Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paul DeFazio: Corrections Officer, Drug Dealers, Prostitutes collide in his new novel: “Pros and Cons”

Paul DeFazio: Corrections Officer, Drug Dealers, Prostitutes collide in his new novel: “Pros and Cons”

Paul and Michael DeFazio were both born in Dorchester, Mass, and raised in Quincy. Their collective background consists of 9 years of Air Force and Army military experience, 28 years in correction and law enforcement, nine years of living abroad in six different countries, and extensive business experience. They are authors of the searing new crime novel “Pros and Cons.” It is a novel set in Boston, Mass., that portrays two cousins, both in law enforcement, and the tangled web of drug dealers, prison inmates, and sexual tourism that is their unsavory milieu. Gerald Horgan, a noted correction official in Massachusetts, writes of this work:

“Pros and Cons” is an awesome, realistic look into challenges faced by those who work and live in prisons. A fast paced thriller that reminded me of John Grisham’s ‘The Firm’.” I talked with DeFazio on my Somerville Community Access TV Show “ Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer”

Doug Holder: I interviewed Hallie Ephron and Donald Davidoff who co-write a forensic psychologist detective series. Ephron does the writing and Davidoff provides the psych. background material. Why did you guys decide to collaborate?

Paul DeFazio: The first thing I would say was the connection between my brother and me. He’s lived abroad, we’ve been thousands of miles apart for decades, and this was a way to do something together. It was a challenge for us. We needed each other. To put the story together, with all the different aspects, the international aspects, the different views of cultural prostitution, drug trafficking, human trafficking, the laws and how they pertain to our prison system in America…well, both of us had to contribute. But not one of us were a total expert in the area, and we had to bring our knowledge together to write the book. More often than not we did it over the phone and over the computer. But sometimes we sat in the same room. But we are like all brothers. You better not be in the same room because a fistfight could break out. We feed off each other’s energy and we kept each other honest with the story line. The story stayed real and moving.

Doug Holder: What does your brother do?

Paul DeFazio: He runs a plastics business, internationally. He is around-the-world all of the time. My brother is a terrific idea guy and he is very organized. It was a very nice compliment to the storyline. We are able to make our characters multi-dimensional.

Doug Holder: The novelist George Higgins had a great ear for dialogue. He was a Boston lawyer, and talked the talk and walked the walk. Have you had positive feedback that the dialogue in the book is authentic?

Paul De Fazio: Absolutely. Whether it is Boston police officers, or corrections officers. I am very familiar with people in corrections—throughout the state. The dialogue is fresh and crisp. It is something that I have been hearing for some twenty odd years. It only made sense to stay true to what some sound like or talk like. The talk is sometimes very gritty. After all, we deal with people in prison; we deal with people in very stressful situations. The language can be powerful.

Doug Holder: The character Frank Milano was a sexual tourist. He went to the Dominican Republic and got involved in some rough trade. You go into a great deal of detail about this underworld. How much research did you do?

Paul DeFazio: Well truth be told that is a great question. People ask, “ Well Paul you are the law enforcement guy, does that make your brother the sex guy? The answer is no. Michael, my brother was in the Air Force, and he did a stint in Europe. I was in the Army and was sent to Honduras. We both saw cultural prostitution through very different lenses. Michael saw prostitution in a free, liberalized sense—people were doing it for financial reasons. In Honduras it was survival. Women had to do it to support not only themselves but also families. So we brought this in to make the book more than a murder-who-done-it.

Doug Holder: There is very much a cinematic quality to this book. It is action driven, in your face, and fast paced.

Paul DeFazio: Absolutely. My brother and I are working on a screenplay as well. This was the way we like the story to read. I think everyone can learn from this book because it is realistic, and realism makes good films. We wanted to tell an entertaining story that could come off as a movie.

Doug Holder: Do you admire other mystery writes like Dennis Lehane, or Robert Parker?

Paul DeFazio: I like Lehane. He spoke at my graduation at Emmanuel College in Boston. He keeps it real; he entertains you, and makes you think about something that you wouldn’t normally think of. I admire anyone who has the strength and ability to stay with writing. I think writing well is a gift.

Doug Holder: The market is flooded with books similar to yours. How hard is it to sell people on your book?

Paul DeFazio: It is very, very difficult. Especially when you come from a small press. It’s a grind and you have to have confidence. You use the computer and every possible avenue. I’m just starting to learn about Facebook.

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