Today, I’d like to welcome my friend and novelist, Robert Desiderio to the blog. He’s written a gripping political thriller, The Occurrence, which is out now.

Author Name: Robert Desiderio

Book Title: The Occurrence

Book Genre: Political Thriller

Release Date: February 25, 2020

Publisher: Post Hill Press

What inspired the idea for The Occurrence? The initial idea came from the question I posed myself: What if the current leader of ISIS had an experience that created a crisis of conscience and he realized jihad was wrong and surrender to the FBI? What would that act cause and evolve into? The world and characters of the story expanded from that central point.

How long did it take for you to write the book? How much research did you do? It took about 7-8 years for it to become the book we’re dialoguing about. The story began as an idea for a TV pilot, that morphed into a two hour film. But all the time more characters appeared, and I realized this was a novel. Since I’m a screenwriter and had never written a book, I took multiple courses in novel writing, and hired a group of editors from Author Accelerator over a period of about 4 years to guide me to becoming a novelist. The highly-regarded international journalist, Janine DiGiovanni, and the American scholar, Jessica Stern (whose interviews with terrorists are extraordinary) were also a substantive component of the research I did reading their works. I also hired a female, Muslim journalist, and author to give the manuscript a “sensitivity read,” in order to point out whatever inaccuracies might have been there. And offer subtleties that would guide it to be more authentic.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read The Occurrence? I think we’re all curious and pursue, in our own ways, the question of: what is this life for? That is the beating heart of this book. It also posits a reality that we are all connected. And, while it’s told through the genre of a political thriller, it’s actually a story that speaks to the mystery of our collective evolution, and unveils a DNA we all share.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading? I love to train, play, and watch tennis. It allows me the opportunity to work on building, not only my physicality, but continue to harness and focus my mind.

Are you working on a new project? I’ve just started to think of what might happen next to the characters from The Occurrence. I realized I missed them, and the moment I began to put my ideas for them on paper I felt like I’d come home.

Where can readers find you? has pretty much everything you might want to know about me, the book, and the social media sites I’m connected to.

Thank you, Robert! The Occurrence is out NOW.

A near-death experience in the Iraq desert transforms the lives of the FBI’s most wanted terrorist, and his young disciple, and alters the fate of a Pulitzer Prize-winning female journalist, and a decorated U.S. Marine about to be executed. Guided by a visionary young girl from Peru, they become aware of an ancient past, and an energy force placed deep under the desert sand thousands of years ago.

The Occurrence is an unforgettable story of enemies, caught in the tragic sweep of terrorism, whose lives are forever changed. A gripping and unique political thriller. A story of uplifting beauty and love that speaks to the mystery of our collective evolution, and unveils a DNA we all share.


Robert grew up in The Bronx. He started his career in radio, theatre and TV on the East
Coast. After moving to the West Coast, he starred in the first dramatic series for HBO:
“Maximum Security,” produced by Ron Howard, and for which he was nominated for a
Best Actor Cable Ace Award.

Robert also starred in the ABC series “Heart of the City,” was a regular on “Knots
Landing,” appeared as the rival bar owner, Gary, on “Cheers,” and played Jack
Massarone on “The Sopranos.”

As a screenwriter, he wrote a screenplay about gay conversion therapy, which premiered
at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was called, Save Me, and received wide acclaim
for its complexity. The NY Times wrote, “Save Me has a lot of heart.” The LA Times
wrote, “A thoughtful production of exceptional insight and quietly devastating

His debut novel, The Occurrence, will be launched nationwide on February 25, 2020.
Robert is also developing projects for film and TV. He lives in Los Angeles and New
York City with his wife, Judith Light.