Tom Mendicino is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina School of Law. His debut novel Probation (Kensington) was named a 2011 American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His novella Away in a Manger appeared in the Kensington collection Remembering Christmas and his short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies. He is also the author of the new adult novellas KC, at Bat, Travelin' Man, and Lonesome Town (eKensington), a trilogy following the relationship between a promising baseball player and a would-be musician, also published in an omnibus edition as the coming-of-age novel Stealing Home (Kensington and eKensington). His award- winning novel The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter (Kensington) is about the powerful bond between a pair of motherless boys, the sons of an abusive immigrant from Italy, and the choices each makes to protect the other.
"The first question I’m asked when I’m introduced as a ‘writer’ is "What do you write?" The simple answer is fiction and the inevitable follow-up is "What kind of fiction?" I hesitate, not knowing how to respond. I don’t write romance, though the characters in my novels and novellas fall in love. Crimes are sometimes committed and hidden secrets are divulged, but my books aren’t mysteries or procedurals. They aren’t erotica, but there’s plenty of sex. I’m frequently considered to be an ‘LGBT’ writer since many of my characters are, like myself, gay. I’m most certainly not a speculative writer as my imagination isn’t intrigued by other galaxies and fantasy kingdoms. My work isn’t ‘literary’. My degree is a Juris Doctor, not a Master of Fine Art; my sentences are too short and my paragraphs don’t include enough lofty metaphors. And, while my numbers are healthy, I don’t sell enough books to be considered ‘commercial.’ But every ‘brand’ needs a label so I’ll call myself a simple ‘storyteller,’ as a blogger once pegged me, with an insatiable curiosity about the profound uniqueness of each of our seemingly unremarkable lives."
I was asked to participate in the Ten Books that Made the Greatest Impression on Me. There were only two criteria to make the list. One, I had to have read the book before I was 18 as I could never be that impressionable again. Two, I had to be honest and not cite some masterwork to make me seem like I was a sensitive prodigy, which I most definitely was not, rather than the typical, nothing-special working class kid from Pittsburgh, which I was (and kinda still am).
So, in no particular, order:
1. "Adventure Comics featuring Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes" DC Comics, various authors.
2. "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding.
3. "Four Days" which was a UPI commemorative edition released after the JFK assassination.
4. "Lives of the Saints" by Father Butler.
5. "The Last Picture Show" by Larry McMurtry (Duane, almost half a century later, still my perfect "real boy.")
6. "The Bad Seed" by William March.
7. A mass market paperback collection of Charles Addams "Addams Family" single panel cartoons.
8. "The Lord Won't Mind" by Gordon Merrick which I stole from the Irwin Public Library lest anyone catch me with such perverse filth that would confirm the suspicion that I was, indeed, a pariah.
9. The Collector's Edition Booklet celebrating the 1960 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
and last, but certainly not least.
10. "Go, Dog. Go!" by P.D. Eastman.