The authors of The Mentoris Project novels and biographies are united by a passion for mentorship. Their backgrounds range from college professor to screenwriter to playwright, but each hopes that the story they tell of a great Italian or Italian-American will inspire the reader to make our shared world a better place.
Dr. Mario Di Giovanni
Dr. Mario Di Giovanni was born in 1911, in a small town near Avellino, Italy. He migrated to the United States with his family when he was 10.
After high school, Di Giovanni earned a BA in mechanical engineering and a PhD in science from New York University. He was a college professor and researcher, including biomedical research related to the human heart. His efforts contributed to the development of the first artificial heart. In all, he filed and obtained more than thirty patents.
In addition to his work, Di Giovanni had a lifelong love and admiration for the legendary feats of the great Genoese navigator, Christopher Columbus. He had been collecting material about Columbus for some years, but it wasn’t until he suffered a heart attack in 1980 that Di Giovanni began in earnest to write his book on the famous navigator. Unfortunately, he died in 1986, before the book was completed.
But thanks to the initiative of Columbus Explorers, Inc., the book was completed. It was a particularly fitting tribute to Columbus because it was the 500th anniversary of his discovery. The book is also a deserved memorial to Di Giovanni. The Mentoris Project is proud to re-release Christopher Columbus: His Life and Discoveries as a paperback and ebook.
An actress, singer, and writer, Fuglei created a one-woman show, Rachel Calof, based on the memoir of a Jewish homesteader, and has performed it around America. It won Best Musical at the 2015 United Solo Festival in New York City. Fuglei has appeared in more than forty roles in episodic television and film, and she was in the First National Broadway tour of Spring Awakening
Based in Los Angeles, she has played leading roles in regional theaters across the country, among them Arena Stage, the Public Theater in NYC, and the La Jolla Playhouse. Two of her short stories appear as part of Sister Writereaters, a book of essays about motherhood and food. katefuglei.com
Fuglei is the author of the Mentoris Project book, Fermi's Gifts: A Novel Based on the Life of Enrico Fermi.
Nicole Gregory is a writer and editor living in Southern California with her husband and son. She has been the Home and Garden/Travel editor at the Orange County Register, and has written and edited for numerous publications, including VIV magazine, Family Circle, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and others. Recent features she’s written include stories about a treehouse designer, why we need a surgeon general, how a cocoa bean chemical can reverse memory loss, and reasons to take an inn-to-inn hike along the Southern California coast. When she’s not obsessing about her garden, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and reading fiction.
Gregory is the author of the Mentoris Project book, God's Messenger, The Astounding Achievements of Mother Cabrini: A Novel Based on the Life of Mother Frances X. Cabrini
Peg A. Lamphier
Peg A. Lamphier lives in the mountains of Southern California with five dogs, seven tortoises, a huge cat, two canaries, one husband, one daughter, and a collection of vintage ukuleles. When she’s not writing fiction or otherwise fooling around, she’s a professor at California State Polytechnic, Pomona, and Mount San Antonio Community College. For more information and to sign up for her newsletter see www.peglamphier.com.
Lamphier is the author of the Mentoris Project book, Soldier, Diplomat, Archaeologist: A Novel Based on the Bold Life of Louis Palma di Cesnola.
ERIC D. MARTIN
Eric D. Martin is a novelist and screenwriter. He has a BA in film studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in screen and television writing from Pepperdine University. While studying at Pepperdine, Martin served as president of the student film society, Courier 12, and was a semifinalist for the Academy of Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship. Recently, Martin adapted the novel The Liar’s Chair for the screen and wrote the popular Lifetime thriller, The Other Mother. Currently, he is writing for the premium cable television drama Heels and for Starz, and developing the TV comedy King Elizabeth.
Martin is the author of the Mentoris Project book, Saving the Republic: A Novel Based on the Life of Marcus Cicero.
Peter David Myers
Myers has sold, written for hire, or optioned ten theatrical feature scripts and has done a number of rewrites for indie film and TV producers. Two short films, a stage play, and numerous TV public service announcements have been produced from his scripts.
His produced projects include nine Chapters in Black American History, the drama/comedy The Pickup, his half-hour suspense drama, Double Cross, as well as Speak To The World, a pilot for an interview show.
One of Myers’ comedy feature scripts won an Honorable Mention at the Thunderbird International Film Festival Script Competition.
He has judged scripts for UCLA’s Master of Fine Arts Screenwriting Showcase and has been a regular panelist at the West Coast Writers Conference. His advice to screenwriters is part of Tarcher/Penguin’s anthology, NOW WRITE! Screenwriting: Exercises by Today’s Best Screenwriters, Teachers and Consultants.
Myers is the author of the Mentoris Project book, Leonardo's Secret: A Novel Based on the Life of Leonardo da Vinci. He's working on a novel about astronomer Galileo.
For the past several years, Karen Richardson has helped authors of fiction and nonfiction navigate the constantly evolving terrain of independent publishing. She manages production and distribution for The Mentoris Project. Richardson is the co-founder of The GoLD Initiative, a nonprofit created to offer after-school STEAM enrichment programs to teens with learning disabilities. She lives in Southern California with her husband, writer Doug Richardson, their children, and four mutts.
Richardson is the author of the Mentoris Project book, Harvesting the American Dream: A Novel Based on the Life of Ernest Gallo.
Dr. Francesca Valente
A journalist and a cultural mediator, Dr. Francesca Valente was director of several Italian Cultural Institutes (IIC) in North America for more than thirty years. In her most recent post in Los Angeles, she coordinated the eight IIC of USA and Canada. She produced several short films, edited over 100 catalogues and publications, and translated thirty-five works by such renowned authors as Margaret Atwood, Giorgio Bassani, Leonard Cohen, Northrop Frye, Marshall McLuhan, Michael Ondaatje, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. She has lectured at University of California at Berkeley; University of Southern California; LUISS University and La Sapienza, Rome.
Valente is the author of the Mentoris Project book, A.P. Giannini, The People's Banker.
Rosanne Welch is a writer, producer, and university professor with credits that include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, Touched by an Angel, and ABC NEWS/Nightline. She is the author of Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture (McFarland, 2017). She is co-editor, with Peg A. Lamphier, of Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection (ABC-CLIO, 2017).
Welch has also published chapters in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television (I. B.Tauris) and The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color (Lexington Books, 2018), and an essay in Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology.
By day she teaches courses on the history of screenwriting and on television writing for the Stephens College MFA in screenwriting programs. Her talk, “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room,” at the 2016 TEDxCPP can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JFNsqKBRnA.
Welch is the author of the Mentoris Project book, America’s Forgotten Founding Father: A Novel Based on the Life of Filippo Mazzei.
Pamela Winfrey is an award-winning writer and curator.
As a writer, she specializes in writing surreal plays for a thinking audience. She is especially interested in the relationship between theater, reality, science, surrealism and mental health issues. She has received funding from the Sloan Foundation and the Marin Arts Council and was a finalist at Arts and Letters. She won an award at the Method and Madness Festival in Denton, Texas, and her work received the Audience Favorite and Best Actress awards at Variations Theater in Manhattan. Her plays have been seen as far away as Toronto and Ireland. She was one of the founding members of Mobius Operandi, an electro-acoustic sound sculpture ensemble and performance company which produced five large-scale, walk-through, site-specific performance pieces in San Francisco.
As a curator, Winfrey represented the United States in the Interactive Art Panel at Ars Electronica (Linz), was the lead curatorial consultant for Emerging Artforms for Creative Capital, and curated more than 100 exhibitions, performances, artworks, and installations at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, where she is senior artist emeritus. She was the co-curator for the West Gallery, a gallery which explores human phenomena, and curated “The Changing Face of What is Normal,” an exhibition on mental health that was dear to her heart. She has a BA in theater, an MA in interdisciplinary arts, and is currently getting her MFA in screenwriting from Stephens College.
Winfrey is the author of the Mentoris Project book, Marconi and His Muses: A Novel Based on the Life of Guglielmo Marconi.