Fish Farm is a story of the New York Italian mob getting into a war with a Colombian drug dealer in the Hamptons when one of their own and his on-again, off-again girlfriend become tangled into the Colombian’s kidnapping ring. Much of the story takes place in the Hamptons, NY, but there are other settings inspired by New York and New Jersey. The story is ultimately about the strength of Sicilian loyalties, a serious Italian tradition.
Tell us something about yourself.
Born and raised (as it were) in The Bronx, I am a second generation Italian-American. My successful business career interrupted my love of writing. I wrote scripts in college and poems to express myself for many years, but ended up with a degree in business. I’ve actually worked in the energy industry for years– I worked in an executive capacity for Castle Oil and Amerada Hess, and now am CEO of Informa Energy, my energy consultation firm. Writing “Fish Farm” is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I’m finally able to commit myself to writing.
I am also an Italophile- I love everything Italy. I spent a lot of time traveling to Italy over the past few years. I started out by researching my family history, and was able to trace it back for several generations. During one of my trips to Italy, I visited Lercara Friddi in Palermo, where I met distant cousins. It was amazing.
What inspired you to write this book?
Being at the Fish Farm one evening in Amagansett, New York, in a remote area and imagining never getting out alive. Literally, I was visiting the little restaurant they have and I just ran the story through my head while I looked around. It was the perfect setting, beautiful view of the water but secluded. No one would know if someone disappeared there.
How did you choose the title?
That’s the place….it’s a real live Fish Farm…not all fish are caught in the ocean or rivers.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
No publisher was interested. Someone told me “Gone With The Wind” was rejected 7 times. So I decided not to deal with the frustration and did it myself. Amazon.com’s CreateSpace was fairly easy, so I just did it.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I made up a fictitious older brother in high school for a “My favorite person” essay. It saved my floundering scholastic career. The essay was so dramatic, my teacher insisted on reading it to the class. He became one of my biggest fans after that, and always praised me to other teachers. I still don’t think he knows. I’ve also written poetry for years, and am working on publishing a collection.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes….I need to have some quiet, and I like to have a cigar. I also love to play some Sinatra, Dean Martin,Sammy Davos Jr. et al softly in the background.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
A lot of the characters and names were inspired by family members, and surnames from my family tree dating back to the 1500’s in Italy, and people whom I’ve known all my life. It was important that the names be Italian, and also that they kept some truth to their inspirations.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned that writing and publishing a book can be done if you really want it. You have to push for it though, and you can’t let rejection deter you. I also learned that I’m always learning.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would hire two proof readers.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Hemingway is, and always has been one of my absolute favorites. His characters drink a lot and his mood is depressing. I don’t drink, but it makes for a good story. I’m not depressed either but I can sympathize. I also enjoy Dan Brown’s work. His plots are just incredibly well written and keep you reading. And his research, it shows in his work that he spends a lot of time getting things right.
Oh, and who can forget Poe, for his misery? What can I say, I like that kind of atmosphere.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Right now I am focusing on a book of poetry, called “Anxiety’s Nest” that I would like to see published over the next two or three months. It’s a collection of poems that I’ve written from the 1960’s to the present, and I’ve had some very good feedback from those who’ve read a little. Also, my sequel to Fish Farm is in progress. It’s most of the same characters (the Italian ones of course), but this time with some Albanian flair. I’ve been doing a lot of research for the sequel, and have spent time with some Albanian friends. It’s been a great experience, and I’ve learned a great deal about their culture, something I hope to impart on my readers. Unique is a good word to describe it.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Get a good editor and do not give up. The editing process can be tiring, but push through and keep in mind that it’s to better your work. Enjoy the writing and work from a detailed summary or outline of the story, but let it flow. Don’t be afraid to go where the story takes you.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
People who enjoy ethnicity and culture without getting offended. People who enjoy gangsters and how they live their lives form day to day, or at least how they like to live their lives. I think fans of any mafia-genre entertainment would like my book; it was written with a realist point of view and influenced by the mafia-stories from Sicily that I grew up with.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
www.FishFarm.Homestead.com is the website, and it has some great info. There are links to the Amazon page that has some great reviews, and the site also has an excerpt from Fish Farm, more about me, there’s even some interactive maps so readers can check out the real places that inspired me for the book. There’s my email address Also, readers can follow the links to the FaceBook page and Twitter page or just search for Fish Farm:The Novel.