Interview with Michael Dineen – Author of Suburban Gangsters
Peter Donnelly sits with Michael Dineen
Peter: Your book Suburban Gangsters is a memoir and it provides an account of a period in your life when you were involved in criminal gangs, drug dealing and drug addiction. I know it’s a sensitive process for us to interview you with regards to these activities, so please don’t feel it necessary to answer questions that you are uncomfortable with.
Peter: What was your main motivation and what did you hope to achieve in writing this book?
Michael: My main motivation was to get the story out there so it might warn people as to what awaits them if they dare to travel down that road of drugs and crime. It is truly a dark road where in the end there are no winners, only a lot of broken hearts and destruction of lives. I knew I had a remarkable story to tell and I really thought it might turn some heads. I already have some interest from people in the entertainment business who want to do a film adaptation of the book.
Peter: You were responsible for convicting several criminal gang leaders, how do you feel about that?
Michael: Having been responsible for having had some powerful drug traffickers brought to justice was a crazy experience. First off, I never thought in a million years I would end up voluntarily working with the cops & feds. But that is the crazy thing about that life, you have to be prepared to get down and dirty in ways most normal people would never dream of. Anyone who has the illusion that there is some grand nobility in this line of work better go home to mommy, cause they would get eaten alive in a New York second. Drug dealing is the ultimate dirty business, and I was one of the pioneers who was smart enough to understand it is kill or be killed, so working with the police and setting up other drug dealers was just another business decision to ensure my safety long-term. The cops and DEA were playing chess, but I was playing the Chinese board game GO, which makes chess look like a joke.
Peter: You managed to recover from serious heroin addiction, what did you learn most about yourself during that period and how you recovered?
Michael: Getting hooked on heroin was a dreadful experience. At first it was fun, but once you are hooked the game is over. It quickly becomes a painful torture that there seems to be no way out of. Kicking the habit was the hardest thing I have ever done bar none. I learned that choices in life are extremely important. Being dumb enough to try it the first time changed my life forever, but that was a choice I made and if I had it to do over again, I would never do it now knowing how deadly it is. I survived it so I want to be able to take that experience and help others.
Peter: Do you wish to use this experience and/or book to help others that may be involved in criminal activities or drug abuse?
Michael: Absolutely I want to help others to abstain from going down the same path I did. Read the book and you will see all my friends either went to prison or died, EVERYONE!!
Peter: Do you feel writers have a platform to influence society?
Michael: Writers definitely have a platform to influence society. If you write a story in a way that conveys it to the reader in it’s most profound form, it can do wonders with people. I feel it’s almost an obligation to get these stories out there.
Peter: What experience did you have in writing prior to authoring this book?
Michael: I had no prior experience writing. This is my first foray into this world.
Peter: Have you had any formal education or training in literature and writing?
Michael: I only finished 11th grade and never even finished high school, so there was no formal training in this field.
Peter: Did you always feel that writing was a path you would take?
Michael: I never thought I would end up writing because I hated reading. In my 30’s I started reading a lot of books about the Vietnam War and it ignited a passion in me that still burns bright.
Peter: Who was your greatest influence in becoming a writer?
Michael: My greatest influence as a writer is the legendary journalist Joseph Galloway. Joe was a correspondent in Vietnam who did 4 tours there and went on to write a bestseller about a famous battle in Vietnam known as the battle of the Ia Drang Valley. An epic story!!
Peter: What authors have you most admired and have had an influence on you?
Michael: As I just mentioned Joe Galloway and General Hal Moore are the first two who come to mind. I’m also a big fan of Dr. Timothy Leary, the former Harvard professor and godfather of LSD in this country. He wrote some amazing works about the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions.
Peter: What is your favourite book you’ve read this year?
Michael: My favorite book I’ve read this year is “Nine Days In May”. It is another Vietnam war book.
Peter: What advice would you give to aspiring or debut authors?
Michael: The advice I would give to debut authors would be to never get discouraged and always believe in yourself, even when others doubt you. That is so important cause if you don’t believe than nobody else will either so have some faith in yourself.
Peter: What are the greatest obstacles to being an Indie Author?
Michael: The greatest obstacles to being an indie author is finding a way to get your book to the masses. I’m still trying to figure it out so I’ll let you know if I do.
Peter: Which websites do you feel are important to promote your books on?
Michael: Definitely Facebook and Twitter as a tool to promote your book. That is what I’m doing now.
Peter: How much time do you spend on writing compared to marketing your books?
Michael: Because I had no experience writing, I definitely took more time writing than marketing. It took me a while to figure out what I was doing but in the end I produced a pretty good piece of work.
Peter: How important do you feel narration is or will become to the book industry?
Michael: Narration is extremely important to writing.
Peter: What other projects are you working on?
Michael: I’m just about to start a children’s book and I’m also going to write a Vietnam War novel in the future. Things are starting to heat up with this book so watch for the movie or TV series in the near future.
Peter: How can readers learn more about you and your work?
Michael: They should start by reading my book Suburban Gangsters which is available on Amazon.
Facebook: Michael.Dineen.75 Author Page
Peter: Michael, many thanks for being so open with us and giving us an insight into the world you came from. I know you have lost a lot of people close to you either as a result of crime or drugs and you have also faced extreme hardships on a personal level. I wish you all the best with your writing career and with the support you give to young people that are tempted by crime and drugs.
Michael: I would like to thank Peter Donnelly for giving me the opportunity to share this with you.