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Pennsylvania writer pens fictional tale based in Fallbrook

Even though he has never visited the area, Peter Paul Licata has an interesting take on the community that stakes its claim as the “Avocado Capital of the World.”

The Pennsylvania-based author and auto salesman begins his second self-published book this way:

God kissed Fallbrook, California.

That’s what the residents will tell you. So it only makes sense that angels like to frequent the area. The heavenly visitors come to Fallbrook with a great affinity for its friendly, kind, angelic-like inhabitants. The folks in this rural community lovingly tend to the lush groves and peaceful orchids among the gently rolling hills of their emerald paradise. And the land returns the love.

Licata, who turns 61 late this month, said he learned about the northern San Diego County community through Internet research and by contacting local groups. Licata liked Fallbrook’s small town feel, and the ability to substitute avocado pits for baseballs meshed well with his fictional story, he said in a recent telephone interview.

“All the pieces were fitting together,” he said. “It seemed the ideal place to set the story.”

The 72-page “Avocado Magic,” which Licata said is targeted toward youths and adults, blends baseball, fruit, faith, love, hope and health into a heart-warming tale.

The story centers on Lance Rutter, a down-on-his-luck single father to 6-year-old Billy and 12-year-old Maura-Jean, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and hasn’t walked unaided for 10 years.

Lance, a former minor league baseball pitcher, has watched his life slowly unravel and his avocado grove decline following his wife’s death. As the business teeters on bankruptcy, the children overhear their father wish for a bit of magic to save the day.

His son subsequently encounters an angel, and a turnaround ensues that includes a World Series pitching appearance, a miraculous recovery, a newfound romance and an infusion of magic into the family’s future avocado crops.

Licata took a roundabout path into writing. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Scranton. He lives in that city, and is a salesman for a car dealer in the area that sells Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Mitsubishi cars and trucks. He previously wrote “GolfHead and the Grass Menagerie.”

“Avocado Magic” was published by AuthorHouse, which serves emerging, self-published authors. It is available as an e-book or in paperback. The publishing company can be contacted at http://www.authorhouse.com. The address of Licata’s Internet site is http://www.avocadomagic.com.

Licata said he hopes to donate some of the proceeds from the book to Jerry Lewis’ annual fundraising efforts for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Licata said he also hopes to eventually vacation in the Fallbrook area to get a first-hand feel for the place.

“My intent was to start a spark with the book,” he said.

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