Where are you from? I was born in Grosse Pointe, MI where my grandparents lived (a suburb just outside of Detroit). I lived in various areas in and around Detroit for much of my life.
Where do you live now? I live a very quiet life in the remote woods of northern Michigan with my wife, Maria, and my two Russian Blue cats (Nika and Gussy).
Is your name Gunner, or Alan? Where did "Gunner" come from? Gunner is actually my middle name, so you'll see both from time to time. Gunner A. Lindbloom is my pen name for my novels, but I go by either. Well, in reality, most people just call me Gunner or Al. Only my mother and my grandmother called me Alan. (And my wife, when she's not very happy with me, LOL.)
Why were you in prison, and how long were you locked up? I was incarcerated for extortion, bank robbery, weapons violations, and other crimes. Altogether, when I was arrested, I was facing 17 capital crimes but plea bargained them down to 4-5 charges in exchange for a 13-50 year sentence. I was released after 13.3 years.
Why did you start writing in prison? ln a nutshell, I decided I was NOT going to be another statistic, another convict who wastes his time inside and comes out even worse than when he went in. I was not going to let society stigmatize me, paint me out to be a worthless loser for having made some bad choices when I was young. I also knew I had a very special talent, a unique gift, the ability to contrive incredibly complex plots. It was only a matter of teaching myself how to put them on paper, which was a slow evolution, but I can be relentless when it comes to pursuing something I want.
What is your connection to the Detroit Mafia? My mother was a Tocco, of the Detroit Tocco crime family. My last name is Lindbloom, which is my father's last name. I spent much of my childhood with my Tocco grandparents, and even lived with them for a few years. In my late teens and early 20s, I did some jobs for my uncles and grandfather, as an "associate" or street enforcer for the family. But I was definitely not a mob boss, or anyone of importance.
So is TO BE A KING about your family? My books are, in every sense of the word, fiction novels, driven by complex characters, plots, and sub-plots that I created in my mind, far more romantic and grandiose than anything I ever lived. That said, of course there are many characters based on characters from my previous life. For example, Don Falcone, the main character’s beloved grandfather, is based on my grandfather, Peter Tocco. I often get asked if any content of the TO BE A KING novels are based on my own experiences. Some of the happenstances and events in the books do mirror events that happened in my own life. But only the people closest to me will ever know which ones.
How many books did you write in prison? I actually wrote nine novels in prison, and the first two (both volumes of TO BE A KING) are now published. The last novel I wrote, called THE SNOWMAN CHRONICLES, will be the next to be published. I tend to be a genre-hopper, and this next book is not a Mafia novel. It's about two cocaine dealers who hit the big time. It's a great novel -- I'm sure my readers will love it.
Where did you meet your wife? We went to the same middle and high school together, growing up only a few blocks apart. But we didn't know each other back in school. She began writing me in prison, and we fell in love through letters. She waited six years for me, and we got married and baptized the day after my release. She is my biggest fan, and is truly amazing. I couldn't do what I do without her. We have a pretty awesome love story, and one day I'll have to write our story into a book for everyone to read.
Do you still have ties to your family? And would you ever go back to a life of crime? Most of the family members I was close to are no longer alive, and I have zero ties to any organized crime family. I definitely will not ever go back to that kind of life. I had a heroin addiction in my late twenties, which resulted in my final crime spree. It was a horrible way to live, and I always knew that I was one prayer away from taking a big fall. I am a devout Christian now, and I live a very peaceful, productive, joy-filled life. I spend my free time camping, fishing, and hiking with my wife. We like to snowmobile and go four-wheeling, and when I'm off parole, we'll go traveling. When people meet me in person, they're often surprised at what a nice, jocular guy I am. If I can quote Yoda from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, "In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way." Thankfully, I've completely turned from the dark side. All glory to God.
How did the "OUR THING" Apparel clothing line get started? Well, the words “Cosa Nostra” is a term commonly used by members of the Mafia to describe the Mafia itself. In English it literally means “our thing.” So, while promoting my book, I had some hoodies made with the cover of my book on the front and the phrase “OUR THING” Detroit on the back. Then I posted pictures of them at some of the larger Facebook Mafia fan pages. Within days I began getting dozens of messages from people wanting a hoodie like that for themselves. I remember calling my business partner, saying, “Bro, we might be onto something here.” And a brand was born. We trademarked the name and started a website, which is a constant build-in-progress as we expand our brand and merchandise.
What's next for Gunner? SO much, I can't even wrap my head around it. Recording will begin soon for the audiobook version of TO BE A KING, Volume 2. Also, I'm working on getting Volume 1 made into a film, which is quite an endeavor. But I have some big players at the table. I just refuse to have it made into anything less than an A-list film, which will require a budget of about $50 million. So that's evolving. I'm hoping to begin the editing process for THE SNOWMAN CHRONICLES next fall, and in between now and then I'll probably write several more King Chronicles and Lindbloom Chronicles. With regard to "OUR THING" Apparel, we're expanding the line to include men's toiletries, cigars, bourbon, glassware, sunglasses, and various other accessories. Eventually, our plan is to extend into an upscale line of suits and business/evening wear.
Wow! That's a lot! How do you stay focused and not get stressed out? I go fishing.
How can fans contact you? Easy. Just click here: CONTACT ME