This is a true story. I swear. When I was busy writing Confessions, another character popped into my head. Her name was Gabrielle Felice Medini. Okay, I thought, that's easy enough as soon as I'm done writing the rough draft of my current book. What happened next? The idea that Gabi is the daughter of a Mafia boss formed. Just great. So... I had a make-believe conversation with Gabi.
Me: Gabi, you're an awesome character to write, but you can't have any ties to the mob.
Gabi: Why not?
Me: Because I don't have any clue to Mafia life. I haven't even watched The Godfather.
Gabi: That sucks for you.
Me: It sure does. How does this sound? You're the daughter of the Mafia boss, but you have a life far from that lifestyle? It'll just be part of your history.
Gabi: That isn't what happens though.
Me: Okay. Hit me with it. What happens?
Gabi: I kidnap my father's hitman because I have been in love with him forever.
Me: Oh hell.
And then I started writing the story and doing the research. Out of all my books, Dangerous Flames took me the longest to write and I believe it was because of the research involved. I had to sink into the world through literature and movies. I read everything Mafia related I could find. I didn't limit the books to fiction either. I read biographies from crooked cops involved with the mob, investigators who specialize in crime families, and autobiographies from hitmen. I was reading this one book about a famous hitman, it creeped me out so bad that I had to stop reading and watched the interview on YouTube. His name is The Iceman. Check out the documentary here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXgi72W2H7U
Then I started watching Mafia movies and The Sopranos.... and got hooked on The Sopranos. My kids and the guy I had been dating at the time complained every time I watched a movie. "Another Mob show?" they'd ask. I was obsessed with the mob for an entire year. My biggest "help" in finding information regarding the Mafia were websites I found on Google. There are several informative sites available (or were when I wrote the book) that explained everything from the words in the Mafia world to the ranks in crime families.
I also needed to know about guns because I had always stayed away from them. One of my friends loved guns and asked if I wanted to tag along to a store. Of course I went! It was the first time I approached someone in public and said: I'm an author. Can I ask you questions about ____. The salesman was more than helpful. He demonstrated how a Glock worked and asked every question I could think up at the moment. Months later I was able to attend some workshops for authors put on by a local homicide detective who brought his guns.
My biggest surprise was when I was having a garage sale one afternoon. A car parked in front of my yard and this gruff looking man climbed out. He strode with a purpose across my grass and started checking out the things I had for sale. This man was different. Finally he said, "I'm really looking for some furniture. Is this all you have?" I told him it was and we started chatting. I found out that he was relocating to Phoenix after being let out of prison. He found out that I'm an author. "What are you writing right now?" he asked. "A Mafia love story," I said. He got excited and told me that back in the day, he had been a wiseguy which made my entire month! Was he telling the truth? I don't know, but he did give me enough believable information and that is what matters.
The book I dreaded writing at first is one I love now. It is the first book in the Mafia Hearts series. Dangerous Flames is now available! Read the following blurb and grab a copy of the book here: http://amzn.com/B00DUJ21HS
Mikolas Russo is one hit away from becoming part of the Medini crime family. But is this what he really wants? Killing people for money is what he has been trained to do even though he’d give anything to trade the nightmares for sweet dreams of the forbidden Gabrielle. Thinking he has the chance to reveal his feelings to her, he arrives at her house to find her brandishing a loaded gun, ready to take control.
During Gabrielle’s teen years, she attended a private school in Italy. This is where she learns the meaning of Mafia but believed crime families no longer existed. Now back in Las Vegas and demanding answers to the hard questions, she quickly learns that the Mafia still has a hand in controlling society and her father is the Don of the largest mob in the area.
The Mafia doesn’t seem so glamorous any more after a hit is taken out on her father, especially when Gabrielle has reason to believe that her secret love's safety is in jeopardy too.
Will the truth fulfill her desires, or will Mikolas be the one to shatter everything?