Did you ever want something so badly you could taste it? Of course you have. Who hasn’t? I was afraid of heights, so I never dreamed of being an astronaut. But like any other kid, I dreamed of playing major league ball, shredding lead guitar in a rock band, racing at Le Mans, and any number of other pursuits I was not meant to succeed at—a bitter pill for any young man to swallow.
Then along came the personal computer, and BAM, I was back in the game.
Now, my story is probably not much different than any of yours. I wanted to write the Great American Novel.
And I did.
Repeatedly, in fact.
At least I thought I had. But few agreed with me. All right, it wasn’t all that bleak. Along with a shoebox full of rejection letters, there were acceptances from agents and a smattering of publishing deals.
But not enough to make a career of it.
My accountant called it a hobby, a remark he paid for with a swift beheading.
In 2012 I reacquired my rights from the publishers I had worked with and threw my hat into the indie publishing arena. I mean, what did I have to lose? I sold a quarter of a million books that year. When I walked into my CPA’s office the following March, he said, “Holy crap. We can’t call this a hobby anymore.”
Through it all, there was one specific project I wanted to be involved in, but like the rock star dream and the Super Bowl victory, I thought it was not to be. You might think this silly or lame. And maybe it is. There was a film I enjoyed so much that every time it popped up on TV, it made me late for an appointment because I just couldn’t pull myself away. I knew the script verbatim and often incorporated the better-known lines into my everyday conversation. That movie is My Cousin Vinny.
It popped up on the tube about two years ago, and I decided to email the screenwriter/producer to tell him how much I loved his film, thinking, Hollywood screenwriter—I’m dirt beneath his boot—He’ll never reply.
But he did.
And somehow we forged a connection. Emails led to conversations. He discussed his upcoming projects with me, and I with him. One day he called up and said, “Hey, I read one of your books and you’re pretty f_ _king funny.”
“So how about you let me turn My Cousin Vinny into a book series?”
“Make me an offer.”
Four attorneys and fourteen months later, BACK TO BROOKLYN was delivered to Eric Campbell, publisher of Down & Out Books.
Writing BACK TO BROOKLYN was the most fun I’ve ever had sitting in front of a keyboard. I have high hopes for this book. After all, I love the characters and the backstory—not to mention the two years I have invested in the project. But where it goes from here…
The only thing I can tell you for certain is that it may have taken Vincent Gambini and Mona Lisa Vito twenty-five long years to navigate from that dirt-swept stretch of Alabama roadway back to New York, but they never would’ve made it back without me.