Novelist Returns to Scene of the Drive

Bradley Spinelli. (Courtesy photo)

More than 20 years ago, Bradley Spinelli got his professional writing start publishing articles for People Newspapers while working as the delivery driver for Uptown People.

In November, he returned to Dallas for a reading of his most recent novel, The Painted Gun.

“Dallas is the first city that was truly ‘mine,’” Spinelli said. “Writing-wise, my first two novels were set in Dallas. That’s where I found my voice.”

In his 1990s, San Francisco-based thriller, David “Itchy” Crane is hired to crack the case of a missing girl. The only clue: a portrait of Crane himself painted by the missing girl, whom he never recalls meeting.

“The characters are all made up, with perhaps one minor exception,” Spinelli said. “But the location is deeply relevant.

“My family is from south San Francisco,” he said. “That’s the whole cloth of that book. The stitching is invented, but the fabric is real.”

Spinelli, who has two other soon-to-be published novels and a screenplay in the works, explained that becoming a writer was more of an evolution than a decision.

“I was an actor, but I wanted to be more involved,” he said. “My directing professor at SMU, Lou Salerni, taught an acting class for seniors, and I wrote and performed a 30-minute monologue — that was my first serious piece. Then I read Tropic of Cancer and decided to write a book.”

Spinelli said only to pursue writing as a career if it’s a die-hard passion.

“It’s extremely difficult to make a living as a writer — in journalism, fiction, screenwriting, etc.,” he said. “So only go for it if you literally can’t not do it.”

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