Author Interview: Ritch Gaiti*
PoB: What if any social issues do you explore in “The Big Empty?”
Set in downtown New York City and the Bronx, the book starts as a simple mystery and slowly evolves into a major conspiracy around historical events. The ultimate message in the book has been the American’s injustices towards the American Indian but that is not evident until later in the book. The story takes place in locales far away from what we normally associate with the American Indian. Yet, New York, once the center of our government and commerce, is where it all began. Woven into the fabric of the plot, are nuggets of American history and Indian culture to provide some of the historical basis of past events and tragedies.
PoB: What formats are you offering your book in and why?
Ebooks of all kinds and paperback through Amazon. Most people are reading ebooks these days but occasionally, the feel of the paper texture adds a pleasant sense to the act of reading. And maybe someone would want to put The Big Empty on the bookshelf just to impress his or her friends.
PoB: How have your experiences living and working in New York City shaped this book?
The core of the book takes place downtown Manhattan, Wall Street, to be precise. I spent most of my prior career there and I loved the area. I have always been fascinated by the architecture, the mix of new and historical buildings, and the seemingly incestuous streets that wind into themselves. I described the environment as I saw it and felt it and made many trips back to Wall Street as I wrote The Big Empty. I brought this sensitivity along with a sense of history into the book – keeping in mind that the ‘wall’ of Wall Street was once the boundary of civilization in America.
PoB: I lived in Brooklyn for several years. What will New Yorkers and former New York city residents like me find familiar in this book?
I was brought up in Brooklyn. In fact, my last book, Dutching the Book, was about gamblers in 1960’s Brooklyn. The Big Empty however, takes place in Wall Street and the Bronx. The lead character, Rick Wallace, who has been away from New York for too long experiences it once again. I tried to deliver the sensibilities and sensations of someone who is not accustomed to the city the way the city folks are – from the loud cacophony of the subway, to the tall overpowering buildings, to the beauty of Wall Street, to the dirty water street franks, to the mixed architecture and diversity of the Bronx. A real sense of the city from all strata is delivered. I also introduced New York/American history into the story line – I find it fascinating and sometimes we all take it for granted.
PoB: In what ways do you see your background working on Wall Street reflected in the plot and characters of “The Big Empty?”
Some of the characters are based on composites of people I have met along the way. But my role on Wall Street was technology development – diametrically opposed to the lead character’s background. In fact, the lead character was a far away from Wall Street as you can imagine. Yet, he was deeply affected by some significant business events. Other than conveying my impressions of the physical environment and a sense of business, my background did not reflect in the story. What did reflect, however, was the research and homework I had done on American history, Native American culture and my passion to bring out past injustices
*Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in author interviews belong exclusively to the authors featured and do not represent the viewpoints of the Peers of Beinan series, author Laurel A. Rockefeller, or any other related entity. Presented interviews do not constitute endorsement of any product, service, or point of view. Readers are encouraged to form their own opinions concerning presented content herein.