Joseph Gangemi was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1970. An early love of science fiction took him to the Clarion Writers Workshop in 1986, where he was the youngest attendee in the workshop's history. Shortly thereafter he made his first professional sale, publishing a short story in the speculative fiction anthology Full Spectrum II.
Gangemi graduated from Swarthmore, a small Quaker liberal arts college outside Philadelphia, with a degree in psychology. His friend Jon Cohen, a Swarthmore native and novelist, approached him about collaborating on a screenplay. The partnership produced Crossover, a thriller about a team of vampire heart surgeons, which was subsequently optioned by Interscope Films. Several solo screenplays followed, resulting eventually in the 1997 spec sale of Black Ice to New Line Cinema. Now screenwriting full-time, Gangemi worked on open writing for Warner Brothers. The film Wind Chill, for which he wrote the screenplay, was released in 2007.
Gangemi's ongoing interest in unexplored footnotes in history has lead to him writing -- over ten intense months of 2002 -- his first novel. Inamorata was published in 2004. Set in 1920s Philadelphia, and featuring a cast of skeptical graduate students, morphine addicts, beguiling spirit-mediums, sadistic gynecologists, peg-legged Filipino butlers, and a talkative ghost (who bites), Inamorata takes place only a few blocks from the Rittenhouse Square home where he previously lived.
This biography was last updated on 12/04/2010.
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Joseph Gangemi discusses the story behind his first book, Inamorata
"A few years ago, while browsing in the gift shop of Philadelphia's
White Dog Café, I came across Peter Washington's book MADAME BLAVATSKY'S
BABOON: A HISTORY OF THE MYSTICS, MEDIUMS, AND MISFITS WHO BROUGHT SPIRITUALISM
TO AMERICA (Schocken, 1993). What was one of the city's premiere restaurants
doing selling books on the occult? Turns out the White Dog occupies an old row
house that was home at one time to the colorful Madame Blavatsky (1831 -
1891)... Russian emigré, rumored spy, and founder of the occult religion
As a fan of obscure history I bought the book, and over the next few days delighted in Washington's cast of colorful Victorian oddballs. I had recently sold an original screenplay set at the turn of the century, and I was casting about, in the daydreamy, directionless way I do between projects, for good topics for a follow-up period piece. I began toying with the idea of a fictionalized retelling of the life of 20th Century occult guru Krisnamurti, and was just starting to dig a little deeper into the history of Spiritualism when I came across a footnote that stopped me in my tracks.
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