Local author finds success with book in award categories

MARION — The book "I Slept in a Pineapple," written by Marion author Randy Rassoul, is picking up speed in area communities and being recognized by national award organizations.

Earlier this year the novel was a finalist in the travel category of the National Indie Excellence Awards and last month it was an award-winning finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards for the categories of best interior design and travel guides and essays.

"I was thrilled," said Rassoul about both accomplishments. "It's very exciting because it's not an ordinary book you'd pick up. It's beautiful and custom designed."

"I Slept in a Pineapple" is a travel guide focusing on historic vacation rentals in England, Scotland, Wales, the isle of Jersey, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland including manors, thatched-roof cottages, townhouses, lighthouse keeper's quarters, towers, estates and more. The book includes vivid photographs, descriptions, tips, worksheets and guides for readers to find and book their own dream rental property.

Earning the recognition two years after the book's publication is exciting for Rassoul. It validates her past decision to write the book and spend the time putting everything together, she said.

Rassoul often promotes her book by giving readings and discussions for area organizations, clubs, groups and libraries. Her next event will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Tamarack District Library in Lakeview, and a full schedule can be found on her website, randyrassoul.com.

"What I like most is the sense that I'm revealing a well-kept secret," Rassoul said. "Most North American travelers don't know of the thousands of vacation rentals available which are one-of-a-kind places. It's a chance to stay in a piece of living history. It's fun for me to open their eyes to nontraditional travel."

Although still enjoying the success of "I Slept in a Pineapple," Rassoul is already working on her next book. Titled "Fast Girls Don't Have More Fun," the novel is a creative nonfiction piece about retired racing greyhounds. She adds a personal touch by including details from her own adopted retired greyhound named Emerald.

"It's another labor of love," Rassoul added.

She hopes to finish the book by late spring.

Groups who are interested in booking Rassoul for a session or those who want to purchase a copy of "I Slept in a Pineapple" can find more information on her website.