities they’re supposed to rate objectively.

The currency in your pocket means something because we all assign a value to it, so what if someone came along and redefined that value for you? That is exactly what happened in 2007 and 2008. In stark terms, one casualty of the Crises was home ownership, the symbol of the American Dream. Someone came along and said that your home is relatively worthless, but you still have to pay the mortgage and property taxes based on the original appraisal that no longer exists. In terms of consequences today, the news will talk about austerity measures, but won’t tell you about the suicides as a result of unemployment in Greece. Just this morning I was reading about a doctor in Greece who had worked a 12-hour shift, dealing with such suicides, only to end his shift seeing a body bag that contained the body of his son who had killed himself.


Title: Turning To Stone

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Author: Gabriel Valjan


Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing

Purchase on Amazon 

About the Book:

Bianca is in Naples for Turning To Stone, the fourth book in the Roma Series from author Gabriel Valjan. Loki, her mysterious contact, is now giving Bianca baffling anagrams. They seem to lead to a charismatic entrepreneur who has a plan to partner with organized crime to manipulate the euro and American dollar. Against a backdrop of gritty streets, financial speculation, and a group of female assassins on motorcycles, Bianca and her friends discover that Naples might just be the most dangerous city in Italy.

author pic

About the Author:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing. His fourth book, Turning To Stone, came out 15 June 2015. Gabriel writes short stories, which are available online and in print. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Connect with Gabriel Valjan on the web:



Twitter: @GValjan


Pinterest boards for the Roma Series books

Book 4: Turning To Stone |

Book 3: Threading the Needle |

Books 2: Wasp’s Nest  |

Book 1: Roma, Underground  |

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