SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT How One Man Survived the Trauma of Adoption, the Snares of the Music Business and Found His Birthmother and Seven Sisters

Book Cover


20th Century (multiple decades)


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The main character was told at age eight that he was adopted and that his real mother had died in childbirth. He shouldered the guilt for his own mother's demise but kept her alive in his heart, always believing that he would find her one day. He eventually finds his mother and seven sisters.



Short Summary

A young boy is adopted into a family just after birth. His adoptive mother is cross addicted to prescription medications and given to great emotional turbulence. He grows up in a very cold and unloving environment until he leaves home for New York City at age 18 to find fame and fortune.

Later in life, through a strange turn of events he actually finds his real mother and also discovers that he has seven sisters. His birthmother passed away in 2015 but he is still in close contact with his siblings.


Southern New Jersey/New York City

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Rags to Riches,Quest,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Voyage and Return

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message,Happy Ending,Coming of Age,Twist,Philosophical Questions,Other

Mature Audience Themes

Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Gary Mesiano/David Leigh Byron

Age: childhood through adulthood

Gender: Male

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Crazy,Empathetic,Outspoken,Faithful,Funny,Gracious,Romantic,Sarcastic,Heartthrob,Sophisticated,Insecure,Naive,Underdog,Unapologetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Jeanne

Age: 62

Gender: Female

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Selfless,Outspoken,Faithful,Funny,Gracious

Additional Character Details

Name: Jeanne

Age: 62

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Charming,Selfless,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Skillful,Faithful,Funny,Gracious

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

Please refer to "Treatment" already provided.

About The Author

D.L. BYRON Probably best know for having written the classic Rock anthem "Shadows of the Night", made famous by Pat Benatar, Byron has been a part of the New York music scene for some time. Benatar's version of "Shadows of the Night" went on to sell millions of units and garnered a Grammy Award. In the late seventies Byron was a staff-writer for a major music publisher when he was discovered by Clive Davis who in turn signed to Arista records. The label, at the time, was looking for the next Elvis Costello or Graham Parker and Byron seemed to fit the bill. He was paired up with producer Jimmy Iovine, who had just finished Tom Petty's "Damn The Torpedoes" LP. Together they recorded Byron's major label debut, "This Day And Age" from which was released "Listen To The Heartbeat" as its first single. "Heartbeat" went Top 40 on the Billboard charts and Top 10 in most cities in America's greater North East. Following his release from Arista, Byron began once again to take up the mantle as a songwriter placing much of his work with other artists. But in the late 90's, returning to the path of "recording artist" he founded his own indie label, Zen Archer records, releasing nine recordings including an EP and recent single. As of this writing, D.L. Byron continues to tour the North East performing in a solo/acoustic setting. He also recently released his first book entitled "Shadows Of The Night", which not only details his adventures in the music industry but also delves in his personal story of adoption trauma and his eventual finding of his birthmother and seven sisters. His book is available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54,55+,13-17

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Zen Archer

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available



Information not completed




Gary struggles through childhood feeling out of place with his adopted parents. He feels like his Aunt Marie is his only ally. Gary finds solace in music and eventually finds his way to NYC with his talents. Gary settles down after a respectable career but longs to find his real family.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: FAIR

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

The book profile development pitch defers to the short summary but the development pitch could be a chance to explore the narrative's themes about adoption trauma and how this affected Gary throughout his life and career.

Draw of Story

The prologue showing how Gary had to take care of his drug addicted adopted mother really helps to understand why he was so set on finding his birth mother despite growing up with two parents. As the mother's demise is only shown through distance when Gary is young and not as dependence until he is a teenager, this opening adds tension because the wait creates suspense to reach the adopted mother's rock bottom as Gary grows up.

Possible Drawbacks

There is very little dialogue between observations which creates a lot of telling instead of showing about the characters. Much of the events are shown through the protagonist's perspective, but adding dialogue will allow characters to show display their own unedited personalities as open to interpretation by the audience.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is children put up for adoption are meant to have the option to a better life, but Gary felt he got the shaft in his adoption. The theme of adoption trauma is an interesting angle and his somewhat happy ending in finding his real family is reassuring.

Fanbase Potential

With some alteration in pacing and focus this could have a decent sized fanbase i the themes are made more consistent throughout different points of Gary's life rather than just being towards later in his life.

Awards Potential

This is could have awards potential given the seriousness of the family drama coupled with an uncommon social issue and various trauma evoking a range of emotions to gain acting recognition. However, the theme would need to be more apparent and focused about adoption reconnecting rather than also being about finding a successful music career.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The adoption trauma and the relationship with Marie is what makes the story different than a normal coming of age story. By either developing the theme earlier in the childhood or focusing just on the later in life search during Marie's care the unique elements will be at the forefront rather than just a timeline of Gary's life.

Lead Characters

Gary is sentimental, upstanding and caring despite his cold upbringing. He is hopeful and resilient.

Uniqueness of Story

The concept of adoption trauma is fresh as is the relationship between Gary and his adoptive mother and aunt, however the narrative tends to have a broader focus of the coming of age and career of Gary showing how he settled down into every aspect of his life not just his quest to find his birth family because of his messed up adopted family.

Possible Formats

Film - Streaming, Film - Indie

Analyst Recommendation



While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

Either focusing on a shorter span of the biography to include flashback of traumatic moments or reflecting on the whole timeline earlier to introduce the theme of adoption trauma will make the message more consistent. Caring for one's elderly aunt after an esteemed career and hoping to find one's birth family is a very different mindset than wishing for an escape while caring for one's drug addled mother as a teen. By connecting the goal of finding one's birth family to a consistent motivation, the main conflict will be easier to follow. In between leaving home and getting married, the focus seems to be on career success and women so this section somewhat turns the birth family plot into a subplot of the Pat Benatar cover in the wake of looking for the success as the main goal.