Check out my interview with The Crazy Mind.
Our guest tonight is Victoria Bolton from New York. She is the author of the Rude Boy USA book series. The book series is about the mafia with a fresh look—but the same ambitions. It is the story of a multicultural group of mobsters that spans over three decades. We have conducted an interview with Victoria.
Why did you write your stories about mafias?
I got the idea from watching a band called the Specials sing a song about Gangsters. Here are these White and Black guys singing about gangsters. When I saw that a lightbulb went off in my head. Let’s make a USA version but a whole story.
What is so interesting about mobsters?
I think that many of us who enjoy movies like the Godfather, Casino and Goodfellas like to watch a world that was considered off limits to those who were not born into it or invited to. It’s like sneaking and peeking at something we are not supposed to see. It’s also glamourized and we see them doing nothing but dressing nice, rituals, making lots of money, saying interesting things and killing people. What’ s left out is a lot of the emotion and personal situations because their lives are not entirely consisted of bossing around unions and manipulating contracts.
Where do you draw inspirations from for your book one and two Rude Boy USA and BunnyWine?
One character was based on a crush I’ve had for two decades. I have no shame about admitting that. Others because they look right for the part. The girl has a lot of my qualities in her but I kind of wish I was her. I pull situations from what happens around me. I got in trouble for a movie role that I did at my day job and I even added that in there as a small reference in book 2.
How did multiculturalism get into the stories?
I wanted to do something that hadn’t been seen before. We were used to seeing Italian mobsters, Irish mobsters in television and movies when there were Black mobsters, Hispanic mobsters, Asian mobsters in other parts of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and other places that received no shine or were not as glamourized as the others. They were given the label thugs and hoodlums when in reality all of them were in the same pool. One group had unions and politicians in their pocket and others had the street and drug game. Making one crime family consist of a mixed group (for that time period in the US) leveled the playing field and essentially forced you to look at them evenly for what they do and what they really were. Mixing them up actually removed race from the equation. You saw the group as people.
Which cultures did you cover in your book series over the 3 decades?
Book one introduced you to the core group of the mob family Chimera. Chimera is basically another name for hybrid, which made this group of four top guys. One boss, one underboss, and two associates. Everyone else worked under the direction of those four guys. Two were black and two were white. The boss was half Greek and Jewish whose grandparent immigrated to New York. The Underboss is a light-skinned Black man from northern Louisiana who settled in New York and married a white woman (a friend of the boss) when he moved there which was taboo at the time. The third one was a brown skinned black man from Harlem and the fourth one was Italian from Brooklyn who served in Vietnam.
They ran a shell investment company that covered for their real activities which were something that most mob families did at the time. A woman comes into the picture and changes the landscape. She was a waitress (black) at the Playboy Club and she is also a New York native. I chose that because what a lot of people have no idea about Playboy waitresses, was how disciplined you really had to be to work there. There were strict codes and rules you had to follow and some of those attributes were seen as beneficial to Chimera besides her good looks. Of course being there brings another set of issues when romantic relationships form. She was one of a few of color at the New York Club at the time.
Book two basically was the aftermath of the crackdown on the mob stranglehold in New York City. There was an ambitious prosecutor who was out to put them all away and make an example out of guys that are like the ones in my story, I could not just write three books about mob guys shooting up people and feeding them to the fishes. I wanted to show the real life consequences that many of them faced from being in that life. A lot of the mobster glamour disappeared after the mid-eighties.
Book three (Which comes out in September) finishes it off. When gangsters graduate and go into politics. It is said that there isn’t much difference in the political structure as it is in the mob world. Those lines are blurred and the book will focus on that. I think the books show a natural transition. It’s the same concept but put in different scenarios.
Who is your favourite character in your story? How did this character develops overtime?
Bunny (Celia) is my number one favorite. She started off as a naïve, young, early twenty-something still doing things and making young woman mistakes. She falls in love with a man that society says that she shouldn’t touch, she takes chances, she goes off to find herself and she sticks to her guns. Bunny is coming up at a time where women’s liberation is taking off so she isn’t easily run over by a group of guys that most people would find intimidating. She holds herself up very well in their company and despite the relationship issues she has with a couple of them, they still respect her. She is vulnerable with her feelings at times which makes her human.
She’s allowed to cry and not be seen as weak. All my characters go through that.
My second favorite is John. I like John because he is not perfect. There is no logical reason for him to be. He has a past like everyone does but Bunny looks away from that, she doesn’t care. He’s fiery, has leadership qualities, a lot of heart, will fight for his friends and has some arrogance which attracts her. He’s very handsome even with age. He was also unavailable (married) at the time Bunny met him which made him a challenge and Bunny likes challenges. His unavailability also made Bunny irresistible to him even though he had access to many other women besides her. The fact that they could not have each other immediately was what made everything click.