The books shown on the left are by Giacomo Giammatteo. Click on the cover to order.
This interview was conducted by
Chris Phillips on August 1, 2012.
Chris Phillips: Why did you choose to
have the action all take place in
Brooklyn and not Wilmington?
Giacomo Giammatteo: I felt I needed a “recognizable” location for the primary setting associated with the mob activities. Not that Wilmington didn’t have some elements of that, but it’s too small of a city for murders to take place on that scale and have the detective wondering what’s going on. With Brooklyn, he (Frankie Donovan) had a lot of possibilities, even if he knew it was one of a few.
There’s another, less obvious reason, and that’s the “familiarity” factor. If I describe a mob type restaurant, or a “Little Italy” area in Brooklyn, I don’t need to go into much detail. Everyone has seen it, or something like it, in a dozen movies and TV shows. In Wilmington I’d have to do a little more work to make it believable.
Chris Phillips: Why did you leave the situation with Angie and Nicky drift so much? I realize that it added to the tension and since the rape was the source of the pregnancy it would do little to help Nicky or Angie, but still, if he had found out soon he would have simply gone after Tony instead of getting involved with the girl.
Giacomo Giammatteo: Excellent question, and the answer is a simple one. I let Angie decide it. All of my characters are either based on people I know, or combinations of people, who I mold into a new character. Once I create a character I label them, so in my book notes, Angie is listed as a real person that I’m familiar with. I do this so that I know how each character will react to different situations. When that rape happened, all I had to do was determine how Angie would react. And Angie would have never told Nicky, risking him harm.
Chris Phillips: I liked the comparison of people not from immigrant backgrounds didn't mingle well with those that didn't, but I am unclear how Frankie got involved with the girl he ended up marrying and why she was not from the neighborhood. Could you explain that more?
Giacomo Giammatteo: If you’ve lived in any of the cities, at least a while back, there was very little—in terms of geography—separating an “immigrant” area from the more “well-to-do” neighborhoods. Kids from different areas often attended the same schools, went to the same dances…It was easy to hook up with someone who wasn’t from the neighborhood.
Chris Phillips: How many books are in the series?
Giacomo Giammatteo: There are six books in the Friendship & Honor Series, one for each of the rules of murder mentioned by Johnny Muck.
Chris Phillips: How many are done?
Giacomo Giammatteo: I have three written, although the third needs more editing. Book II, Murder Has Consequences will be out at the end of the year, if all goes according to plan. It’s with beta readers now.
Chris Phillips: Are the same characters, those who survived, involved throughout the series?
Giacomo Giammatteo: Yes, at least to start with. Some might die. New ones will come in. Also, Frankie Donovan has a minor role in the first book of the new series coming out in September, the Blood Flows South Series.
Chris Phillips: I liked the texture and feel you created by that Wilmington neighborhood. Do you find yourself using that as a basis for the other books in the series?
Giacomo Giammatteo: Book II is once again split between Brooklyn and Wilmington. It has dual plot lines, which is something I’m fond of. A Bullet for Carlos, the first book in Blood Flows South has dual plot lines also.
Chris Phillips: How much of which characters are based on people you know or grew up with?
Giacomo Giammatteo: Almost all of them. The one that is almost a clone is the character, “Doggs Caputo,” the one who cursed all the time. That truly was my older brother, whose nickname was “Doggs.”
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