Author with area ties mixes religion and politics

When Gerry FitzGerald decided to write his first novel, he figured he would cause a stir by focusing on the two biggest things that everyone knows they are not supposed to bring up in conversation: religion and politics.

The book, Seat of Power, which was released in January, has just reached 700 copies sold. FitzGerald now plans to return to his hometown of Albany, which is also where the action in the book takes place, to autograph copies and talk about "Seat of Power."

The book is heavily based on the life of his father " a man who, at one point, thought he wanted to become a priest and later became a Times Union reporter.

"My father went to Christian Brothers Academy then the seminary to become a priest," FitzGerald said. After the seminary, his father continued to another seminary in Niagara and then went to Rome for two years to continue his studies. Being able to go to Rome and study to become a priest typically guarantees success in the religious ranking system, FitzGerald said.

"You go there, and as long as you don't screw up, you're going to be somebody," he said.

A year before he was supposed to be ordained, FitzGerald's father changed his mind and left Rome. He came back to Albany, worked for the Times Union as a reporter for a short time and then moved to New York City.

The main character in "Seat of Power" follows the same path as FitzGerald's father, as the book, which is written in the style of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," is based on religious secrets discovered by the Knights Templar and political structures.

FitzGerald's own background is not in writing but aviation. He was the director of aviation for John F. Kennedy, Newark and LaGuardia airports for 30 years before starting his own aviation management company called Aviation Perspective in New Fairfield, Conn.

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