Thursday, July 12, 2012

Character Development: Who is FBI Agent Antonio Donato?

FBI Special Agent Antonio Donato is special indeed. The second part of J.J. McCall's love triangle, his character based on my 20 year love affair with all things mafia related (thanks to an obsession with The Godfather I and II and The Sopranos) and an FBI Agent I met once while visiting the FBI's NY field office on a case and later for an intra-agency counterintelligence conference.

Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Body. Hair. Skin. AND Personality. One of the nicest (and sexiest) agents I've ever met.

He was Italian through and through. From his sunkissed skin to his dark curly tresses to his straight-out-of-Sicily name--which I will, of course, not divulge here. A fellow analytical colleague and I regretted, with all the smart wardrobe choices that we'd made, that we had not brought bibs to catch the drool. He was so gracious. Helped us on the case we were working, took us on tours of the city and through Brooklyn, where he would later purchase from a corner bakery one of the most perfectly addicting canolis I'd ever eaten in my entire life. I never forgot him, but I never forgot that canoli either--proof of its deliciousness. Just thinking about it now, I wish I had a bib to catch the drool.

For obvious reasons, he stuck in my mind.

So, when I started developing characters for this series, for me, basing one of J.J.'s love interests on this agent was an easy choice. I gave him a background full of conflict that would not only add challenges to his desire to have a relationship with J.J. but also in his family life. And eventually it will come to head in his professional life.

Antonio Donato, as I've written him, is the son of a jailed Capo in the Bonnano family. But Tony  rejected the family business. Not only did he reject it but he did the worst thing the son of a Capo could do--he became a cop. Not just any cop, but a Federal cop. Tony's choice of occupations, despite the fact that he's deliberately avoided working organized crime, has made things difficult on himself and on his biological family. Thus, he's estranged from his father, brothers and sisters, who are still in "the life." The only person who he's in touch with is his mother who is mob-weary and thankful one son chose another path for his life. But she wants him to marry a good Italian girl; Sicilian is even better. Can you imagine what will happen if he brings this African American woman home to meet Ma? I could.

You can imagine the conflict that will arise under these circumstances. Add to that the fact that J.J.'s father is a former Black Panther. Their family ties alone could make love all but impossible. Yet, love usually demands to have its own way.

The best part of the story line is that in a future book, I will be writing a mafia-based story as J.J. and Antonio must contend with a Russian mafioso (already introduced in the first book) and the Italian mafia, including Tony's family, inadvertently gets pulled into the fray. I have lots of plot notes and I'm so looking forward to writing that book in the series. It's sure to be a page-turner.

More Characters to Come...

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