Being freelance with the addition of having my own blog allows me to write articles like this. Not only am I able to share someone’s remarkable journey, the someone is a colleague, business associate – all will be revealed – and someone, who, along with his good wife Maria, are more like family to me and mine.
Alan Gunner Lindbloom has been someone who I have been modelling my own recent behaviour and attitude on. He has been an incredible source of inspiration to me and always at the end of the phone when I need advice, guidance or a kick up the proverbial. It is an absolute honour (with a U) to be able to share Alan’s story with you. You are in for a treat, as Alan and I discuss things past, present and future. But before we look at current events, Alan Gunner Lindbloom, what’s your story?
A – I’m half-Sicilian on my mother’s side, and I was born into a very secretive Detroit Mafia Family. My grandfather, Peter Tocco – the older cousin of Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco, the Boss of Bosses – was the unofficial consigliere of the entire Detroit Mafia. At around age 14, my uncle began introducing me to a life of crime. We can come back to this later, but I have written a series about my life for NCS. This link contains a brief video about my life.
D – WOW! That’s certainly one way to kick off an interview. I know that you are no longer a part of the Italian-American Mafia, so what made you stop?
A – Eventually, at age 29, I was sentenced to 13-50 years in prison for extortion, armed robbery, bank robbery, and weapons violations. But in prison, I found my calling as a writer.
D – Which, in a way, is how we started to be in contact. Writing also became my passion in prison. Although, unlike you I’m yet to write my first book. How many books did you write overall in prison?
A – Well, when I finally walked out of prison 30 months ago, I had nine completed novels of varying genres.
D – Nine? Wow. What time did you end up serving?
A – I was released after serving 13 years. But in prison, I found my calling as a writer. I knew I had a special gift–a very vivid imagination and the ability to create complex stories. I was a huge reader, yet I often found myself thinking that I could write better books than the ones I was reading. So, I began to write and didn’t stop for 13 years. It became my mistress, my pacifier, my great escape.
D – I know your writing also achieved something else you weren’t expecting, we’ll come back to that later. Did you get any of your books published during your sentence?
A – I did publish but only once I was released. I first chose to self-publish my Mafia novels, TO BE A KING, mainly because I figured I could leverage my past to propel my future.
D – And why not? Is the Mafia genre well supported?
A – Definitely. Just on social media, there are dozens of VERY large Mafia fan groups that have hundreds of thousands of faithful followers, and my books have made me world famous in them.
D – We were admin together on a few, so I can confirm that to be true, as well as everything else. Tell us a bit more about TO BE A KING.
A – My grandfather, who was also the inspiration for the character “Don Falcone” in my books, in my teens, saw that I wasn’t destined for college or some professional career, so he began putting me to work for his “goombadis” in the Family. I eventually became his driver and bodyguard. We were constantly dodging FBI tails, bugs, and surveillance.
D – You must have seen some stuff, no doubt most you can’t talk about?
A – HAHA!.. I would join him on “sit-downs,” often over penny poker games with powerful men that included everyone from clergymen to professional athletes, to high ranking politicians and other mob bosses. I’d listen to them talk for hours. And the things I heard would blow your mind. Some of it I can never repeat, but I gleaned a wealth of information that would later spark my imagination while writing my novels.
D – In what way?
A – Having a fly-on-the-wall view of how the Mafia works has resulted in a unique authenticity in my writing. I honestly believe the reason there hasn’t been a great Mafia story told since The Godfather is because very, very few individuals can authentically write this genre. Puzo admitted that he didn’t know any Mafiosi personally, but he did know a lot of guys from his neighborhood who did. His imagination did the rest. That is the difference between me and Puzo, or any other writer who attempts to write the Mafia genre.
D – Your experience of ‘The Life’ you mean?
A – Yeah! I lived that life, which made writing this story easy. I’ve seen and heard things that not even the most creative or tenured writer could contrive. I worked for some of the most iconic mob figures in American history. For example, Tony Giacolone (suspected of killing Jimmy Hoffa, and played by Armand Assante in the movie Hoffa) gave me the nickname “Pazzu Lupara,” which translates to “Crazy Gunner.” He gave me that nickname after he caught me scabbing his poker players for my own games. This was a very dangerous risk for me. If I wasn’t a Tocco, I may have come up missing for it. I mean, he was a man the FBI suspected of over 40 murders and/or disappearances, including Jimmy Hoffa! My Great Uncle Jack Tocco was the longest reigning mob boss in U.S. history. I was exposed to things that the average person (and not the average writer), could never be privy to.
D – Let’s give the readers a sample of ‘To Be A KING’.
A – Done.
D – This is one of my favourite pictures of you and your amazing wife, Maria, and I said earlier your writing also achieved something else you weren’t expecting, explain please, lol.
A – Maria is the best. Five years into my sentence, a cousin of mine had set up a Facebook account to highlight the books I had been writing and so that friends and old classmates could get in contact. Maria had been on Facebook and saw the profile, we had also been classmates. Maria had previously worked for Amazon Publishing and was an avid reader, so she wrote to me. We wrote back and forth. I think it was when Maria read ‘To Be A King’ that she knew, not only was she in the possession of a best seller, but that she wanted to be with me. After 6 months, we fell madly in love with each other. That was 2010. 6 more years Maria waited. Within 24 hours of receiving my parole in 2016, Maria and I were married.
D – WOW! Again, I love that story. I wonder who will play you both when the inevitable film about your life comes out.?
Staying in the past for a moment longer, you mentioned earlier about a series you have written for NCS. I share the links to my NCS articles here on my blog, although I’ve still to upload some. However, what series have you written and, who are NCS?
A – As you said we both write for NCS who are: National Crime Syndicate; known as the “Ivy League” of Mafia journalism and as the largest Mafia history website in the world. The on-going series I am writing are “The Lindbloom Chronicles” an ongoing series of short stories about my life growing up in in a Mafia Family. They have been read over 2 million times. Currently, a producer out of Atlanta is making them into a TV pilot. Click on these links for the Lindbloom Chronicles and NCS.
A – We may as well share our Author pages.
D – Great idea.
D – I’ll drop in the interview you had with our ‘Boss‘, Craig, at NCS.
D – I mentioned in the introduction about us being business associates, I am of course talking about your company ‘Our Thing Apparel’, easy question, how did ‘Our Thing Apparel’ come about.
A – When I was creating a small run of promotional sweatshirts for ‘TO BE A KING’, I used the term “Our Thing” (which as you know is the English translation of Cosa Nostra) on the back. But when pictures of William Usher (business partner) and me started appearing on Facebook wearing the “OUR THING” hoodies, we became inundated with requests from people who wanted an “OUR THING” hoodie of their own. Thus, the brand was born. Not everyone knows what “OUR THING” means, but those who do, know it’s a euphemism for the Mafia, a secret society of gangsters that spans the entire globe. Wearing “OUR THING” may not make you a member of the Mafia, but it will make you part of an elite brotherhood that isn’t afraid to channel their inner gangster.
D – The ‘Our Thing’ clothing I have is top quality, but both you and I are bound to say that, one thing that I really respect and admire about you is how much time you have for your fans on social media. I love the fact that on the ‘Our Thing’ website there’s a picture gallery dedicated to your fans.
A – Yeah dude, the gallery page is an awesome addition to the website. You’re on there, once or twice hahaha!
D – hahahaha! I love the support that you get, especially with ‘Our Thing’. The GodToddler and her family have become like family to me, as I know they have with you.
A – They are an awesome family who, yes indeed, have become like a family to us all at ‘Our Thing’, a big MASSIVE shout-out to the GodToddler and la famiglia, always reppin’ the ‘Our Thing’ look, which is the essence of ‘Our Thing’.
D – Here’s a few pics of the GodToddler making a rare, hmm! lol, appearance reppin ‘Our Thing’ apparel, as usual! (A – hahahahahaha!)
D – I think we should just share the link to the website, so people don’t have to take our word for it and can see for themselves. We would be here all day otherwise.
Below is the link for the photo gallery:
D – So, where we up to now? We’ve covered ‘To Be A King’, ‘National Crime Syndicate’, ‘Lindbloom Chronicles’ and ‘Our Thing’. What’s next? I know, and it starts tomorrow.
D – ‘Festa Italiana’. The poster kind of tells all, and I know that you have a stall again this year. Excited?
A – Very excited. A lot of hard work goes in to be ready each year, especially with all the other projects I have going on but getting out there and meeting my fans means a lot to me, and if I can do a little business along the way, then even better. Here’s a few pics from last year, can’t wait to get you out here D.
D – We can sort that when we are all in the villa in Sicily. I can’t wait to come out to America, if only to go fishing with you. We have hardly touched the surface in relation to all the projects you have got going on. Here’s an idea, why don’t we stop now and we can talk again after the festival, share some pictures along with a few more stories plus we can talk about the upcoming charity ball in September. Thank you so much for taking time out of your mad busy schedule and good luck at the festival brother, love to Maria and speak soon.
A – Thanks dude, yeah! Great idea. I need to get going anyway, so much to still get ready for tomorrow. Looking forward to letting you know how it has all gone. Take care and chat soon. Alan.