Dean Economos and Alyssa Machinis are the co-authors of A North Shore Story:
For the teenagers of Chicago’s North Shore, everyone has something to hide.
In a daring attempt to impress the elusive Sophia, Michael makes the biggest decision of his life, stealing over a hundred thousand dollars from St. Theodore Community Church.
That same night, Nichole’s insecurities are finally forgotten with a drug she soon won’t be able to control.
When Michael makes his getaway, he sees his friend Joseph cheat on his girlfriend with the priest’s daughter and knock over a candle that sets the church ablaze.
As the consequences of that night unfold, Joseph is blamed for the fire and the missing money. Can the teenagers of the North Shore confess their vices to help their friend? Or will their greed, infidelity and jealousy change all their lives forever?
Read on for Dean and Alyssa’s interview.
Q: What inspired the book?
D.E.: The book was inspired by different experiences growing up. Those key events and experiences were then intertwined with the more current events of our church’s media coverage.
What originally got my gears turning was the media’s coverage of our former priest and his embezzlement of church funds. I then started to think about our time growing up at our church and the events that our friends and I experienced. After pinpointing key events, I began formulating the plotline which now makes up A North Shore Story.
Q: Since the book was inspired by true events, how did you portray your character?
D.E.: With my character, and with all the characters, I left elements of real life in the story and in the personality, but overall the fundamental qualities of each character are unique from their real life counterparts.
Q: How is your side of the story portrayed in the book?
A.M.: My side of the story is depicted in the book, but it’s pretty separated from reality. The biggest and only consistency between my character and I are our driven personalities
Q: What makes the characters so relatable?
D.E.: What makes these characters extremely relatable to readers are the confidence and relationship problems each one of them goes through, whether it be friendship or romantic. Some characters go through other internal struggles such as underage drinking, drug use, and sexual peer pressure. I think that everyone at one time or another has been in one of these circumstances.
Q: How did you work together to write the book?
D.E.: I felt more connected to writing the actual story. I was able to figure out and connect the different sub-plots of the book, while Alyssa is very familiar with novels and creative writing. With those skills, she helped make the book come alive..
Q: What challenges did you face writing this book?
A.M.: The most difficult part of writing the book was helping it come alive. The content was there, and the story was strong, but fostering the story from a passive standpoint into an active point of view was a challenge.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from the book?
A.M.: The most important lesson from the book is to be confident in who you are. Don’t worry about what other people think because the fear of judgment can turn you into a person you don’t want to be.
Dean Economos went to college at Loyola University Chicago and received his undergrad in Biology and minor in Biostatistics. He then went on to receive his M.B.A. from Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.
Alyssa Machinis went to college at University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in Advertising and minors in both Business and Communications. Now she works at an advertising-technology company as a Digital Strategist.