When a group of masked mercenaries infiltrate the Bank of Philadelphia, the objective is to steal five pink Argyle diamonds from a safety deposit box. Things run smoothly until one of the gunmen; 28-year-old Liam Matthews ends up locked inside of the vault with 23-year-old bank teller Remi Catalano. One of them will make a fateful decision that drastically alters the robbery's outcome. In its aftermath, their actions inadvertently have a profound effect on the other, which will ultimately define who they both truly are.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About Behind the Mask - PART 1

How did I come up with the story?

Back in 2007, on the soap opera General Hospital, there was a storyline which involved a heist of a hotel.  And one of the masked gunman got locked inside of the hotel vault with one of the employees.  So that's where the inspiration came from. But other than the two people and the vault, that's where the similarities end. Because though I enjoyed the GH story, I felt the direction the show went with the storyline and characters was all wrong. Just my opinion I know, but it sparked my own creativity and encouraged me to write my own story and put it down on paper.

Why is it set in Philadelphia?

For many reasons. The first being, I love Philadelphia. I live in Southern New Jersey and I'm only about 30 minutes or less from Philly. Growing up a Philadelphia sports fan and going to the city, there's just always been something special about it. The second reason, in the state of Pennsylvania, it's legal to carry a licensed concealed firearm. So for obvious purposes within the story, it made sense to have it take place where this was possible. The third reason was because of the regional rail line, which became a big focal point of the story. The fourth, I'm familiar with the city and though I relied on Google for some things, others I already had knowledge of.

Why are some locations/landmarks real while others are fake?

For legal reasons aka covering my butt. While researching writing fiction, I found out that using specific places such as hotels and restaurants, a writer is better off creating a fake place because real places might not take too kindly to being used in a novel. Even in a positive light. So after I finished the book, I went back and changed a couple places just to be safe. For instance, the Promenade Hotel was originally the Four Seasons....the Origami House was originally Morimoto's.  And the Village Grill was originally X-Finity Live, which is located by the sports complexes in downtown Philly. County Hospital was originally The University of Pennsylvania Hospital.  And of course, the Bank of Philadelphia is NOT a real bank and wasn't based on any bank in particular, just a mix of many I have been inside of.

I honestly didn't want to change any names but thought it was smarter to do so.

Where did the main character's names come from?

Remi Catalano:   I've always liked the name Remi (usual spelling is Remy) but when I was younger a good friend of mine had a cat named Remy and when I began writing the story, the name popped into my head. The last name Catalano might be familiar to fans of the 1994-1995 TV show, My So-Called Life.  The object of the main character's affection was named Jordan Catalano, played by Oscar winner Jared Leto. And the name stuck with me.

Liam Matthews:  To be honest the name Liam just seemed to fit the character. Which might sound weird, but that's the reason.  His last name though pays homage to my son, who is named Matthew.

Why did I make Liam a naval architect?

Since the story takes place in Philadelphia, which has many naval shipyards, having him design ships made sense.  Because I always liked the idea of him being an architect but adding the naval aspect was more fun and unique. Plus because he chose not to become a lawyer like his parents, I wanted him to do something that was in a completely different field of work. I also enjoyed being able to use the shipyard location.

Stay Tuned for FAQ - Part 2!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Remi Catalano

A 23 year-old petite, blonde, dark blue-eyed spitfire whose witty sarcasm and lively personality make her fun to be around.

The only child of Tony and Beth Catalano, Remi's life has been filled with love and support.  In fact, her family life is the complete opposite of Liam's.

Growing up in Bala Cynwyd (a suburb of Philadelphia) Remi's middle class world consisted of lots of friends and popularity.  Though not the best student, her grades were average.  More so because she just didn't apply herself and was more into the social aspect of school instead of the academics.  In high school, Homecoming Queen Remi was never lacking in the suitor department.  Far from shy and extremely confident, Remi could have dated any boy she wanted to.  That said, her tendency to seek out the bad boys trumped her good judgment.  An unfortunate trait that would carry on into her adulthood.

Never really sure of what she wanted to be when she grew up, Remi enrolled at the local community college...a couple times.  She'd start then quit and work various part-time jobs.  But nothing seem to click and she lacked the drive to find what was missing. So her parents allowed her to live at home and supported her financially, but they hoped she'd eventually become more ambitious and stand on her own two feet.  And her choice in boyfriends seriously displeased Tony and Beth.  Especially the last one, Kurt, who's currently serving time in prison for grand theft auto.

Remi's close circle of friends consists of Jenna, Melanie, and Abby.  Friends since grade school, all four were inseparable.  And it's Jenna, who worked at the Bank of Philadelphia, that suggested Remi apply for a teller position.  And to Remi's surprise, she was hired.  But who knew three weeks into the job she would find herself locked inside of the vault with a gun-toting masked man. And her life would never be the same!

Read more about Remi in BEHIND THE MASK.

Image: Eye Doctor Guide