Guest Interview with Peter Cimino

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Hey, readers! It’s my pleasure to welcome Peter Cimino, author of Lucky Says Hello.

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What is your book about?

“Lucky Says Hello” is a short story set in the crime ridden, politically corrupt decade of 1930s when at times, it was difficult to tell the “good guys” from the bad.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Two things brought this story to life. First, is my passion and borderline obsession with the mafia, particularly the prohibition era. I started reading about mobsters when I was in my teens and have managed to build up quite a huge library of mafia books. I also watch just about any mob movie or television special that is out there.

That era (late 1920’s and 1930’s) is truly intriguing to me because although these were still hardened criminals, there was true organization, rules of engagement and honor amongst thieves – if there is such a thing.

The second thing is my grandfather, whom I am named after and died before I was born. He was a successful businessman and politician in a small northeast New Jersey town called Garfield. He owned a relatively successful import and trucking business and came in contact with all sorts of people. I heard many stories about him; some true, some not and some half true. The one story that stuck out was his “rumored” association with Lucky Luciano. Hence the main character “Big Pete” is my grandfather; or should I say he inspired him.

Describe your writing in three words.

Humanistic, Realistic, Character-driven.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I wish I could share some magical technique that I use (grinning), but I really can’t. I usually do not start writing until I have the complete story in my head; know exactly how it is going to start and end. Writing usually begins with just random thoughts and ideas just typed up on a blank page. Those random thoughts turn into an outline which I use continuously as a reference. I do change things from time to time; move things around, add or even take out. But, that original outline is pretty much my bible. As the story develops I always get new ideas in my head. Whenever I get them I add them to the bottom of the outline and try to implement them as I go. But, in the end, the outline is my guide.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Yes, like I said, the main character, Big Pete Carissimo, is based on my grandfather. Although I never met him, it is just how I envision him. Right, wrong or indifferent; as they say, it is “the writer’s prerogative.”

His best friend and right hand man Dominick, is just my creation of the perfect, loyal counterpart for Pete.

His mentor, Vito Paradiso is somewhat inspired by Mario Puzo’s the Godfather, Vito Corleone. His attorney Antonio is another completely created character that just popped in my head.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

I have not been confronted with this dilemma yet. That kind of struggle, if this saga continues, would probably be inevitable though.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

It’s funny you ask this because several people have approached me about turning this short story, and my complete novel into some kind of screen play. So, thoughts like this have popped into my head.

Quite honestly, I cannot picture any current actor that fits the physical characteristics of Big Pete: six feet – three inches tall, 320 pounds, and almost completely bald. At one point I pictured someone like Rod Steiger, but he is too old and too small. Russell Crowe does have the face and look, but his hair would have to be shaved and he would have to gain a lot of weight. I could see him pulling it off though.

Either Josh Brolin or Sean Penn would be the perfect Dominick. They are both ruggedly handsome with a very tough persona.

Vito Paradiso could easily be played by Sean Connery. He has the perfect look. However he would have to change his British accent to broken English / Italian.

As for the legendary Charlie Lucky Luciano, this a tough sell. I actually just looked this up and someone put a picture of Mark Wahlberg next to Luciano. Although Mr. Wahlberg is a tad bit better looking than Mr. Luciano (no disrespect), with the right makeup, I think he could do it. So, let’s go with that. After all, the more star power, the better.

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

The first person who sees my drafts is my dear friend and professional editor-extraordinaire, Joelle Walker. I am very fortunate to have met someone so early in my fiction writing journey who I not only get along with marvellously, but who gets my voice (never changes it), loves my writing skills and loves the genre. I could not have hand-picked a better set of eyes to view and edit my work.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Okay! Didn’t see that coming! Well played..! How about what actor could play Lucky Luciano! I’m not a very weird googler…at least I don’t think so. I consider myself a defensive googler, meaning whenever someone mentions something or someone I do not know anything about, I try to quickly google it.

What projects are you working on now?

My writings take me in many different directions, mostly nonfiction. I write about sports for the sports, web-magazine the Bleacher Report and I write book reviews for the New York Journal of Books.

As far as fiction works go, I just started to type up random thoughts on a Y.A. baseball story that includes a supernatural twist. I am very early in this process, so we’ll see where it takes me.

I have been asked several times about another short story to follow up Lucky Says Hello. That is a possibility, but Lucky actually comes after the novel called The Four Corners, a Sicilian Story. This MS has the same characters and setting as Lucky, but it is the in depth story about how the relationship and partnership between Big Pete and Lucky Luciano is born and how it solidifies. I am currently seeking literary agent representation for this novel. So, if you know of any agents or publishers, who are interested in this genre, spread the word or let me know!

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I couldn’t go without thanking everyone for supporting my writings; be it my fiction work like Lucky Says Hello or my sports writing. I truly do not think I would continue to write if I did not get positive feedback. I have met so many wonderful people over the years! To all of you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Where can readers find you and your books online?

Lucky Says Hello is available at all of these on-line e-book stores: MuseItUp, Amazon / Kindle, Smashwords, Bookstrand, Diesel E-Books, Omnilit, Barnes & Noble / Nook, Apple iBooks, KoboBooks

Pete Carissimo, known to his friends as Big Pete, is a successful Sicilian immigrant businessman and politician in New Jersey. He has connections, associations, and relationships in all walks of life—including a clandestine partnership with the notorious mobster, Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Pete vows his alliance with Luciano is strictly related to business that he is not and never will be a gangster. However, in the fall of 1931, he finds his stellar reputation, successful business, and budding political career facing ultimate ruination with his secret allegiance on a head-on collision course with exposure. Backed into a corner, Pete is faced with becoming something he vowed he never wanted to be; a real gangster.


Big Pete, as many of his friends called him, had not gained his powerful status from just being a smart businessman. He took great pride in being a man of the streets and a man of the people. His reputation was stellar, as an honorable man, who oozed charisma that drew people to him like a pied piper. He touched thousands of lives in every walk of life, even the types of characters no one would ever expect. These were critical, secret relationships existing in the shadows and dark corners of his life, and they needed to remain there. Only a very select few knew they existed, with Antonio being one of them. Pete always knew the day would come when he would be faced with the threat of exposure. But, being prepared and staying one step ahead of his challenges was a cornerstone to his success.

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Peter, a published writer and author, was schooled in the art of writing through various writing courses at Roosevelt University in Schaumburg, IL during his journey to a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He further honed his prose skills receiving two writing diplomas from the Long Ridge School of Writing.

In October of 2012, Peter was hired by the popular sports web-magazine the Bleacher Report as a contributing writer. He currently contributes several articles a month. For a complete list of his B/R work go to: http://bleacherreport.com/users/1345983-peter-cimino

Peter is also a reviewer for the New York Journal of books. His first review on a crime drama called the Ghostman, is due out February 12, 2013. He is currently reading two other books that will be reviewed in the coming months.

From February of 2011 through March of 2012, Peter was a lead writer for the print publication Sports Life Magazine. He authored numerous feature stories over the span of six printed issues of the magazine.

In 2011, he completed his first fiction novel called, The Four Corners, A Sicilian Story (the same genre, characters and setting as Lucky Says Hello), for which he is seeking agent representation.

Also in 2011, he penned a YA fiction short story published in the web magazine, Angie’s Diary, called One Woman, One Island, One Choice.

Over the years, he has had numerous stories and articles published on various content web sites featuring pieces on sports, real life experience, the paranormal and others.

Often told he has a “unique voice”, Peter’s specialty is bringing the human element into everything he writes.

Published writer /author Elyse Draper on Peter: “Peter has a genuine talent for creating real characters; not only characters that smack of reality, but ones people develop an attachment to. His talents are remarkable. It is only a matter of time before his work is on the New York Times BSL.”

Originally from New Jersey, Peter now lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Wendy and two young sons, Matthew and Nicholas.

For more information about Peter and his work please visit his web site at www.petercimino.com

9 Replies to “Guest Interview with Peter Cimino”

  1. Very well done interview, Kim, but then I wouldn’t have expected any less from you, my dear. And as for Peter, he said it perfectly… When we met coincidentally (and we all know there’s know such thing), I asked to read his short because as he mentioned I too am an American “gansta” buff and have been forever. But it was the simplicity of his characters’ voices, the settin, the reality of the times because although the incident appears so insignificant, yet if mishandled, Big Pete’s successful world can change over night. And not for the good. Powerful little story and Peter indeed has very unique voice.

    1. Thank you Joelle! Can’t tell you how much your words mean to me!! Our connections was certainly fate!! And there is NO turning back! LOL! Once you’re in…you cannot get out! Hahaha! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! Without you, this would NOT have been possible!

  2. I enjoyed the interview, Pete. And yes, you certainly have a unique voice. I agree with Elyse – I see you on the NYT Best Seller List.

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