Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a writer?
I come from one of the many “blue-collar” neighborhoods that are spread all over New York City with my particular neighborhood being in the Morrisania section of the south Bronx. The vast majority of kids I grew up with went to Catholic school (including me) and the prevailing mindset of the people was love of God, family and country, in that order. That was “way” back in the 1950s and today I have graduated to senior citizen with a bunch of grandkids and I qualify for discounts on all sorts of things from coffee to car-rentals. Writing was always in me and I scribbled this and that for years. Then I began doing some newspaper commentary about 20 years ago. That was on a part-time basis and lasted for about five years as various newspapers went belly-up. I only began to write seriously about five years ago and it has become (as I like to say) my “permanent senior moment.” I love it and there is no turning back. My first book, Slippery Willie’s Stupid Ugly Shoes, a children’s book, came out in Jan. 2011. The Priest and The Peaches is my first full length novel which launched Jan. 2012.
Tell us a little about your book The Priest and the Peaches.
This is the story about five, newly orphaned kids who find themselves trying to stay together as a family. They have no money, the rent is past due, the utility payments are behind and the younger boys need clothes and shoes. Teddy Peach, 18, is the oldest and he is determined to keep the family together as outside forces are at work trying to break them apart. Enter Father Tim Sullivan, the local parish priest, who quietly acts as their guide as they begin to navigate the turbulent waters of “grown-up world.”
Thinking about the whole writing process, what is the easiest part of the process for you? What is the most difficult?
For me, the initial process begins with pen and paper. This might be the easiest. It is like my brain is a dump truck loaded with all of the necessary materials to build a house. The paper is the property where the house will be built. So I dump it all in a big pile on the paper as it pours out of my pen or pencil. Now all I have to do is figure out where everything goes. Onward to the keyboard to sort this mess. That’s the hard part. The hardest part is the final inspection prior to public viewing.
Do you have any routines or rituals when you are writing?
No, not really. I do work in the mornings though. Finish in the early afternnoon. That’s my ideal but even that is interrupted many times. The challenge is to avoid the interruptions but it is easier said than done when working from home.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yup–No matter what, you have to keep trudging along and never quit. My favorite quote is “Do your BEST, let God do the rest.”
Finally, can you tell us a little about what you are working on now?
I have begun the sequel to The Priest and the Peaches and already it has taken an unexpected direction. More to follow.