It was the late 90’s and I’d received some critical acclaim for my short stories. I felt like I’d proven myself as a writer and now it was time to take on the novel. Now, what kind of book was I going to write? Clue, I wanted to write something that I’d like to read. I’ve always been a fan of thrillers. It started way back with my penchant for Raymond Chandler’s mysteries. His wise guy, Phillip Marlowe, character had me glued to the page. I will never forget some of the lines Chandler wrote: “She had a voice like an angel and a body that would make a Priest kick a hole through a stained-glass window.” Classic.
So, naturally when it was time to create my protagonist, I decided on a law enforcement officer with a witty disposition. I went back to my youth working in my father’s candy store in Brooklyn. The characters in that store were full of . . . well, character. There was a special type of character who tended to linger around the store most of the day, in shifts. They were friends of my dad. They were dark-skinned, dark-haired and had names like Vinny and Joey and Max. Yeah, the Mafia. You see my father was Sicilian and because of that, these guys tended to protect the store while my father was gone and I was alone in the store. I learned something about that dynamic. Loyalty.
So, fast forward thirty years, and Nick Bracco was born. Nick is a Sicilian FBI agent who has a cousin, Tommy, who’s involved in the Mafia. Tommy ends up being the true wit in these thrillers and I get at least a request a month asking me to write a book with Tommy as the main character. I had to do tons of research on the FBI and how they operated. I even interviewed an FBI agent as part of my research. But Tommy’s character I never had to research. It seemed I knew at least twenty Tommy’s back in Brooklyn.
True story, I never had any intention of writing a sequel to A Touch of Deceit. It wasn’t until I’d sold over 50,000 copies over the first six months that a reader emailed me and asked when the sequel was coming out. A sequel? Well, I’m currently working on Nick Bracco #6 and hope to keep going as long as people want to read my stories.
Writing is hard. Research can be grueling. But whenever I hear from happy readers, it makes everything else seem worth it.