I’ve been working on the fifth book in the Just Call Me Angel series, which has given me the opportunity to learn more about the Mafia in the States and abroad. The research has been fascinating. As I’m wrapping up the story, I realize my brain is already working on the next book, causing me to go back and plant tiny seeds of relevance for future installments.
Part of the fun in writing an Italian Mafia series is in naming my characters. I first develop the character’s outward appearance, pointing out some basic attributes like height, weight, hair color and eye color. Occasionally, I note whether they have a pointy chin, squinty eyes or dimpled cheeks. Next, I’ll describe any quirks they might possess. For example, they might pop their gum, twirl their hair, fidget in their seat, or waddle when they walk. Next comes speech. I’ll assign an accent or an impediment; describe the pitch of their voice and any frequent phrases, like “babe” or “sweetheart,” “Merciful Heavens” or “crazy-ass.” At this point, I usually feel as if the character has been brought to life and is in need of a backstory, if applicable to the plot, and a name.
I find names in various places. From television programs, to the radio to internet searches, names are literally everywhere. Sometimes one will just stick with me and other times I combine parts of several names to make a unique one. Here are some of my favorite names from the Just Call Me Angel series:
Giovanni Maratinzano, Salvatore Buscetta, Enzo, Stephen Manucci, Joseph Venturini, Charles Andriachini, Rinaldo Rosenalli, Grayson Gallente, Mike Maletta, Carlos Cullato, Sean Shepherd, Scotrovi, Anya Grovashik, Stefano, Dr. Manzini… just to name a few.
After the real name has been assigned, I get to give pseudo-names or mobster names and this is where it gets really fun. In the series, I have had characters called The Shark, The Snake, Big Mike, Trig, Chito and T-Rex.
There are good cops and bad cops, Tasers, grenades, Uzi’s, comedy, drugs, drama, a love triangle, sex and most of all revenge done mafia style. It has everything you could want in a suspense series, so if you haven’t joined the fun yet… pick up your copy today.