I strongly believe in the saying "Write what you know." And that is just what I did in writing my novel. I grew up in New Jersey in an Italian-American family and so the family of my novel is Italian-American and the setting is New Jersey. And although the characters are Italian-American and from New Jersey, they are much different than the cast of Jersey Shore or The Sopranos. Like many other Italian-Americans that come from the great state of New Jersey, I am tired of the negative stereotypical conceptions of us, as gangsters and morons, that have been created and nurtured by the media.
The Greco family are all highly educated for one thing. There is no mob affiliations here! In fact, Vince, the youngest child, is so politically correct that he won't set foot in the WalMart because he does not agree with their politics. The patriarch of the family, Frank, works as a courtroom judge. The matriarch is a college professor. The oldest son, Cosmo, studied astronomy at an Ivy League school. And the main character, Silvia, studied painting in art school which she attended on a full scholarship.
All in all, they are a lovable, quirky bunch of characters, all very unique and distinct from each other and all very different from how we are used to seeing Italian-Americans depicted.