Rockland-native author promotes trilogy set in Ramapo

To say author and Rockland native Gil Roscoe has seen it all would be little exaggeration. Born in Nyack and raised in Monsey, the nine-book novelist and current Hollywood Bowl usher spent the early years of his adulthood in an array of professions all around the world, working as a tree trimmer, VISTA volunteer, bank employee, plumber, fight promoter for Mike Tyson and substitute teacher, as well as writing in New Zealand.

After tragically losing his father and brother in a plane crash over the Grand Canyon when he was 18 years-old, Roscoe decided early that he wanted to live a life of adventure.

“Shortly after (the crash), I started thinking that I wanted to have a life full of experiences, and do different things,” Roscoe recalled. “And that’s pretty much what I’ve done with my life.”

A graduate of Cortland State’s Theatre Arts program, Roscoe began writing seriously for the theatre in the early 1980s. When he began to find this limiting, he took the advice of an artistic director turned mentor to adapt one of his journal entries into a novel—a note Roscoe described as “a magical thing to hear.” This inspired him to write the first book in the trilogy he now calls The Ramapo Companions, titled “Memory’s Son.”

Due to being busy with his work at the theater, as well as his post at a full-time job, this first novel—which was inspired by his time growing up in Ramapo and Rockland County—took him seven years to complete.

“When you write your first novel, you’ve got that little devil of a voice on your shoulder saying, ‘You’ll never be able to finish a novel, no one’s ever going to read it,’” Roscoe explained. “I had to fight that bugger…When I gave it to people to read, they accepted it as a regular novel. It had its criticisms and whatnot. But no one ever said I couldn’t write or ‘I don’t believe your dialogue.’ So then I just went on to the next one, and I’ve been writing ever since.”

Inspired by the work of English writer Thomas Hardy, Roscoe decided to set his next novel, “Listening to the Sun,” in Ramapo as well, but with an entirely different set of characters. His writing of the trilogy was interrupted when Roscoe took a break to write “Company of Thieves,” his first novel published by Kensington Books in 2001 that achieved a degree of commercial success. However, he returned to The Ramapo Companions years later, finishing the series with “Turn Around Sunday.”

For the rest of his novels—including the tenth, which Roscoe is writing now—he uses the self-publishing company BookBaby, which distributes his books to e-book companies. They are currently available on websites such as Amazon and ThriftBooks.

When asked what advice he would give to young people considering a career in writing, Roscoe emphasized the importance of filling one’s life with adventure.

“To someone who may be thinking about becoming a writer, you have to fill your life with different experiences,” said Roscoe. “That’s been my experience. I continually call on people I’ve met, situations and jobs I’ve had. I tried to have a lot of different experiences, and that sort of led me to becoming a writer…I’ve gotten myself in so many weird and odd situations that I just wanted to tell stories about them.”

Book 1 of The Ramapo Companions trilogy.

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