Bob talks to Bob Puglisi about growing up in Corona Queens and how he came to write "Railway Avenue" and "Midnight Auto Supply." Both are great reads and certainly a must for those from Corona.
I'm just a kid from Queens (N.Y.) that's where my story begins. I've had a varied background, including IT professional, actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and librarian. I was on stage in plays produced in Los Angeles and at the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre in Colorado. My acting credits include stage, film, and television. Some of my memorable TV roles were on MATLOCK with the late Andy Griffith, HILL STREET BLUES, and several appearances in comedy skits on The TONIGHT SHOW with Jay Leno. In the year 2000, I won a fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts for my screenplay BIG WHITE BONNEVILLE, which was produced as a short film, entitled My Bonneville. It toured the film festival circuit around the country. When I’m not writing, I love to snow ski, fish, hike and bike. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my wife, Anita, and our cockatiel, Skipper.
Railway Avenue will make you laugh, cry, and in the end, the characters will remain with you long after you have finished reading. It is a love story that spans the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. In it, Vietnam vetTommy DiNardo is willing to kill to avenge the murder of the woman he has loved since he was five years old.Tommy grows up in the working class Italian-American neighborhood of Corona, New York. Growing up in the fifties, Tommy and his friends do things kids of that era did: build clubhouses, catch fire flies, ride bicycles, and spy into a mysterious church of holy rollers. As teens, they hang out on stoop tops, listen to rock and roll, go to drag races, attend high school proms and have early sexual experiences. But there is a dark side to this pleasantly sounding story. These kids endure domestic violence, an abusive nun, a polio epidemic, a fire that threatens to destroy their homes, the violent death of a young friend, the racial turmoil that erupts in 1960s Corona, the Vietnam War and murder.
Midnight Auto Supply one year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War continues to escalate and the draft hangs over the heads of young men in Corona, New York. The sounds of doo-wop, the Four Season, Elvis, and Sinatra still play on the juke box at Al’s Bar and Grill where twenty-one-year-old Frankie Russo and his friends hang out. On one of the most important days in young Frankie's life, he has an accident with his brand new 1964 Pontiac Bonneville, and it becomes one of the worst days of his life. The actions he takes following the accident change his life forever.