Raimo Strangis forced to give up his dream of music stardom after being diagnosed with a debilitating illness, but reimagines rock-star life in new fiction book
Raimo Strangis, an author and chef from Innisfil, lives out his dream of becoming a famous musician in a rock band in his newly published book, With Little Means, which is now available on Amazon.
Strangis is a fiction writer originally from Toronto. He moved to Innisfil a couple years ago with his wife and two children and currently works full-time as a Red Seal-certified chef at a local private school.
Strangis wrote and self-published his first book in 2011, The Kingdom of Grape, a children’s novel based off a classic fairy tale.
After the success from his first book, he decided to write a more mature novel geared toward young adults.
With Little Means takes readers on a journey through the perils of fame and stardom through a reality TV show called Remarkable that brings contestants dreams to life by using memory-based technology to penetrate the mind.
“The core of (the book) is about a family man in his 40s with a regular job, but always wanted to be a musician,” says Strangis. “You always wonder ‘what if’ and this story goes into his mind and retrieves his memories and turns it into a reality TV show.”
The protagonist in the story, Rai Starr, struggles with the difficult decision to either remain a family man or to take a chance and enter the world of music stardom when he is given the opportunity to live out his dream through Remarkable.
Strangis compares his book idea with the movie Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise, who parallels back and forth between reality and illusions of the mind.
Much of the book’s plot draws on Strangis’ own background in the music world. In his early 20s, Strangis was the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of the ’90s rock band Cranney, which was the name of a street he grew up on in Vaughan.
The title of his first book, The Kingdom of Grape, was taken from a song he wrote in real life while playing with his band. His second book incorporates a fictional band called Divine Light, an important part of the story that Strangis admits allows him to “relive his glory moments” from his band days.
“I wanted to find a way to make (the book) relatable and reality shows are so popular,” says Strangis. “It’s kind of a believable story… a reality show that talks about people giving up on their dreams.”
Like the main character in his book, Strangis was forced to let go of his dream of being in the limelight of the music industry after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis several years ago.
“It’s hard to live with,” says Strangis. “I wanted to give people with disabilities like me a chance to relive that dream though my book.”
Strangis, who now lives with an ostomy bag, joined a support group in Barrie for people who suffer from colitis where he gives talks about the condition and tries to help those affected by the debilitating ailment.
“I try to help people with this,” says Strangis. “We talk about new products and share ideas about treatments.”
Strangis is working on a third book that takes place in the future where Earth is ‘destroyed’ and the entire population must move to another planet.
“Those are things I know about – music, cooking, and space,” jokes Strangis.
His first two books are available in soft cover on Amazon, Kobo, and Kindle, and will be available in hard copy in January on Lulu.com.
Strangis admits that his biggest problem with writing is knowing when to stop.
“My writing has definitely improved from the last (book), but I’m still perfecting it,” he says. “I’m always touching the story, fixing it. I need to learn to accept ‘it’s finished’.”
To read more about Strangis and his books or to listen to his original songs, visit his website Raimo Strangis .