Saturday, August 8, 2009

Interview: J Lou McCartney author of De Marco Empire

Today J Lou McCartney, author of the book De Marco Empire, is joining us for a great interview!

Beth: Hi! Welcome to Beth's Book Review Blog! It's great to have you here today! Thank you for taking the time to join us and answer some questions.

Congratulations on your first book, De Marco Empire, being published! Can you tell us a little bit about it?

J Lou: Brothers, Antonio and Gianni de Marco originate from La Pregheira in Umbria, Italy. Having made their fortune and eager to escape their murky past they re-locate to London, England where they open a prestigious nightclub.

When Katie Saunders and Lucy Carmichael manage to get a couple of jobs in the club, little do they suspect what is in store. From their normal, law-abiding and steady lives they are entering a world of mafia-style rivalry, turf wars, extortion, vice, corruption, drugs and murder. They impress those around them but also encounter jealousy, back-biting and malice – but also love and romance. Katie is swept off her feet by Antonio de Marco, the club’s owner, and Lucy by his friend, Stevo.

But when a long standing vendetta against the de Marco family begins to rear its ugly head things begin to take a turn for the worse. With enemies old and new crawling out of the woodwork, just who is ultimately responsible for the devastation about to tear their whole world apart.

Warning - this book has some sexual content, bad language and a particularly brutal murder.

Beth: What made you decide to start writing about the Italian mafia?

J Lou: I have watched all the great mafia movies, such as The Godfather Trilogy, Scarface and Carlito's Way. I was always fascinated with their way of life, on the outside they were loving husbands and family men but on the flip side they led this violent and dangerous life. It inspired me to write De Marco Empire and put a modern day spin on it. I have to say that I love using the mafia theme and you will find this throughout all my books.

Beth: If your book was made into a movie, you mentioned that you'd like Keira Knightly to play Katie Saunders and Adam Garcia to play Antonio De Marco. That sounds like wonderful casting! How did you decide on those two?

J Lou: I have followed Keria Knightley's career and she is such a versatile and wonderful actress who can turn her hand to anything. In my book Katie looks like Keira and because she is the epitome of the classic English beauty she would be perfect for the part. I fell in love, metaphorically speaking of course with Adam Garcia who starred in Coyote Ugly. He is an Australian born, Italian with handsome good lucks and a sparkling personality, he and Keira would make a winning combination! I would love to see Bridget Nielson play the part of the neurotic Sasha Breshnevsky but I am afraid she may be too old now! Its a dream, but not one beyond my reach.

Beth: I hear you've already finished your second book, Bella Ella. What can we look forward to in it?

J Lou: Bella Ella (working title) is currently being considered by a publisher - so watch this space! This is quite a violent, fast paced book surrounding sex trafficking and the Russian mafia but also has a love element to the story. This book actually took three months to write, which totally astounded me as it took me just over a year to complete De Marco Empire.

Beth: You are certainly full of energy as you're hard at work on your third book, Silvio's Quest, already! Can you give us a sneak peek?

J Lou: The theme of Silvio's Quest is race fixing and corruption surrounding horse racing set in the 1990’s with Irish gangsters and Italian mafia. Silvio Carlucci owns a stud farm in Merano, Italy and whilst in the UK on business he meets Alexa Fairchild whose family are race owners but are on the verge of bankruptcy. Alexa's on off relationship to Brett Stapleton is about to take a dramatic twist and Alexa will never be the same again. With violent murders and shady characters thrown into the mix and a national race looming everyone has something to lose. I can promise a totally shocking and surprising ending!

Beth: Your story of working with Tommy Salmon to help clarify your goals is wonderful! How important do you think your personal development work was to your writing success?

J Lou: I had a three hour session with Tommy where we concentrated on blitzing the negative energy around me. We then focused on a time line and my hopes for the future. This was an important step in my life and without Tommy's help I may never have pursued my dream of writing my first book. I am definitely more positive about life and I haven't looked back since.

Beth: Do you have any special writing routines?

J Lou: I like to lock myself away in my bedroom and chill out. To get myself in the writing zone I listen to Il Divo, Vittorio Grigolo and classical music playing gently in the background. For some reason this seems to get the creative juices flowing!

Beth: Do you always write in the same place at the same time of day?

J Lou: No, I pick up my laptop when inspiration hits me, usually in the evening or at weekends as I still work full time in an office.

Beth: I'm always curious about what other people are reading. What are you reading now?

J Lou: I have recently finished reading The Take by Martina Cole and the series has just been featured on Sky TV. Both were absolutely brilliant! Its a hard hitting, gangster type of book which is both shocking and violent - my kind of novel really!

Beth: And finally, do you have a favorite book of all time?

J Lou: I would have to say the classic novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - a tale set in 1801 on the wild and bleak Yorkshire moors. Its a dark and mysterious tragic love story between Catherine Earnshaw a rich country girl and an orphan boy named Heathcliff who was adopted by her father. Their love is doomed from the beginning and between them they manage to destroy everyone around them. Sadly this was Emily's only novel and was published 1 year prior to her death at the age of 30.

Thank you so much to J Lou for joining us today! If you'd like to pick up a copy of her book De Marco Empire, click the cover image below.


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