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[re doing things with his grandmother growing up in the Bronx] I remember going to the movie theaters, to see triple-feature horror films with her. I was 9 or 10, and everyone else in the audience was from my age up to maybe 16. These were tough, hard-core street kids, my grandmother being the only person who was old enough to vote in the entire theater, and she would stand up and start shouting ...
He said growing up in the Bronx, he doubted he would ever be able to write about his own neighborhood because nobody would be interested. What changed his mind was reading the novel "Last Exit To Brooklyn" by Hubert Selby Jr.
That taught him he could write about anywhere. He published his first novel about where he grew up in 1974 called "The Wanderers".