About Author

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese
  • Writing:

    Thrillers Mysteries Literary Fiction
  • Country: United States
  • Books: 1
  • Profession: Author, Steelworker, Rapid Response Coordinator and Blogger for the United Steelworkers
  • Born: 3 January
  • Member Since: Feb 2020
  • Profile Views: 1,663
  • Followers: 29
  • Visit author: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon,
BIOGRAPHY

Whether busking on street corners in Philadelphia, New Hope, PA or Lambertville, NJ, singing in venues the size of a postage stamp, large as a theater or as dank and devious as the underground settings could be, writing lyrics, poetry, fiery political or social articles, hitting the streets or the airwaves to fight for the poor and homeless (especially teens), workers’ rights and many other causes close to his heart, or finding the time to sit down and write a series such as ‘PUNKS’, the sounds of anarchy also known as punk rock have been Rich Cucarese’s lifelong soundtrack and fueled his ambition to continually fight for what is right and just.
With a background as patchwork as his musical influences, Rich spent a few years in college (Pennsylvania State University, Ogontz/Abington Campus 1985-86), toiled in the massive mills of United States Steel Corporation’s, Fairless Works not too far from Trenton or Philadelphia, and when the majority of the plant was shuttered, he went through a series of changes leading him back into music, activism and a never-ending stream of writing.
Eventually returning to what had become a much smaller steel plant after the Free Trade shakeouts, Rich became more involved in the Steelworkers Union (USW) as Local 4889’s Rapid Response Coordinator; writing many timely, socially active pieces including ‘The Battle for Prosperity Over Poverty’, which was awarded Best News Story of the Year by the United Steelworkers Press Association.
He’s been interviewed by CNBC, MSNBC, BBC America and VICE News as well as various print sources about everything from Free Trade and its social impact on communities, to protests he was involved in such as Occupy Wall Street. As always, he will credit much of his social and political enlightenment to his punk tribe and the anarchistic upheaval of the norms that many punk rock groups espoused, whether they were on this side of the Atlantic or across the pond.
Rich resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his four fiery but equally kind-hearted daughters, his funny, gregarious son and a wife who has actively supported his writings, his music; even though their musical tastes are worlds apart, and still manages to forgive his teenage stupidities like jumping headfirst and happily into mosh pits at an advanced age.

Richard Cucarese's Books

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Book
$9.99 kindleeBook, Paperback,
PUNKSby Richard CucaresePublish: Dec 13, 2019Series: PUNKSLiterary Fiction

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  • PUNKS

    PUNKS - Published on Dec, 2019

Richard Cucarese interview On 16, Jul 2020

"Author of the new, Philly based novel,'PUNKS', Richard Cucarese was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Mr. Cucarese has done a great job on his first work, Black River. He also writes blog articles for his union at usw.org. His writing kryptonite, whether it has to do with poetry, lyrics, political meanderings for a publication, or sitting down to write a novel, is whether his final product is pure."
Where were you born? Since how long have you been residing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania?

I was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, and I moved from there at the age of ten. I have been a resident in various locations of Bucks County, Pennsylvania for forty-three years.

What were some of your hobbies as a child? Do you still enjoy the same things or have your tastes evolved?

First, and foremost (and it remains that way now) I enjoyed reading murder mysteries, the classics, honestly, any kind of fiction, biographies, sports, music, foreign lit; you name it, I have probably read it. I also enjoyed model building, a multitude of athletic endeavors from skateboarding to baseball, sketching everything from album covers to people going about their day, drawing the covers of fanzines, cartooning, spray painting band logos on leather jackets for friends and many other art forms. Listening and enjoying almost every genre of music has been a hobby of mine and remains that way to the present time. I also enjoyed dabbling into writing lyrics for bands that I was in, wrote poetry, short stories and dabbled in novel writing, but initially found myself too impatient for its length.

As I matured, some of my hobbies had disappeared, and some, like photography were added, but when I became an activist for different causes, it eventually led me into the arena of writing political, social and economic related pieces for groups like the Steelworkers Union, even winning their USPA Award for Best News Story a few years ago, and in my early thirties found the resilience and patience required to venture into the world of fiction writing.

What inspired me to start writing? Did you always want to be a writer?

As funny as it sounds, I think reading so many different genres of novel writing, immersing myself into the opinion pieces and investigative reporting of the best newspapermen and women from years gone by helped to inspire me, and writers (truthfully, too many to mention), such as Upton Sinclair, George Orwell, Boris Pasternak, John Steinbeck, Eldridge Cleaver and Jack Kerouac fueled my desire and inspiration to become a writer.

I think since I penned my first cartoon at the age of nine, I have wanted to pursue writing in some type of capacity, but if you'd ever told me when I was younger that it would culminate in penning lyrics, social or political essays, or especially a fiction novel, let alone a series, I probably would have died laughing.

What do you think is the most important thing a writer must keep in mind while writing fiction?

For me, it's remaining on topic, and building up strong, central characters around a riveting story line and plot. Although this can be become a more arduous task by 'PUNKS' being a trilogy, I've enjoyed putting my feet to the fire, keeping the readers interest in part one of 'PUNKS' and look forward to staying on point with parts two and three of the story.

How did you begin writing your book, 'PUNKS'?

I began writing 'PUNKS' in early 2017, with the idea of creating a fictional look at the punk scene in Philadelphia, through the eyes of a young couple with a lot of baggage (some of it very dark), from opposite sides of the tracks, and their rag-tag tribe of loyal friends. I had been dabbling with writing the story since the mid-90's, but felt that at this time in my life (even with juggling a family life consisting of a very supportive wife, five gregarious, busy children, an industrial job with typical 12-16 hour workdays and swing shifts, and my responsibilities as an officer of my local union) it was the right time to sit down and give this first novel the time and care that it needed to grow into a three part series that I hope to have completed over the next few years.

What challenges did you face to set 'PUNKS' in Philadelphia, 1985?

Actually, not very many, considering that I was a punk rock kid who frequented the South Street, Philadelphia area, which was a major hub of the musical, fashion, and even political activity that was taking place in the city at that time for its younger population. There were other pockets of great venues and not very legal, underground events taking place around the city in basements, squats, abandoned factories and the like, and being a singer/songwriter in a band at that time, plus also having acquaintances friends in other bands made it easy to obtain a more authentic feel for what was going on at that time.

The hardest part was trying to nail down musical and other historical events that took place in the city, country and the world to give 'PUNKS' an even more authentic feel for people who were alive during the 80's, and especially for those generations that weren't around yet or too young to remember.

Who inspired the character of nineteen year old Gemma 'Swan' Stinson in 'PUNKS'?

Gemma's complex character is actually a composite of a few young women that I knew at the time in the punk scene, including some who were actually considered street punks; young, teenage girls who were basically runaways escaping some extremely dark and dangerous home lives, and eked out their existence on the streets, doing various jobs, legal and illegal, and living the homeless life in alleys, dangerous shelters, or rat infested squats. Some of these same, young females also had dreams of becoming stars through their various, musical talents.

More than a number of them were into the edginess of punk rock because the lyrical stories and thundering, anarchistic sounds of punk befit their hardscrabble existences, and it showed during their street or club performances around town. I also wanted to have a strong female character as the focal point of 'PUNKS' because in my personal opinion, there are not nearly enough stories that do justice to what adversity young females in punk rock bands faced on the musical scene, and most people do not even know that performers such as Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Siouxsie Sioux, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and so many more females not as well known, cut their teeth in the world of punk rock.

I felt that the fictional character of Gemma 'Swan' Stinson would be a strong tribute and a nod to the hard lives of the street kids and the adversity faced by these stalwart, female performers who paved the way for so many young female rock performers of the present time.

Why did you decide to narrate 'PUNKS' from Rob's literary perspective?

Even years ago, when I devised the initial story line for 'PUNKS' I had Rob Cavelli as a college student who didn't know where he fit into the grand scheme of things. Brought up in a religiously conservative, somewhat racist and homophobic suburban lifestyle, Rob is undergoing a metamorphosis of his own.

The sounds of punk rocks anarchy have caught his ear and even though he's conflicted about if his future will be as a college graduate, or becoming a member of the union, blue collar workforce at a local steel plant, everyone who has seen Rob's lyrical and writing ability has told him that he must continue his talents in some fashion as he grows up, so it felt that having him as the narrative presence in this coming of age look at these two punk rock kids lives and their adventures was the perfect fit for the story.

How would you define your ultimate book hero?

My ideal book hero, or in the case of 'PUNKS' Gemma Stinson, heroine, is someone who is both book and street smart, and has a strong will to survive when faced with the most adversarial conditions. They are not afraid to have flaws or doubts, and do their best to work through them. The ideal hero/heroine has a heart of gold, will fight continually for what's right and just, and will always protect the frailest of society, even if the cost of doing so might be with their own life.

What is your writing kryptonite? Inversely, what is something that never fails to inspire you?

My writing kryptonite, whether it has to do with poetry, lyrics, political meanderings for a publication, or sitting down to write a novel, is whether my final product is pure perfection for the consumption of the general public, or my peers. My triumph over this has been to realize, especially through maturation, that my writing does not have to be 'the next big thing', but instead should be something that takes the reader on an emotional journey that they do not necessarily want to have end.

The resilience of the human spirit never fails to inspire me, whether it is in the world of sports, academia, science, social justice or advocacy for the less fortunate, observing what people are willing to do on a daily basis to conquer fear, injustice, self doubt, or solve the worlds problems in general, lifts my spirits and returns me to the tasks at hand with even more vigor to complete them.

What are some of the things you know now that you did not know when you first started writing?

Even though I'd expected writing to be a fulfilling experience, I never imagined what a journey your creativity could truly take you on. The boundless energy that writing can consume you with is a fantastic, natural high.

What are some of your goals or what are some things you hope to accomplish through your books?

My main goal is to have people as excited by my writing as I am to produce it for them. I enjoy the fact that they have become engrossed in the main characters of 'PUNKS', which makes me hopeful that they'll return for the journey that finishes off the trilogy. Knowing that readers can become emotionally attached to both the characters and they story that I'm trying to convey is such a fulfilling experience, and I have no intentions of slowing down.

When is writing hardest for you? What do you do to pick yourself up during those moments?

The only time that writing has become tough is due to the fact that I have to try and squeeze in creating purposeful narrative while being a steelworker in a mill environment, anywhere from 8 to 16 hours a day, sometimes six days a week on rotating, swing shifts. I am also very active in the Steelworkers union in Philadelphia and try to spend as much down time as I have with my wife and five children.

As long as I manage for even a few minutes in my day to write something down, even if its only a few sentences, and allow myself some good, motivational background music (which can consist of punk, metal, classic rock, blues, jazz, classical and even opera) to absorb into my senses, I usually accomplish what I've set out to do.

What are you currently working on?

Well, besides promoting my first published novel, 'PUNKS' from Wordsmiths, Ink, LLC, I am reworking a previously self-published murder mystery titled, 'Black River', which Wordsmiths plan to publish either at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021.

I am also in the process of finishing and then editing the second novel in the 'PUNKS' trilogy, which will be titled, 'PUNKS' - The Chance. I am hoping to have The Chance ready for the spring of 2021, and then I am planning to begin writing the final book of the 'PUNKS' saga shortly afterwards. I already have a working title, but I have plans to divulge it at the present time.

And when the 'PUNKS' trilogy is completed, who knows, maybe more fiction, or maybe I will delve more into the political and historical realm, possibly a biographical work of a person doing good works? I'm not sure, but the plan is to keep on writing.

Who or what was it that first introduced you to AllAuthor? What are your thoughts and opinions on it so far?

It was actually another writer and friend, Shelby Kent-Stewart who introduced me to AllAuthor in 2020, and I have been very pleased with their product. I especially like the Review GIF Maker, which has definitely helped my book receive some more attention than usual in the early stages since its release date. I would certainly recommend AllAuthor to a newwriter such as myself.

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      • Richard Cucarese Richard Cucarese 6 months ago
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      • In one word, hectic.
        My profession, which is as a Steelworker for the United States Steel Corporation (aka- U.S. Steel), is a very busy one, consisting of weekly, rotating shifts and many twelve to sixteen hour days. An eight hour day actually feels like a break and these are the days where I do take advantage of getting some writing accomplished!
        I also have to balance my life outside of work to conform around my family life, and with a wife and five children who are involved in many activities and sports, the time to write can be whittled down to a minimum.
        I am also very involved in activist causes and with my union, the United Steelworkers, as the Rapid Response Coordinator with USW Local 4889, in one of the most impoverished sections of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
        Still, all in all, I do find the time, in my off hours to get down to writing when my creative juices are flowing. Having a supportive family is also very helpful and necessary for me to achieve my goals, such as when I am writing a novel and series, such as 'PUNKS' or even writing about the political, economic and social issues of the day for the blog at usw.org or other publications who have featured my work.
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