In the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastation in the Bahamas, a Brookfield couple will take the proceeds from their debut novella “Dinner With Howard” and donate them to the friends they made while vacationing in Freeport, Bahamas.
The hurricane, which struck the tropical country on Sept. 1 caused widespread destruction from strong winds and flooding, which reportedly left the Freeport airport completely unrecognizable.
When Dawna and Chris Trizano saw the destruction on the news, they were heartbroken and wanted to find a way to help.
“I felt guilty being in my nice home, nice bed and these people are scrambling “ Dawna said.
“It was a surreal feeling so emotional about a place you felt so heartfelt about, the impact is beyond words,” Chris added.
The couple spent a month traveling about Freeport during their trip there earlier this year. While on their vacation, the couple said they befriended a number of locals and fell in love with the country as well as the Xanadu, a defunct hotel which was previously owned by the eccentric Hollywood filmmaker Howard Hughes, and which they were able to see from their vacation rental.
The Trizanos took a tour of the old hotel and it inspired them to write a book about old Hollywood glamor, just for fun.
“It was a little eerie, but it was cool thinking that the Rat Pack was here and all these great stars,” Dawna said. “It was like being in a time capsule,” Chris added.
That night while Dawna was drinking her wine from a glass from the Xanadu, the couple looked at the old hotel from their condo and talked about the glory days of Hughes’ old building.
“One thing led to another and we started writing this book,” Dawna said.
Two weeks into their Freeport vacation, the couple said, they began writing the book with the help of a ghostwriter, whom they continued to work with for the next seven months. The Trizanos said they took facets of their personalities and loosely based their main characters on themselves, however, they quickly noted their real love story is nothing like the one they wrote in their book. The couple also said they incorporated real people and places like Out Da Sea and Madkap from their Freeport stay into the story. Dawna said they included the names and some of the personality traits of their Freeport friends into the story as well.
“Lloyd, the portrayal of him in the book is pretty accurate. He’s a security guard at the abandoned hotel but we made him a bellhop [in the book],” they said.
“Dinner With Howard” follows the love story between aspiring actress Julia St. Ives and Howard Hughes’ head of security Cliff Sandalwood. When Julia St. Ives arrives at the Xanadu in 1974 she has a plan to meet the filmmaker and convince him to cast her in one of his films. To do that she has to get on Cliff’s good side, which she manages through the helpful intervention of a wise bellhop, named Lloyd. As the narrative unfurls Julia and Cliff’s romance is tested by the cogs of Hollywood.
“The ironic thing is that the story ends with a hurricane destroying the Xanadu. I get goosebumps thinking about it,” Chris said referring back to Hurricane Dorian. “We couldn’t believe it. We just want to do whatever we can do.”
The couple said that all the proceeds from now until Jan. 1 will be distributed to locals when they return to the Bahamas.
“Whatever is in the account will be put aside for them,” Dawna said. “Now we have an opportunity, we have something tangible [that can help].”
“The timing of this was just uncanny,” Chris added.
In addition to donating 100 percent of the book’s proceeds, the Trizanos organized a GoFundMe page for those who want to donate to help their Bahamanian friends without purchasing a copy of their self-published book. Paperback copies of their book are currently available and e-book copies of “Dinner With Howard” will be available on Sept. 13. On Sept. 15, the Trizanos will have a book signing at Molten Java in Bethel at 2 p.m. For more information about the Trizanos’ book, visit amazon.com/author/triznizzles.