Hero Character Interview By Karen Docter

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Hero Character Interview ~ Jake Stefani, 

1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
My full name is Giacobbe Marcos Stefani, but only my traditional Italian mother insists on using it, usually when I’m doing something that provokes her. Giacobbe is Italian for Jacob. My friends call me Jake.

2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?
My best friend is my partner, Ramón. We both joined S.W.A.T. a year ago and ride together when we’re on regular shift. When we’re not working…well, I’m always at the precinct or training in some way. I don’t have much to go home to, but Ramón is married to the love of his life and has four children. They’re great about inviting Uncle Jake to do family things with them.

I recently bunked in their basement for four months after my ex-girlfriend kicked me to the curb. I only hang with Ramón at work now that I’m moving into my new house. I’m too busy unpacking, remodeling, and getting to know my luscious new neighbor, Carrie, and her eight-year-old son, Eric.

3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life you consider family? How do you get along?
I’m Italian, but I don’t have a huge family in the States. My dad died shortly after I graduated from the academy. I’m Mama’s only child and sometimes that can be a pain, especially since she’s determined to marry me off so I can start making all the bambinos she wants. She’s traditional and has definite ideas about her duties...and mine...to the family name.

But, I love her. She lives about an hour and a half away since I moved to Riverton, Colorado seven years ago to work in the same precinct as my Uncle Jules. It’s just enough distance to keep her from showing up with potential wife material, not that she doesn’t sideswipe me occasionally. Mama’s set her heart on my ex-girlfriend. I’ve yet to convince her it’s over, that I’m pursuing my own woman who, luckily enough, lives two doors down across the street.

When I joined the Riverton Police, my uncle wasn’t my superior. Now, he’s my captain. We’re close but work at keeping our personal and professional lives separated. My uncle isn’t Italian. He met Mama’s sister when she came to the States for my parents’ wedding. He was my dad’s Best Man as well as his partner. I have two cousins my age, Gino and Lorenzo. We spent a lot of time together growing up, camping and fishing.

The rest of the Mazzotti-Stefani family lives in Italy. I met a bunch of them several years ago when I took Mama there for my great-grandfather’s funeral. Just thinking of going back makes me shake in my boots. If I thought Mama was bad with her incessant matchmaking, she is a neophyte compared to the rest of them. There were more single women at my great-grandfather’s funeral than lived in the nearest four villages. I won’t go back there again until I’m safely married with half a dozen kids in tow!

4. Do you have a secret? If so, who do you need to keep the secret from and why?
I don’t normally keep secrets. However, I do have one I’m keeping from Carrie until she gets to know me better. She knows I’m a police officer. After all, I did bring her son home after I captured him in my backyard making mischief. But she’s got a bad history with cops, especially S.W.A.T. cops. I need to work on her perception of my uniform before I spring on her that I’m also S.W.A.T. like the officer who killed her husband. Once she accepts my uniform, I’m confident she’ll get past the rest.

5. Look down. Describe what you’re wearing. Is this the way you’re normally dressed? If not, what do you normally wear?
I’m on vacation so I’ve hung my police uniform in the closet for the duration. It’s what I wear when I’m on shift. You caught me in the middle of my house renovation. I’m stripping wallpaper off the walls in one of the spare bedrooms. Why anyone would hang wallpaper on Spanish stucco is beyond me!

Anyway, I’m wearing my favorite jeans, a faded black t-shirt with chunks of wallpaper paste and dust, and tennis shoes. Hmm, one is loosely tied. I’d better tighten it up before I climb back up that ladder.
I’ll wear black jeans, a blue cotton shirt, and my black leather moto jacket tonight when I take Carrie out to dinner.

6. If you had to make me a meal right now, without going to the store, what would you find in your refrigerator to feed us?
I’ve been living in Ramón’s basement for months and taking on more than a few double shifts, so I’ve been eating out a lot. I’ve only been in my house three weeks so my kitchen is bare. I make a mean ravioli when I have time to stock up my freezer. Come back in a few weeks.
If you’re really hungry, we could drive to Mama’s house in Colorado Springs. It’ll take us an hour and a half, but it will be worth the drive. She always makes plenty of her famous spaghetti and meatballs. She loves to feed friends and family.

Um, you’re already married, right?