A Novel Life

Victoria Gotti's Found Fame As A Writer

If she keeps working, Victoria Gotti may one day be as well-known as her father. But she has chosen a different line of work. 48 Hours Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports on this independent, but very loyal, daughter.

Victoria Gotti's father, of course, is John Gotti, the infamous Mafia crime figure, known as the Dapper Don. He is serving a life sentence in a maximum security federal prison in Marion, Ill.

His daughter is about to publish her fourth novel. While Victoria Gotti, 37, is trying hard to make a name for herself as a novelist, she remains extremely loyal to her family.

Photos of her father are all over her house, including many taken during his many trials. While it may be difficult to imagine John Gotti behind bars reading romantic novels, his daughter says her dad is her first and best critic. She and her father talk regularly, she says.

Victoria Gotti says that when she was growing up, her father was a disciplinarian. There were rules and regulations, particularly for dating.

"I don't think anybody back then would have been good enough for any of his children, especially the girls," she recalls.

But if her dad intimidated potential boyfriends, he appealed to her college girlfriends.

"I would get excited when the girls that I went to college were in love with him," she says. "They had massive crushes. They would sit outside my home, my parents' home, and I would come out and say 'let's go.' (They'd say,) 'Oh, a few minutes, we're going to hang around.'"

But growing up as a Gotti was also painful. Accused of running the country's largest organized crime family, her father went on trial for murder and racketeering.

In 1992, after her father was convicted, she angrily defended him: "The government's been on my father for six years. They haven't won anything," she said. "My father is the last of the Mohicans. They don't make men like him anymore; they never will."

Despite their close relationship, she says there are some things father and daughter never talk about. They don't talk about the crimes he was convicted of committing, she says.

She says she is not afraid to ask him, but doesn't wish to delve into certain topics.

"Let's say for argument's sake your parents had a perfect marriage," she says. "Or you thought so. And maybe your dad's not alive. You found an old box of letters. And it's indicative of the fact that he led a double life. Would you really need to know about it?"

"No. Because you know what happens: It changes the focus for you. So you stumbled across this box of letters you shouldn't have," she continues. "So you ask yourself, should I go and investigate? And the answer is quite simple: No. What's it going to do for you?"

"He's my father," she explains. "I love him. What more? What more?"

Victoria Gotti says that she doesn't enjoy notoriety. So why did she decide to be a writer, o why doesn't she use a pen name? Some say that the Gotti name in bold print is a draw: The same spotlight that brings unwanted scrutiny can also increase sales.

But Victoria Gotti doesn't think her last name has helped her, she says. In fact, when she was pitching her books, publishers at first weren't interested in her ideas, she notes.

Instead, they wanted her to write a tell-all book about her family, or a novel with a Mob setting.

But she wanted to write mysteries. And apparently her readers like what she has produced. Her first book, The Senator's Daughter, went through three printings. Her third book, Superstar, went through two printings. Her fourth, The Fifth Avenue Club should be out next year.

"It's been a long, long ride," she says. "And it's something that no one can take away. If I didn't work as hard as I do on my writing, on my books, then it might be undeserved. But I've worked hard to get here. I'm not coming with palms up."

But Victoria Gotti's troubles are not over.

Find out more in Gotti Daughter Fights For Family.

Or, return to the top of 48 Hours: The Legacy

(c) MMI, Viacom Internet Services Inc., All Rights Reserved