JUNE 8, 2021. ISBN: 978-1-947886-05-6. 5.25” x 8” Paperback. 300 pages. $15.99. VIEW/DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE.
On the Way to Birdland, a sweeping modern-day odyssey, explores themes such as philosophy, addiction, trauma, PTSD, friendship—and the risks and rewards in taking the giant step to leave the safe confines of your hometown for the sake of your family. It is our hope that On the Way to Birdland will inspire a new generation of readers to explore the music, the legacy, and the wisdom of John Coltrane. See Frank Morelli’s WHAT JOHN COLTRANE MEANS TO ME tribute page.
“With balance, beats, and rhythm, this heartfelt coming-of-age story is bridged together like a Coltrane riff under Frank Morelli’s skillful hand.” — Brenda Rufener, author of Since We Last Spoke and Where I Live
“A classic tale of choice and chance, with more twists than a Virginia mountain road.” — Valerie Nieman, author of To the Bones
“With a haunting secret, a brave journey, and fascinating characters, On the Way to Birdland will remind readers that when you take a giant step into the unfamiliar, you might just find yourself.” — Joelle Charbonneau, New York Times Best Selling author of Verify and Disclose
“Listening and believing our fears keeps away from a life we wish for. On the Way to Birdland shows us what’s possible when we listen to something else.” — Angelo Surmelis, author of The Dangerous Art of Blending In
“On the Way to Birdland is a work of tremendous heart. It sings with the joys and pains of family, hope, and impossible dreams. A must read for everyone trying to find their way back to what matters most.” — Adrienne Kisner, author of Dear Rachel Maddow and The Confusion of Laurel Graham
Self-proclaimed teenage philosopher, Cordy Wheaton, lives in a sleepy, southern town where nothing ever happens; not since his hero, jazz musician John Coltrane, left some seventy years earlier to “follow the sound.” Cordy’s life has been unraveling since the night his father and his brother, Travis, exploded on each other. The night Travis’s addiction transformed him from budding musician into something entirely different. The night Travis took his saxophone and disappeared.
When Cordy discovers that his father is seriously ill, the sixteen-year-old vows to reunite the Wheaton family before it’s too late. He embarks on a modern-day odyssey with forty bucks in his pocket and a dream to find his brother and convince him to be Travis again—by taking him to a show at famed Birdland Jazz Club in New York City, and reminding him of the common bonds they share with their legendary hero.
Cordy’s journey, punctuated by a fascinating cast of characters, is soon haunted by ghostly visions, traumatic dreams, and disembodied voices that echo through his mind. He starts to wonder if the voices are those of the fates, guiding him toward his destiny—or if he’s starting to lose his grip on reality.
Writing and creating have always been essential avenues in author Frank Morelli’s life. As an eight-year-old, he would hole himself up in his room paging through the National Geographic books he’d lifted from his grandfather’s barbershop. He would sit at his desk and write brand-new storylines to his favorite video games, complete with the most awful pencil sketches you’ve ever seen, and he’d store them in a barrel-shaped piggy bank he’d won playing Skee-ball on the New Jersey boardwalk. Morelli never put a dime in that bank, but it was always overflowing with crinkled pages and future ideas.
Morelli’s debut young adult novel, No Sad Songs (2018), was a YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominee, a VOX top Hopepunk title, and winner of a 2019 American Fiction Award for best coming-of-age story. His fiction and essays have been featured in The Saturday Evening Post, Cobalt Review, Philadelphia Stories, Boog City Review, and Highlights Magazine.
Morelli lives in High Point, NC with his best friend, their obnoxious alley cats, and two hundred pounds worth of dog. Connect with him on Twitter @frankmoewriter, on Instagram @frankmorelliauthor, or at his author site frankmorelliwrites.com.