Welcome to the three hundred and sixty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with non-fiction memoir author Thomas ‘T’ Laresca. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Thomas. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Thomas: I am based in New York City here in the good old United States. I work as a foreign stock trader and have been on Wall Street for 25 years. I became a writer so that I could help people get through their struggles in life as I got through mine. Dealing with the possibility of having three months because cancer had spread to three parts of my body taught me a lot. Mostly about faith and God the same things I used to get through the terrible battle of depression. I know what I did will help others when faced with any trials or tribulations. The last thing that made me write this book was a night I was in intensive care fighting for my life. That night I experienced death and I tell what that was like. I know it sounds bizarre but what really makes it even more bizarre is that it came at the hands of the police, right in front of my own home. In my book I have included the lie detector test I took to help prove what I say about that night is true.
Morgen: Wow, what an experience. What genres do you generally write?
Thomas: Non-fiction. This book is the only book I have ever written.
Morgen: So far. 🙂 If applicable, can you remember where you first saw your book on the shelves?
Thomas: My book, ‘I Want To Help’ is just getting out there so I haven’t seen it on shelves yet.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Thomas: I have been doing radio talk shows about my book and that has been a real kick.
Morgen: I bet. I can talk for England but that sounds scary. I guess you just pretend you’re talking to just the interviewer and relax. Do you write under a pseudonym? Do you think they make a difference to an author’s profile?
Thomas: I just go under T. Laresca I was never crazy about my name Tom sounded too dull Tommy sounded like a kid plus my friends call me t
Morgen: Oh, I like Tom, but these days a lot of people go for non-gender names (I get called ‘Mr’ quite a lot :)). Is your book available as an eBook? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Thomas: Yes my book is available as an eBook it seems a lot easier for people to order. I honestly don’t read much other than the Bible.
Morgen: How did you feel when you had your book accepted?
Thomas: It was thrill to be accepted by a publisher then a publicist but the real thrill will be when people are helped and when the truth about the police from that night gets out. I feel then I will be able to help a lot more people because they will know what I say is the truth that know about death and God. Then hopefully people will listen when I tell them God loves you and waiting right there to help and heal you.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Thomas: No rejections yet so don’t reject me ok? LOL
Morgen: You’re here. 🙂 I’ve had to put a content warning on a couple of posts but I haven’t rejected anyone yet. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Thomas: I am not working on anything else right now this book is taking up a lot of time with radio shows and writing things such as this. With a full time job and a family I have my hands full.
Morgen: Ah yes, the old day job. Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Thomas: I don’t write everyday but lately I have been writing a lot more.
Morgen: I’m writing a story a day for http://storyaday.org (did it last May too) and it’s hard fitting it in but I’m going to keep going. In fact to make sure I do I’ve created a new feature on my blog called 5PM Fiction with a load of prompt (and I welcome suggestions :)) so I have to write a story and post it at 5pm daily. I’m great with deadlines. I’ve done NaNoWriMo four times (I only found out about it in August 2008) and when you have to do something you just find the time, don’t you. But then for me there’s little better than the creating process so it’s not a hardship but like most writers, I do tend to find things to do first, intentionally or otherwise. 🙂 What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it?
Thomas: I really haven’t had writers block before I write I read a chapter from the Bible then I pray a bit and ask for God’s guidance.
Morgen: A question some authors dread: where do you get your inspiration from?
Thomas: That’s easy I get my inspiration from God. I know God wants me to get his word out there his word is one of love, forgiveness and mercy. Actually that’s a few words, sorry, having a little fun with this.
Morgen: Please don’t apologise, it should be fun. 🙂 Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Thomas: My sons get a kick out of reading what I write I also show it to my family and co-workers they all have seemed to enjoy it.
Morgen: With the events behind it, I’m not surprised. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully formed?
Thomas: I usually don’t spend a lot of time editing I think you can drive yourself nuts over editing and changing things. I think you let it rip do the best you can and hope it comes out good.
Morgen: Absolutely. One of my Monday nighters (also a short story writer) admits to regularly spending a day tweaking a story only to spend the next day tweaking it back. I do three or four edits and let it go. Have you ever received feedback from your readers?
Thomas: I have received feedback that I am very proud of; I have had parents read my book and hand it to their kids I think that says a lot. Also kids have read it and given it to their parents it has helped open up lines of communication between them. I have also had numerous people tell about what they suffer from and that’s great because reaching out to someone when you are struggling is vital. It is terrible to go through things thinking you are alone in it.
Morgen: Wow. I’ve not met any of my readers but have received emails which is fantastic and I get excited every time Smashwords tells me of a review. I’ve only just put my eBooks on Amazon so no reviews yet but I live in hope. 🙂 What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Thomas: My process is simple I read a chapter from the Bible like tonight I read from the Gospel of John and once again it made me feel God’s love. Then I pray and ask for God’s guidance then let it rip.
Morgen: Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Thomas: I used to hate the computer I was a one-fingered typer but now I am getting better I am using two. It is much easier this way I guess it’s about time I caught up to the times.
Morgen: Like anything, it’s only practice. Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc. Do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Thomas: I need quiet to concentrate or my mind gets too distracted.
Morgen: Oh me too. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Thomas: I have other writings between me and God I think they’re just for me.
Morgen: What’s your favorite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Thomas: It takes up a lot of time but it is becoming more enjoyable because I am seeing results.
Morgen: Isn’t it great. If anything, what has been your biggest surprise about writing?
Thomas: Its a lot more work than I thought.
Morgen: It certainly is. 🙂 What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Thomas: Write from your heart and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or how you’ll come across just be true to yourself.
Morgen: I like that. What do you like to read?
Thomas: I love to read the Bible it has helped me in more ways than I can remember. I read a little book about positive thinking when I was young by Norman Vincent Peale it helped me mainly because it has two verses from the Bible that I repeated over and over till it stuck in my negative head and transformed me.
Morgen: Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Thomas: Oh yea the same two that were in his book from the Bible: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ and ‘if God is for us who can be against us?’
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Thomas: I love to play all sports and go to the gym with my wife and kids.
Morgen: That’s something you don’t see much of over here (but then I no longer belong to a gym) is a family going together. People usually go on their own after work. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Thomas: The best thing I know anyone can read is the New Testament if you want new times I beg you pick it up and read just one chapter a night five minutes that’s all it takes and you will see it will change your life forever like it did mine.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Thomas: You can go to http://iwanttohelp1225.com.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Thomas: For me as a writer I really not sure what the future holds I just try to follow God one step at a time and I know at the end it will all work for good.
Morgen: As long as you enjoy it. I can’t imagine doing anything else and it’s such a thrill when I know I’ve written something good (or that I like, anyway). If you could have your life over again, is there anything you’d have done differently (writing-related or otherwise)?
Thomas: I would have kept more pictures of myself when I had hair… sorry it’s getting late and I am getting silly. Really I would have probably liked to dedicate myself to just one sport to have had a better chance to be a professional. However I really have no regrets because this is where I am supposed to be in my life this is where God wanted me here to help others.
Morgen: I like silly. 🙂 Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Thomas: I think that about covers it all. Wait now that you mention it in order to help prove what I say is true I am willing to put up all the money from this book if one of those police officers can take and pass a lie detector test about that night this way I can prove what I say is true. How do you like that?
Morgen: There’s a challenge. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Thomas: What’d you think? Thank you for your time and God Bless you and Cheers!
Morgen: It was very inspiring, Thomas. You’re very welcome, thank you for taking part.
Tom Laresca lives in New York with his wife and three children. Currently working as a foreign stock trader, he attended college at St. John’s University. Laresca enjoys playing sports and weightlifting.
I Want to Help: My Story About Cancer, Depression and God is his first book. You can visit his website at http://iwanttohelp1225.com.
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