Meet the Author: Tom Rapko
Tom Rapko is the author of Diving the Seamount. In this his first novel he conveys his enthusiasm for the Baja lifestyle and for SCUBA diving. We asked Tom about his book, his writing influences and his diving.
Tom Rapko wanted to capture and share the experiences he enjoyed on the seamount with other scuba divers. Underlying all of this was a desire to illustrate the viability of the Baja Mexican lifestyle Tom found so appealing. In a world seemingly consumed with materialism Baja offers simplicity, truth, and freedom.
He admires and has been influenced by the writing of John Steinbeck--his ability to capture subtle nuances in prose and wit have always inspired him. Additionally, he enjoys Tolstoy and the use of his plot structure that follows a character's development and ultimate purpose through the course of a novel.
When the conditions are right his favourite dive is on the seamount due to the enormous diversity of life, the challenge of blue water diving and the opportunity to dive on what used to be a volcano. his second favorite is off the coast of Zanzibar, third would be Cano Island in Costa Rica.
Rapko's worst diving experience was in the Marshall Islands. The boat captain decided to join the dive. When they surfaced the boat was almost fully submerged. Fear is a good motivator, so they were able to eventually re-float the boat and use a back-up engine to get to shore.
His next book will be set in Costa Rica. Oddly enough it deals with bananas, genetic engineering, and jungle scuba diving. He sees Costa Rica as a "lost paradise where everything seems so primordial in the remote regions--it provides a perfect backdrop for a story with elements of beauty and something sinister too".
Tom Rapko is an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer who received his initial Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Open Water certification at the age of 16 in the brisk, murky waters off Jamestown, Rhode Island, USA.
For the next two years he dove the surrounding New England waters exclusively. Following graduation and relocation, Tom settled reluctantly in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In spite of the desert environment, a combination of profitable economic conditions and fortuitous career opportunities provided Tom with frequent world travel.
In 2000 Tom completed his PADI Divemaster certification, and by the time of his relocation back to the Boston area in 2004 had amassed over a thousand career dives in such locations as Australia, Baja California, Belize, Costa Rica, Crete, Florida, French Polynesia, Galapagos, Kwajalein Atoll, Maui, New Zealand, South Africa and Zanzibar.
In the Spring of 2004 Tom published his first book "Diving the Seamount", based on his experiences over the course of three years and ten trips to a Baja, California to which he developed a strong and lasting affinity.