I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences.
Somehow I survived the transition to adulthood, but when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 41 animals—12 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 26 pigs.
Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.
Since this is a bio some of you might wonder what I do. By day I am a headhunter, scouring the country for top talent to fill jobs in the biotech and medical device industry. In the evening I help my wife tend the animals, and at night—late at night—I turn into a writer.
What is your favorite song and why?
It's an oldie from way back in 1967, maybe 68. "La La Means I Love You" by the Delfonics. This was the “song” for my wife and I when we were dating. And yes, that is a very long time ago.
What is your favorite movie and why?
It used to be the Maltest Falcon. I grew up on Bogart films. But now I guess I'd have to go with Babe. Sounds like a silly choice, but my wife and I have a sanctuary with 41 animals, and in fact, we once had two of the pigs who were in the second Babe movie. Horrible movie, but adorable pigs. I thought that first Babe movie was so well done, and they captured the personality of all the animals perfectly. To this day, if I see it on TV, I can’t turn it off.
What is a fictional book you enjoy? What about it made you pick it?
My favorite book of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.
We were big readers in my family and my brother gave it to me to read when I was about twelve. It was tough reading back then, but I loved the story, and picked it up years later and really got to enjoy it. I love the way Dumas drew you into the character, made you feel what Edmond Dantes felt. Dumas was a master.
What is a non-fictional book you enjoy? Again, why did you pick this book?
Scipio Africanus-Greater Than Napoleon? By B. H. Liddell Hart
It might seem to be an odd choice, but I am a huge history buff, especially Ancient Rome. So little was known and written about Scipio. Most people don't even know about him and yet he could well have been the greatest general of all time. A brilliant statesman and all around damn nice guy to boot. Oddly enough, almost every kid coming out of school knows Hannibal, but the guy who beat Hannibal… Ask most people about Scipio, and the response you get is, “who's he?”
Name a song that makes you cry (or nearly). Is there some significance?
Music of the Night, from the Phantom of the Opera.
It is one of the most beautiful songs ever. It is so packed with emotion…so powerful, that it yanks the emotion out of you. The lyrics are beautiful, but when put to that music…magnificent!
What is a recipe you could eat over and over again
My character in Murder Takes Time talks about this, and my wife would tell you—it's me. Spaghetti and meatballs. But, and this is huge... it HAS to be the family recipe. I never order anything the family cooks from restaurants.
Describe your day, in great detail
You said detail, so here it is.
My day is usually hectic and yet, organized.
I start out @ 6:30. The first thing I do is feed by crazy buddy, Dennis, the wild boar. He must see the light come on in the bedroom, because by the time I hit the kitchen he's at the fence and watching my every move.
After that it's coffee. French press, four tablespoons per cup. I use Turtle Creek Coffee Co, from S. Carolina. Great coffee.
Then I try to do a little social media, send out some tweets, post something on Facebook, answer invitations on linked in, post something on pinterest, etc...Afterwards I have to do my day job—recruiting. Around 3:00, I go to feed animals. It takes me about an hour, with my wife's help. Then it's back to work recruiting. In between all this there is a lot of coffee.
At @ 6:00, I quit and start writing, or editing. I eat dinner about 8:00. Then back to writing. It might be a blog post, or some plotting on a new novel, but something. I keep writing until about midnight, then read for a while and go to sleep. The next day it starts over.
On any given day an animal emergency can throw this schedule off, but I try to stick to it.
A string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn’t good.
Frankie has taken two oaths in his life—the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable.
Those relationships have forced Frankie into many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years—and risks losing his life.
In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.
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This iPad 2 promotion will run from June 18 – August 17. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on August 18, 2012.
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