Gary Ponzo | Discover Books & Novels on CraveBooks

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Gary Ponzo

Member Since: 09/2023


Author Gary Ponzo began his writing career thirty years ago by writing short stories. In just five years he'd published seven short stories in various publications, two of which were nominated for the very prestigious Pushcart Prize. His first novel, "A Touch of Deceit," is a story born from his childhood experiences working in his father's candy store in Brooklyn, NY. His father was Sicilian and became friendly with some local members of a different kind of Sicilian family. Since Gary was just fifteen at the time, these family members would make sure he was protected whenever he would work late at night by himself. He soon discovered a side to the Mafia not many people knew. It was these relationships which caused him to write about Sicilian FBI agent, Nick Bracco, who recruits his Mafia cousin to chase down the world's most feared terrorist. "A Touch of Deceit," went on to win the 2009 Southwest Writers Novel Contest. He is currently working on the 8th book in the Nick Bracco series as well as trying to create world peace in his spare time. Gary currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Jennifer and two children, Jessica and Kyle.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

I live in Phoenix, Arizona with my wife Jennifer. We have two kids, Jessica lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with her husband, Adam, and our two grandkids, Madeline and Henry. We Facetime the grandkids nightly. Jessica and Adam are both very accomplished triathletes and both made it to Kona for the world championships. My son Kyle is a student at ASU where he's on the bowling team and works in a bowling pro shop as well. He was a pitcher in college until his arm blew out twice and decided to get into bowling. I love watching my kids compete. Sports is a healthy habit for them. I run two miles a day and go the the gym 5 days a week, while my wife is a swimmer and plays pickleball 3-4 days a week as well. We're both fighting the age thing that keeps happening. I also golf twice a week, so when I'm not writing I have a pretty full schedule. But as you can see family is a large part of my life and that won't change anytime soon.

When and why did you start writing books?

I started writing very early, maybe twelve. I kept getting attention from teachers. I remember in 8th grade my English teacher made a copy of one of my short stories and passed it around to everyone as an example for everyone. All through high school my teacher's would comment on my writing, so I knew early on that I had a natural talent for the craft. I even had kids ask me to autograph my short stories because they were convinced it would be worth something one day. Of course I didn't take it seriously until i turned 30 and decided to make a career of it.

What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?

I started writing short stories when I was thirty and began getting them published right away. I even had two of my stories nominated for a Pushcart Prize which was very encouraging as well. I enjoy the process of creating this world in my mind and having readers communicate with me. It's rewarding to hear that my words added enjoyment to someone's life.

Which one of your books or characters is your favourite?

By far Tommy Bracco. He's FBI agent Nick Bracco's cousin who used to be in the Mafia, but now helps Nick track down terrorists using his underground connections for assistance. It turns out even mobsters can be patriots. Tommy is a wise-cracking, kind hearted guy who always find a way to swindle someone into telling him things they shouldn't. He's the comic relief of the books. I have readers tell me all the time I should make an entire series with Tommy as the main character, but I just can't. You can't have ice cream for dinner every night. It's a treat to be enjoyed in moderation.

Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?

I think the first one, A Touch of Deceit. It took me almost a decade to finish and I'm glad it did. I had to rewrite that book over and over until I felt it was exactly what I wanted. And it holds up pretty well after all these years.

Who is your favourite author and book?

That's easy, Elmore Leonard. He taught me that characters should speak in a street cadence. Not everyone speaks perfect English and his dialogue is the best I've ever read. My favorite book is probably Be Cool. The sequel to Get Shorty. They do a good job with the movie, but the book is so good.

What book are you reading right now?

I'm reading The Wanted Man by Lee Child. I've read almost all of the Jack Reacher books and whenever I get on a streak of so-so books, I'll go back to Lee Child and I'm never disappointed.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

My father owned a Candy Store in Brooklyn back in the 70's and I worked there as a teenager. Back then the Mafia would run the numbers out of my Dad's store, which is like the lottery before the government took over the idea. My Dad was Sicilian so the Mafia guys treated me like gold. They came in every day and spoke about school, baseball, their family. I grew up thinking they were really nice guys. Of course, I understand my viewpoint was very skewed, but that's where I got the idea for a Sicilian FBI agent who recruits his Mafia cousin to track terrorists.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I run, golf, read and watch sports. I still get the newspaper delivered to our house every morning and we read it with our coffee. Dinosaurs, huh?

Do you have any new books in the works?

Yes, I'm actually writing a new series with ex-NBA player Eddie Johnson, who used to play for the Phoenix Suns and is now the TV announcer for them. We play golf every Tuesday and he had an idea for a book so I'm helping him write it. It should be out early next year. I'm very excited for everyone to read it.

A Touch of Deceit

A Touch of Deceit

The Gripping Thriller That Launched The Award-Winning, Bestselling Series!

FBI agent Nick Bracco can't stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can't stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this terrorist. Tommy is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.