Amazon Book Description: A FINALIST for the 2012 Readers Favorite Award, The Domino Effect is the story of Danny Rorro, a charismatic kid from Queens poisoned by the past. A series of painful defeats have left him scarred and isolated from his neighborhood, his parents, and, most significantly, the benevolent ways of his childhood when he was known as "Domino." With great insight, imagery and wit, Danny recalls his past in Queens and his coming-of-age at Hamden Academy. This fast paced and powerful story is rich with conflict, humor, tenderness and music--just like life, especially when coming-of-age.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Amazon Review: The Domino Effect Review
Author Blurb: Andrew Cotto is a writer and teacher who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of two novels: THE DOMINO EFFECT - a 2012 Readers Favorite Award finalist - is a coming of age story about a kid from Queens with a damaged past and a complicated present at a boarding school in rural New Jersey; OUTERBOROUGH BLUES: A BROOKLYN MYSTERY is an unconventional noir about a drifter seeking a missing person and a remedy to his family's curse on the dawn of urban gentrification. His novels are represented by Dunow, Carlson and Lerner Literary Agency. Andrew's articles have appeared in many national journals, including the New York Times, Men's Journal, Huffington Post, Salon, Deadspin, the Good Men Project and Teachers & Writers Magazine. For the past seven years, Andrew has taught composition courses and creative writing workshops in New York City. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in Literature from Lynchburg College.
Author Blog: http://www.andrewcotto.com/
Part I of Author Interview
1. What was the inspiration for your book, The Domino Effect?
I was originally inspired by Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing. I know it seems like an incongruous connection, but that movie really made me want to tell stories that dealt with big issues, such as race. The Domino Effect ended up being less about race than I originally intended (at first, Terence was the main character, and Danny was a Nick Carraway-type of 1st person narrator), but the inspiration for dramatic storytelling remained.
2. Danny is such a great protagonist. Are you anything alike or is he based partially on someone you know?
Thanks. This was my first novel, and I understand that first novel's often have semi-autobiographical protagonists, but the success of Danny as a character is really predicated on my avoiding that familiar formula. We do share some similarities (ethnic background, sense of humor, a love of baseball, a stint at boarding school, the habit of making massive and stupid mistakes), but he really is his own entity, as much a creation of imagination as I'm capable.
3. I don't usually notice location, but I loved your descriptions of where he used to live and his boarding school. Have you ever lived in these places or did you travel there to do some research for your book?
I believe setting is really important, and worthy of as much attention as any character. My other novel, Outerborough Blues: A Brooklyn Mystery, is wildly atmospheric. In Domino, I wanted to juxtapose the urban setting of a Queens neighborhood with that of a bucolic boarding school, and I was able to do so convincingly by being familiar with both. I don't think research lends itself to an intimate sensory understanding of a location.
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