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Tough newspaper guy sets new novel in Bayside

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Bayside once again is the backdrop for a fast-paced, gritty tale.

Last year, the film "Frequency " - about a policeman who contacts his long-dead firefighter father across time with a ham radio - familiarized a national audience with some of the streets and characteristics of Bayside.

Now, newspaperman Denis Hamill's new novel, "Fork in the Road," also highlights parts of Bayside (as well as nice helpings of Ireland neighborhoods) as it portrays a young American filmmaker seeking "aesthetic inspiration" in Ireland, his parents' homeland. Although the novel isn't particularly autobiographical, Hamill does draw on "my Irish-American roots," he said..

Hamill grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, but recently moved with his wife to Bayside. The neighborhood is intriguing, he said. "It has a suburban feel in a big city." And, "it has great saloons" - which are portrayed in the novel.

Hamill also just completed a screenplay based on his new book; the film is expected to be cast and go into production within a about a year, he said. Hamill said that someone like Julia Roberts would be great for the role of Gina Furey - the "stunningly beautiful, iron-willed denizen of Dublin's gypsy criminal underground," as the book jacket describes her - but he has no idea whether Roberts would be interested.

Hamill, currently a columnist for the Daily News, has authored five other novels - "House on Fire," "3 Quarters," "Throwing 7s," "Stomping Ground," and "Machine." He has been a columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner - in a city which, as many New Yorkers, he didn't like very much - the Boston Herald-American, and for New York magazine.

Many of his siblings are writers, too, and his daughter, Katie, seems to have similar DNA. She recently had a piece in the New York Times' "In the City" section about the gentrification of Park Slope, and she's now interning in the WPIX-TV news department.

Denis Hamill is scheduled to read from and sign his new book 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 at The Bayside Historical Society in .Fort Totten. For more information call 352-1548.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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