Conversations with authors and writers from the self-publishing world.
Meet Giacomo Giammatteo
Best Known for: Murder Takes Time
Today, I’d like to welcome Giacomo (Jim) Giammatteo to the Masquerade Crew. I have had the pleasure of reading one of Jim’s books; Murder Takes Time and thoroughly enjoyed it, so you can imagine how excited I was to have the opportunity to interview him.
Dear Jim, thank you very much for agreeing to participate in the Indie Author Spotlight.
How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I got started late in life, when my youngest son was a teenager. He had been an avid reader until 8th grade when the school began mandatory reading of certain books. To keep him from losing interest in reading altogether, I bought some fantasy books and we began reading them together and then discussing plots, characters, etc. Soon we carried this further, to the crazy notion that we could write a book, so we plotted out a series of epic fantasies, and started writing. But then he discovered girls, who were far more interesting than fantasy books, and that left me alone. I put the idea on the shelf for years, but then got the bug and began writing. I haven’t stopped since.
Your book, Murder Takes Time, is doing exceptionally well, was this your first book? If not, what was your first published book and did it do well?
The first book I wrote was the fantasy I mentioned above, but I haven’t published it. I have three of the four books done in the fantasy series. When I finish the fourth, I’ll publish them. I like to make sure things all fit into place before I publish.
Tell us a little bit about Murder Takes Time…
Murder Takes Time is my…baby. I grew up on those streets mentioned in the book, and a lot of the trouble the kids got into really happened. Even the roach races were real. (There is a picture of the original sign we used to advertise on my website.) It came about because my kids kept insisting I write a story about my time growing up, but I couldn't figure out how to tell it. Then I came up with MTT.
How does this book differ from other mystery novels?
I think it differs in a lot of ways. First, the entire premise is different. People call it a mob story, and a mystery, and so on, but it’s not really that. It’s a story about three kids and the friendship they had. It’s about life and how people get torn apart by things that happen in their lives. Most of all it’s about friendship and honor–old school codes by some standards—and how that can affect a person’s life.
So instead of starting with a mystery, I started with three boys and their code of honor and built a mystery around them. Perhaps the best way to describe it is to use something one of the Amazon reviewers said. I wish I’d have thought of this myself:
- This novel is not just a murder mystery.
- This novel is not just a thriller.
- This novel is not just a love story.
- This novel is not just a life story.
- This novel is all in one. OBI Amazon reviewer
You have achieved what many indie authors dream of- how did your success come about?
It’s difficult to say what success is, or isn’t. I certainly haven’t achieved “success” in terms of sales, but I have in my own mind by the reception I’ve gotten for my books. The readers seem to enjoy them and that matters the most to me. In fact, the best measure of success for me was when I went to the genre I’m in on Amazon—hard-boiled crime fiction—and I sorted by Average Customer Review. Out of @ 4500 books, my three books were rated # 1, 2, and 3. That made my day when I saw that. It was far better than sales, although my wife might disagree with that.
Do you have any special tips that you’d like to share with other authors, regarding writing, marketing or publishing?
I’m not big on giving advice because everyone has to do what they feel is right, but there are a few universal truths to writing, IMO. If I were forced to name three, it would be these: make all your characters real, not just the primary ones; learn to be a storyteller; ignore most rules of writing and write what you feel in your heart.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
Thanks! And I mean that. Readers are fantastic. When I get a letter from a reader telling me they liked the book, it makes my day. If there is one thing I’d like to let them know it’s that (IMO) most writers don’t do this for money; they write to share their stories and, hopefully, have them enjoyed.
Why did you choose to write in the mystery genre?
I first published in the mystery genre, but I actually write in several genres, including Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Non-Fiction, and have even started dabbling in children’s books.
Do you also read? What sort of books?
I used to read every night. Lately, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time. When I do read it’s a wide range: mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, history, military history, biographies, business.
How did you learn to write?
What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
I could probably go on forever about this. They both have their place, but I think in the long run big, traditional publishing is in for a rough ride—unless they change. The biggest obstacle all writers face is visibility, even traditionally published writers have this problem, unless they happen to be one of the lucky few who get the big budgets for advertising. The second biggest obstacle is getting into physical bookstores. Most of them won’t take an indie, which is almost unbelievable nowadays, but it’s still the norm. That obstacle will soon fall though, and when it does it will open up a huge new area of opportunity for the self-published authors.
Do you have any more books being released soon?
I have five books out now, although two were just released. Murder Takes Time, and its sequel, which is Murder Has Consequences. There will be six books in this series, each one following the “rules of murder” mentioned in book one. Book three Murder Takes Patience should be out in the spring.
I also have A Bullet For Carlos out, which is the first in another series, Blood Flows South. And I have just released a novella about one of the secondary characters in that book. The sequel, A Bullet From Dominic, will be out either late this year or early next year.
I also have my first non-fiction book out, No Mistakes Resumes, and it is the first in a new series. The second book No Mistakes Interviews will be out late this year.
I have another new series, Redemption, starting with a release in September of Old Wounds.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your books?
As to myself, I’ve been married to my “Angela” for 44 years, since we were 17. (If you read MTT you’ll know what that means.) I never graduated high school because I got married and was supporting a family. My wife and I have an animal sanctuary where we care for abused and abandoned animals; we have 45 at present.
As to the books, I am passionate about writing and delivering the best books I can to readers. I do everything to ensure there are no mistakes. I even guarantee my books. If you buy a book and don’t like it, all you have to do is write me and tell me what you didn’t like and I’ll give you another one free, or, if you don't want that, I’ll refund the money. This applies to digital books only. And your reason can’t be because of violence or language, because I tell everyone up front the books have that. I have this stated on my website. The guarantee does not apply to my non-fiction books.
Thank you, Giacomo!