Soprano Sue's Sightings
 

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Steve Schirripa, besides being a talented actor, has been putting his college education to work. Steve has now had his third book published, “Nicky Deuce, Welcome to the Family”.    Different from his previous books, “A Goombas Guide to Life” and “A Goombas Guide to LoveShop for The Sopranos at eMerchandise”, this book is geared towards children.   The books premise is about a boy, named Nicholas, who because of circumstances beyond his control (mainly a septic tank explosion at his planned vacation at summer camp), ends up visiting his grandmother and uncle in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn for a few weeks.    This visit becomes a true learning experience to Nicky, he learns about where his father grew up, before he left the neighborhood, to be educated at Princeton University.

Steve has been real busy; he is presently out promoting his book, and filming the sixth season of The Sopranos, at the same time. I graciously thank Steve, for taking the time out and answering a few questions.

Your previous books have been geared towards adults, what was the inspiration behind writing a children’s novel?

I have two young daughters ages 9 & 13. They don’t watch sopranos and they don’t get to see a lot of the stuff I do. I want to do something for them and their friends that they can see and be proud of.  

Did you find it hard to explain to your children what a Goomba is? Was it easier just to take your daughters back to the old neighbor to experience it?

They been back to where I grew up.   Absolutely, they’ve been towhere I come from in Brooklyn many times, hung around my friends. They live it, so they know. They are young goombas themselves, so its all good.

 

In your book, you have a character referred to as “Nutty”.   Is this based on an actual character, or was it a character you wrote in because every neighborhood has one?

It was based on a character I knew.   There was guy in my neighbor hood we called “Crazy Vinnie”, everyone knew him, a very famous neighbor character.   There definitely was something wrong with him; he’d wear different outfits anywhere from a Policeman, a medical doctor or sometimes a school teacher.   That was my inspiration for that character. Sadly, I don’t think he’s around anymore.

You point out in the book, that young adults leave the neighborhood, because of scholarships, Bensonhurst, being a working class Italian American neighborhood, was this the case the majority of the time.

No I think people stayed in the neighborhood as long as they could.   They would go to college, stayed around to marry a neighborhood girl.    Then they would take the Goomba gangplank (Verrazano-Narrows Bridge) to Staten Island, and eventually move to New Jersey.

I noticed there were some subtle tributes to your old friends from Brooklyn, was this intentional? I caught a few, were there more?

Oh yeah, absolutely, I threw those in for my friend to pay tribute.

I understand that this book is fiction, but are there some truths in the adventures of Nicky Deuce and his friend Tommy in the book, from your own childhood?

Yes, especially the part about the barbeque, when I was eleven, I taped fork to the end of a broom handle, and we snatched a big steak off of the neighbor’s barbeque grill and ate it. I was one of the best steaks I ever had.

I understand there has been an option signed for a television series, when can we expect to see this?

The book, “A Goombas Guide to Life” may end up as a television series, as far as “Nicky Deuce” there is some interest into making it into a television movie.

Where did you meet Charles Fleming?

We had the same agent.   We first met in 2001; he is anything but a Goomba. We do work well together, but he is from the other side of the world, the San Fernando Valley in California.

How exactly old are you? In your book, Nicky Deuce calls his father in New Jersey for help, and Nicky states “it will take 45 minutes for him to get to Brooklyn”, what route is he taking, or does he have a private jet?

To get from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 45 minutes, you take the Holland Tunnel, then take the West Side Highway south to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, from there it’s only 7 miles to Bensonhurst.

 

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