What was the inspiration behind your novel?
My brothers, sister and I did lose our folks when we were quite young but I never actually considered writing about anything relating to those days. Then, about four years ago our brother, Bobby, suddenly passed away. After his funeral we were all hanging out with old friends at a pub in Monroe, NY. Stories of "back in the day" began to flow free and easy and before you knew everyone was laughing and more and more memories were being triggered. Even though it was a sad time it also became a beautiful time. That was when I began thinking of using our experience as the basis for "The Priest and The Peaches."
Do you see any of yourself within the cast of characters you created?
Yes, I'm sure I can find part of myself in Teddy Peach.
Why did you choose to write a Young Adult novel?
I did want to write this at the YA level because I wanted to demonstrate to the younger folk the power of family love and forgiveness. We do live in a very "me-istic" society where self-gtratification seems to be revered and I simply wanted to present another side to that mind-set showing that giving of oneself instead of thinking of yourself can be very rewarding.
What do you hope a reader can take away from your novel?
How imporatnt it is to L-Y-N (Love your neighbor).
What difficulties, if any, did you encounter while writing this novel?
The development of the antagonist, Beatrice Amon, was challenging but as she began to come "alive" I entered into her bleak world and began to really understand her. I believe I was able to capture the "real" Beatrice and share her with the reader.
Your book is set in the Bronx; do you have experience living in this area? How did you capture the character of this city?
Thanks for the easy question. I was born and raised in the Bronx. It is part of who I am. As I began to write the book the sights, smells, sounds, the people, the streets and so on turned into a DVD inside my head. It is amazing to discover how many memories you have stored inside you that are resting dormant just waiting to be ignited.