I grew up seven miles outside of Boston, in the Lake, a small blue-collar enclave of a larger city, Newton. Lake dwellers were pretty evenly divided between Italian and Irish-Americans, with a soupcon of French-Canadians. There was no actual Lake in the Lake. The original had dried up and all that remained during my childhood was a green-slicked puddle on the site of a factory. All the Italians in the Lake had migrated from the same southern mountain village, San Donato Val di Comino. My mother and father were both Italian immigrants, but my mom was an outsider, from Sulmona, Abruzzo. My dad owned a small workingman’s bar, Leone’s Café. I went to Catholic school for twelve years. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a saint, a reporter and a cowboy. I didn’t become a saint, but I married a cowboy and sometimes I write for the Boston Globe. I’ve written a bunch of screenplays, and sold some of them, but I’m unproduced. I think it’s because none of them have explosions (but all of them have women in the lead roles). I was also lucky enough to play Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher’s mother, on HBO’s The Sopranos for four seasons. I live in a small town on the south shore of Massachusetts with my husband, Chris Cooper, and two rescue dogs, Lucky and Frenchy. KNOWING JESSE is about my son, whose luminous presence expanded and transformed everything else in my universe. I wrote the book to celebrate his life, to deal with his death, and to share him with others.