The Beginning...

The Beginning...

From the time I was 8 until I was 13, I watched The Twilight Zone, a fantasy and science fiction horror anthology, on the small black-and-white Andrea television set in the Romano household.

       Intrigued by the ideas that came from the mind of the Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, I always had the itch to be a writer. I wanted to be creative and always had stories floating around in my head giving my characters descriptions and fictitious names. 

       It’s no wonder my grades in math and science were so dismally low. It wasn’t until I took the SAT, the college admission test, that I realized what a dope I really was. But I still dreamed of one day doing something creative. I waited patiently until I was 58.

       My first book, FISH FARM, introduces Gino Ranno as the main character with ties to the mob. Not every Sicilian is in the mafia, but we all have a phone number. Gino, Luigino (Little Louis) was named after me. Ranno was a name I used as a teenager whenever I got into trouble and needed a fake name to avoid my parents finding out what a mutt I was. 

       In INTERCESSION, if I didn’t like you in real life, I made your name one of the pedophiles like the photographer Mineo. Vic Gonnella, whom the 7 book series is named after, was my dear friend until today Vic Cipullo, who was an NYPD super cop and detective for 43 years. Raquel Ruiz, his partner, got her first name from a cute Puerto Rican waitress in an Italian restaurant in the Bronx. Ruiz was after a girl I knew who lived in my building in the James Monroe Projects in the Bronx. I have this thing for cute Puerto Rican girls it seems. 

       John Deegan, the protagonist in INTERCESSION, is named after my longest friend John Roach, who actually went to the seminary. John lived a few blocks from the Major Deegan Expressway. 

       This is how it is with all my books, and it's fun for me. Take my latest book, THE SURGEON. In the book, there’s an NYPD detective, Jim McLaughlin, whom I nicknamed Jimmy Cartoons. In my cigar club, there is a member by the same real name who I gave the moniker Jimmy Cartoons because he sits with the Simpsons on while he voraciously reads from his Kindle. And the sound is usually so low that it's hard to hear the dialogue. 

       I like the real Jimmy Cartoons because he’s a nice guy. If I didn’t admire him, he could have been the serial killer Paul Vogelbach, who is pursued by Vic and Raquel, named after my co-writer Paul Youngelson. 

       I suppose it's art imitating life and my way of memorializing the good guys and the bad guys in my life. 

       I still suck at math, by the way.