TTS: The Top Shelf welcomes Giacomo Giammatteo to the blog! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book A Bullet For Carlos.
GG: Thanks, Misty. I’m thrilled to be here with you and your readers. As far as me, I grew up in Wilmington, DE, not too far from Philadelphia, and a lot of the stories in Murder Takes Time came from childhood experiences. As to Bullet For Carlos, it was born out of some of those same experiences.
TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?
GG: I like to write books about emotions and feelings that people experience all the time, but perhaps expand them to a grander scale and let people see how similar conflict might play out in other scenarios. Examples: In Murder Takes Time, it was all about Friendship and Honor, and that theme permeated the book and really determined how the plot developed. In some ways, Bullet for Carlos is the same. Instead of friendship and honor, it deals with family, and the conflict that happens when a family is on two sides of the law. I saw a lot of this growing up too.
TTS: I like crossovers and people who have read your first book Murder Takes Time, will see a familiar character in this one! Are we going to see more of this?
GG: Absolutely! I was hoping readers liked this, and I stick to it in all my books. In the sequel to Murder Takes Time, which launches March 5th, there isn’t much of this, but in the next book, the first in a new series, I use Tip Denton to partner up with the new detective and help “introduce” him.
TTS: When you create your characters do you model them after people you know in real life?
GG: Yes. I think the absolute best characters are ones that are based on real people. My characters aren’t always spitting images of those people, but I use the “model” to determine how that character will make decisions, and how they’ll respond to different scenarios. Connie Gianelli was the toughest character I have done to date. I wanted to try a female lead because I haven’t been happy with a lot of what I’ve read, but I had to rewrite the book three times before I got her right.
TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph?
GG: Most of my books involve dual plotlines, and/or dual timelines, so the planning is always complicated, but regardless, I always have the ending planned. That, for me, is an absolute. Nothing disappoints me more than getting involved in a book and coming to an ending that seems rushed, or thrown together. I swore I’d never do that. And that’s one reason why I offer a guarantee on my website. If you don’t like my books, you get your money back or a free one.
TTS: Were there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go? How did you deal with that?
GG: There are always little things that change as you write, but nothing major, no. I take a LOT of time planning what will go into a book before I sit down to write. In fact, I’m usually plotting three or four books ahead of what I’m writing. Example, right now I’m writing the sequel to Bullet, but I am jotting down plot lines and notes for scenes for three other books that will come after it.
TTS: What do you think makes a great villain that may not be canon?
GG: I personally think that the best villains are just like the best of any other character—they’re real. I think the worst villains are the ones who are presented as all evil. No one is all evil. Even Satan was an angel once.
TTS: What led you to writing?
GG: I came from a very large Italian family and storytelling was a form of entertainment. I guess the bottom line is I love telling stories. I just never got around to it until later in life.
TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or are you going to branch out into others?
GG: I love writing in the mystery/suspense genre, but I have already started branching out. I have three epic fantasy novels written and as soon as I finish the fourth, which will complete the series, I’ll probably publish them, but I suspect under a different name. I have also started toying with children’s books, using the animals on our sanctuary as the characters. And lastly, I plan on bringing out a few non-fiction books on resume writing, interviewing, etc…
TTS: Do you feel that authors are influenced by what they read?
GG: I have read that all my life, about write what you know, and read heavily in your genre, and on and on…I don’t buy it. I probably read more history than anything, and I read a lot of SciFi/fantasy, and a lot of mystery and many other types. I don’t think any of it affects how I write.
TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now?
GG: Murder Has Consequences is launching on March 5th.
I am just finishing a novella—Finding Family—about the background and history of Dominic Mangini, Connie’s “Uncle” in Bullet for Carlos.
Old Wounds, the first book in a new series, was just put out to beta readers. If all goes well, I hope to release it in June, maybe July.
A Bullet For Dominic, the sequel to Bullet For Carlos, should be out by the end of the year.
Lastly, Murder Takes Patience, the third book in the Friendship and Honor series should be ready to go early next year. It’s written, but only in rough draft.
TTS: Once again I would like to thank Giacomo for joining us! I would love to have you back here again sometime!
GG: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. And if any readers have questions, fire away, or if you’re more comfortable emailing, here’s my address. firstname.lastname@example.org
Giacomo Giammatteo lives in Texas, where he and his wife run an animal sanctuary and take care of 41 loving rescues. By day, he works as a headhunter in the medical device industry, and at night, he writes.
Synopsis: Detective Connie Giannelli’s life has been torn apart several times. First when her mother died and then years later when she found out her Uncle Dominic was in the mob. Her life is about to be shredded again, and this time it could destroy her.
Connie’s love of family and her badge are both threatened when an undercover drug bust leaves two cops dead and the drugs missing. Internal Affairs is looking for any excuse to take her badge, but she’s not worried about them finding the missing drugs–her secrets could prove to be far worse.
Now Connie’s racing against the clock to figure out who killed her partners and took the drugs–dirty cops or Uncle Dominic’s friends. And she has to do it before IA pins the whole damn thing on her.
I have one copy of A Bullet For Carlos up for grabs! I’m pretty sure it’s an e-book but the press kit didn’t say. To enter, leave a comment and make sure your e-mail you enter in the e-mail box is valid. I will choose a winner via random.org at 8pm eastern on Friday the 8th of March! Good luck!