It is an honor to have with me today the very talented novelist, playwright, artist, and jeweler, Gerard Bianco. He is the author of the award-winning mystery/thriller The Deal Master. His latest book, Discipline: A Play recently won the Editor’s Choice Award. He is a contributing author in Now Write! Mysteries, and was featured in Carol Hoenig’s book The Author’s Guide to Planning Book Events.
Laurie: Good morning, Gerard. Let’s start with your first novel, The Deal Master. Without giving anything away, can you give us a brief idea of what the book is about?
Gerard: The premise of the book is based on a mythological tale that comes down to us from the 13th century—modernized, of course. A serial killer is murdering women with red hair. Detective William Gillette and his team are on the hunt, but their investigation fails to turn up any concrete leads. They are clueless as to the identity of the killer or where he will strike next. Enter a mysterious man who holds information vital to the case, but this man will supply this information only through a series of deals. Gillette, desperate for a lead, accepts the stranger’s terms. This plunges the detective into a game for which he is unprepared. Each deal comes with a price, and Gillette soon finds himself in a predicament he can’t get out of unless he strikes the ultimate deal. Is this master of the deal Gillette’s answer to solving the crimes, or is he the detective’s worst nightmare? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I should also mention that The Deal Master is a mystery/thriller. The story starts out as a mystery, but then slowly, a subtle, more important chain of events begins to take place, and soon the reader is galloping off into a spine-tingling thriller. This makes for an exciting read where you suddenly find yourself caught up in an entirely different adventure with the same characters. Reading The Deal Master is like getting two novels for the price of one.
Laurie: It sounds very intriguing. Your protagonist is Detective William Gillette. There are many murder mysteries written with a police detective as the lead character. What kind of person is he, and what makes him unique?
Gerard: William Gillette, son of the famous NYC detective Phil Gillette, was groomed from a early age to follow in his father’s footsteps. His youth and rugged handsomeness enhance his talent as a natural leader. He is well-liked, focused and serious. He was devoted to his mother, who was abused by his alcoholic father. He is not afraid to bend the rules, or even break them, to get what he wants.
There are some flaws in Gillette’s character, and this leads him to make mistakes. I am not a fan of a story in which an author presents his/her protagonist as someone who knows all the answers, solves all the riddles and shines brighter than all other characters in the book. When you read The Deal Master you feel Gillette’s anxieties, disappointments and trepidations. You know his exultation when he gets things right and you suffer his humiliation when he does something he shouldn’t—and he does this quite often.
Laurie: How much of you do we see in Gillette?
Gerard: I’ve always found it difficult to separate myself from my characters. There is a little of me in all the characters I create—some more than others. This metamorphosis is what breathes life into the characters. They would be made of wood, otherwise. My characters are real; they are made of flesh and blood. They have wants, fears and desires, like everyone else. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: by putting a bit of myself into my characters I get to live their lives as well. I get to solve the case. I get the girl, too. Most people live their fantasies in their thoughts and dreams, but these fantasies disappear when the dreamer stops dreaming. My fantasies last longer and seem to me to be a little more real because they’ve been printed on paper and are bound in a book.
Laurie: There are no doubt many authors, including myself, who have enjoyed the same sense of lasting fantasies. Do you foresee writing a series based on the same character?
Gerard: I’m asked all the time when the next Deal Master is coming. The fact is, I’ve already written a sequel, but it’s all in my head—there’s not a word of it on paper. Quite simply put, there are other projects I want to tackle before focusing on another mystery.
I love the theater and have always wanted to write a play. For the past three years I’ve devoted myself to this project. Voila! My newest book is titled, Discipline, A Play.
Laurie: Tell us a little about Discipline. It’s a comedy, is that right?
Gerard: Yes, Discipline is a zany, adult comedy. It’s funny and romantic. Paige Lovitt from Reader Views said, “Discipline truly made me laugh out loud.” But Discipline is also a powerful and serious play. If read correctly, you will see that it is the study of human behavior, injected with meaning where there appears to be none. It touches on subjects such as social norms, sexual overindulgence, society’s treatment of people with an affliction, the role of women in society as a force of good vs. evil and the advantages and disadvantages of a personal belief system.
The story takes place in Manhattan. The main character’s name is Harold Jenkins. Harold is a man stymied by his inability to overcome the outside forces that control his life. Essentially isolated in his apartment, he fights against the powers that be. Lilly, Harold’s lady love, keeps him at bay, adding sexual frustration to his already perturbed existence. New possibilities arrive for him, however, when he is awakened in the middle of the night by a strange man sniffling on his stove. The story continues from there.
Laurie: Do you see Discipline being acted out on a stage in front of an audience?
Gerard: Absolutely. Discipline was published in January, 2012 and already a local theater director wants to stage a performance. You see, the message of the play is timeless and universal, and it is for this reason that I foresee Discipline being performed locally, nationally and even globally. It’s a fun play—light and comical, even though the underlying message bears significance.
Laurie: That’s wonderful. I hope you will keep me informed about the progress. What else would you like to share with us?
Gerard: I’d be grateful if your lovely readers logged onto my website: http://www.writerenroute.com to explore more about Discipline and The Deal Master, both of which have terrific book covers, by the way. Readers can also log onto my blog from my website. My blog contains interesting articles about writing, film, fashion and creativity.
Laurie, I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to your readers. I hope that they have enjoyed this interview and will want to follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook fan page at: https://www.facebook.com/GerardBiancoWriterEnRoute
Laurie: Mahalo nui loa, a hui hou.