Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Giacomo Giammatteo - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Giacomo Giammatteo. He writes Mystery and Suspense novels in which many of the scenes are taken from real-life experiences.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Non Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: Giacomo Giammatteo
Author's Blog: Giacomo Giammatteo
Twitter: @JimGiammatteo
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware, that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights, and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences.

Since this is a bio some of you might wonder what I do. I've had a successful 30 year career as a headhunter, recruiting top talent for some of the world's best companies--Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, and many high-profile start-up companies.

During that time I've completed more than 500 searches, which translates into evaluating, editing, and writing thousands of resumes. I have also interviewed and done reference checks on more than 1,000 candidates. I've learned what companies want to see on a resume--and, perhaps more importantly--what they don't. You'll find a lot more information in the book and on my website.

Getting back to the bio--when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 45 animals--11 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 5 others, and 26 pigs.

Oh, and one crazy--and very large--wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: MURDER TAKES TIME. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called A Bullet From Dominic. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I sent this to beta readers about two weeks ago. I hope to receive the feedback this coming week. Depending on how much they found wrong, it should only take me two weeks to fix it. Then it's one more edit by me before it goes off to the copy editor. She takes six weeks. Then another edit by me and off to the layout people, who take another six weeks. Two more rounds of proofreading, and then it goes live!

Na famigghia può esse distrutta solo dall'interno—A family can only be broken from the inside.
~ Dominic Mangini

Here's a link to chapter 1. I put it on the website.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

I have to tell you, I'm inept at social media. I have a lot of Twitter followers, but I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. I'm getting better at all of it, but it's mostly a question of time.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I have never found anyplace to do signings. I tried getting into a few of the local bookstores, but they are adamant about not wanting indie authors. I find it a little ironic that most of the stores are crying about business and asking for people to support the "indie bookstores" but they won't support the indie authors. On the other hand, I have done a few Skype sessions with bookclubs that contacted me and wanted to discuss the books. I have done some digital signings using Authorgraph also.

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

For my mystery novels, I have three series. One of the series always has a church on the cover, and it is a church that has a part in the story. In my second series, Blood Flows South, there is always a bullet on the cover, and in the title. So, A Bullet For Carlos, and A Bullet From Dominic, etc. The third series is called the Redemption Series, and we started out with a picture of the Houston skyline, which is where these books take place.

As to the process, I have my logo and branding, which goes on all books, and I normally have a fairly strong idea of what I want. Some of the pics I even took, but then I turn it over to my wonderful cover designer, Maria Zannini.

You have written a novella called Finding Family. Can you tell us if it had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

Good question. I never intended to write a novella, but after A Bullet For Carlos came out, I received a lot of emails asking about one of the secondary characters in the book--Dominic Mangini. I decided to write a novella that tells the story of his background. It can function on its own, but it works best if someone has read Bullet first. I tried using it as a sample of the other writing, but it didn't work as planned. I gave away a few thousand copies, but what I ended up with were people who didn't know anything about my writing in general or Bullet in particular. I think it caused more confusion than anything. It did give me an idea to publish a list of the order I think the books should be read.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

As I mentioned above, I tried it to some extent with Finding Family and didn't like how it went. I don't think I'll try free again.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

So far none of them. I haven't found a good process and have not had what I consider to be a successful launch. With my new non-fiction book, I'm trying pre-orders for the first time, so we'll see how that works.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Thanks, I love writing about our animals, so many of the blog posts are either about them or incorporate the animals into stories on writing or life in general. I have two blogs: one for my non-fiction website, , where I publish weekly tips on resumes and interviews and such; and the other is my mystery blog and the topics can range from my animals, to drug addiction, to writing, anything. My goal is not to sell books, but more to just let people know who I am.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

When I first started I didn't know any better and the very first thing I did was waste money on a Kirkus review. It was an excellent review, but definitely not worth the money. I have come to believe that there are people who will review and people who won't. You can't force someone to post a review, so just let it happen naturally.

You publish mystery novels and non-fiction personal help books. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which type do you enjoy writing the most?

Changing hats is not a big problem. It takes me a certain amount of time to get into either "mode," so it's simply a matter of getting into the right one before I start. Some of it has to do with the surroundings, at least for me. If I'm writing mysteries, I listen to different music than if I'm writing my non-fiction, and even different still from when I'm editing. I guess the music allows my brain to function differently. I enjoy the fiction the most.

Author's Book List
Finding Family - A Mystery Novella (Blood Flows South, The Beginning)
Dominic Mangini wanted what all 8-year-old boys want—time to laugh and play, loving parents, and enough food on the table. But in war-ravaged Sicily, food was scarce, and his parents were as scarred as the land.

His father said they must move to America so they could start over and be a family once again. Dominic got a new start, and he got a new family—but not the kind of family he expected.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
MURDER TAKES TIME - Friendship & Honor
MURDER TAKES TIME grips you by the throat.

Nicky Fusco thought he knew right from wrong, living by an oath of friendship & honor with his three best friends. But life took them down separate paths, and the oath was broken. Secrets were kept. Years later they are reunited and the bonds of their friendship are brutally tested, putting them on a collision course set in motion long ago.

Murder Takes Time is not a typical murder mystery or mob story. It is a thriller, a romance, and a coming-of-age story that rips your heart out. By the time you're done reading it, you just might find yourself rethinking the definition of friendship & honor--even right and wrong.

Three boys, one girl. Friendship, honor, love--betrayal. It ends with murder.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
A Bullet For Carlos - A Connie Gianelli Mystery
Detective Connie Giannelli's life has been torn apart several times. First when her mother died and then years later when she found out her Uncle Dominic was in the mob. Her life is about to be shredded again, and this time it could destroy her.

Connie's love of family and her badge are both threatened when an undercover drug bust leaves two cops dead and the drugs missing. Internal Affairs is looking for any excuse to take her badge, but she's not worried about them finding the missing drugs--her secrets could prove to be far worse.

Now Connie's racing against the clock to figure out who killed her partners and took the drugs--dirty cops or Uncle Dominic's friends. And she has to do it before IA pins the whole damn thing on her.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Necessary Decisions - A Gino Cataldi Mystery
A Thriller That Won’t Let Go

Gino Cataldi is a man hanging on by a thread. Cancer took his wife, and drugs put his son in rehab. All he has left is his badge.

When a teenage girl is kidnapped it brings back nightmares from the worst case he ever worked—the one that tore his life to shreds and forced him out of Philadelphia.

Gino doesn't want this case but he knows he has to take it. Not just to save the girl, but to earn redemption for what went wrong in Philly.

What do you do when you’ve lost everything?
Gino—a cop who pushes the limits of the law…
Lonny—a good man struggling to feed his family…
Scott—a biotech executive who has everything a man could want…
A band of ruthless kidnappers…

They all come together in a thriller you won’t be able to forget.

Everyone has decisions to make. This one could cost Gino his badge—and a young girl her life.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Murder Has Consequences
A Thriller about Murder, Mystery, and Family.

It's easy to give your life for someone you love. It's much harder to kill for them.
~Nicky Fusco

For a select few people, friendship lasts forever. Nicky Fusco and Frankie Donovan were friends like that, but that was years ago. Now Frankie's a detective in Brooklyn's Homicide department, and Nicky is a reformed hit man. But when Frankie gets in trouble--and the law can't help him--he turns to Nicky.

The problem is that Nicky promised his family, and God, that he'd go straight.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle


  1. James: Thanks for hosting such a great site, and for inviting me to interview. I really enjoyed it.

  2. Thank you. Keep up the good work.