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Quincy author delves into the process behind his latest work

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 29, 2012 09:43 AM

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For Quincy resident Marty Nazzarro, writing about the streets he’s from came easily.

In his first book, “The City of Presidents”, he turned inward, penning a book focused on the streets he grew up on, with a character list of brothers seemingly taken from real life.

In his latest book, "The Sound of Darkness," Nazzarro looks to his historic city once more, this time with an eye for the whodunit fiction that Nazzarro loves to read about.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Nazzarro talks about the process, the passion, and the progression of putting his latest story to paper, and hopes that latest book keeps readers guessing till the very end.

Boston Globe: Talk to me a bit about the story. How is this latest book, “Sound of Darkness,” different from the first?

Marty Nazzarro: This is a whole ‘nother subject matter. The first book was something that I took on saying, ‘Ok, there aren’t a lot of books [about Quincy] out there,’ so I wrote “The City of Presidents” as the city being a big part, but also it being a story of brothers and brotherhood. I’m one of five boys, so it told the story of growing up.

The first book I had such a great response. People like reading something that is home grown, so I thought I will write another book and use the city as a backdrop again.

I’m a big fan of whodunit, [and wanted to do one] based in Quincy, with a contemporary theme….a serial killer who is killing the homeless in Quincy…

BG: Was it an easy process?

MN: With the first book, which was a more personal book to me, it was easy. I’ve lived in Quincy my whole life, so it's easy for me in my mind's eye to see the city itself, to see different neighborhoods, the different types of people and the political state of the city. It was also easy to write this book sitting down. It was nice not to do a lot of research.

BG: How long did it take to create the concept and write the book?

MN: To actually write the book it takes me around six to seven months to do it, but since I do it all myself, the editing takes a lot longer.

I have some friends and family who read different versions as I go, and for the whodunit, I had a friend … who I told up front [who the serial killer was], so someone who knew enough could see where it was going. But other people didn’t know, and I'd have them go through. So that process, that takes around a year.

All in all it takes around two years from the idea to the publishing of a book, which is a lot longer than I would have thought, but time goes quickly, I guess…

BG: So what’s your background in writing? Had you ever done something like this before your first book?

MN: [I thought] some day I wouldn’t mind writing a book…with email and Facebook and all that, people are more used to writing than not now.

One day I decided. I grew up in a great neighborhood of Montclair and it was a zillion stories, and I started to put some down on paper and supersize them and develop a story on it.

I gave the first draft to my brother, Mike, and I was nervous….when he took such a good take on it, he said, "You have to publish this," and it went from there.

It’s not something I find extremely difficult, but it is time consuming. I enjoy reading, and I try to make sure that whatever comes out is honest and true, I never want to waste anyone’s time.

The first book has a twist at the end that a lot of people love and most people didn’t catch. I figured a whodunit is neat, to try to fool people again...

BG: So what is it about Quincy that keeps drawing you back here for material?

MN: For me, growing up here, the part I love is it’s a city but it's broken up into a bunch of different towns…and they all have their own personality...

I’ve lived here long enough that every part of the city has their own personality, and to write about that and how it meshes in with the city itself is kind of neat. They are all different, but all great, and at the end of the day people from Quincy have a great pride in it…

And that’s why I think its easy to write about, and in the new book I try to show the aspects of Quincy through detectives’ eyes and through a crisis in the city – what would they think. It’s a unique city in that way. We’re unique and small at the same time.

BG: Did you speak to people in the city, detectives and whatnot, to help in that perspective?

MN: No, I actually talked to my friends. I didn’t want to be overly technical. I have a lot of friends who are Quincy police, so I understand the dynamic. But I wanted to make it for a street-level reader, not get too deep in forensics, and I wanted to show how two cops - a male and female - go about their day to catch the serial killer.

For the first book, I used different people’s names of people I know….People love seeing their names in print, so a lot of people have names in this book, and I have people asking if they can be in the next book.

So some people in the book are actually Quincy policeman. I think it adds to it…a reader from Oklahoma might enjoy the story, but a reader from Quincy might actually know these people, [though] it’s a pure work of fiction...

BG: Any next books planned?

MN: Yes. I’m taking a little break now to promote this one, but I would like to use this second book as a vehicle. Characters who are interesting in it, who are still there in [this] book, people wanted a sequel for that. And in my mind’s eye I have a sequel to [“The City of Presidents”]. I’m trying to decide which I want to extend …

"The Sound of Darkness" is available on and can be found here.

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