When the historians look back on the town of Weehawken, NJ they’re going to note two tragedies that resulted in a creative tsunami of epic proportions. The first involved Alexander Hamilton, and led to the play, “Hamilton.” The second involved me, Tom Starita and resulted in, “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated.”
Back in February of 2013 I was living in Weehawken and if my life was a rock band I would have been Dire Straits. The week of Valentine’s Day I was diagnosed with approximately 9 strains of the flu. This presented somewhat of a challenge since I was living alone so I decided to hibernate and not die.
That’s exactly what happened.
Come late Friday night I woke up and I was starving. Starving isn’t even the word for it. I was, “alone on an island and don’t know how to fish” hungry. I made my way to the kitchen and remembered I hadn’t gone food shopping in at least a week and a half. I must have opened every door and drawer and my options were baking soda and ice tea. All right, not ideal but I’m in New Jersey, there are diners every five feet, I’ll just drive to one.
That’s when I looked out the window and noticed ten inches of snow.
I was snowed in with no food, no options, no prospects, no hope and that’s when Lucas James came peeking out of my imagination to introduce himself. I ran to the computer and started typing, and I kept typing every day until I finished telling his story.
2. Do you feel you have a personal connection with any of the characters?
People often ask me if Lucas James is really me, which makes me wonder if they think I’m a psychopath! Lucas James was literally the only reason why I got out of bed for a long time, so I’ll always be thankful he showed up. He’s also the ultimate cautionary tale of what happens when a person allows his Id to run rampant.
4. The book’s description ends with “Is ‘growing up’ just another way of saying ‘selling out’ “. Is this something you have believed?
Nope. When I started writing this book I had no idea of a plot, or an ending or anything else except I knew his voice. I also knew that I wanted to write someone irredeemable and be out front about that and see if I can still convince the reader to like him/root for him. That tag line expressed his viewpoint on life perfectly and should be a red flag for anyone wondering what kind of person/character this is!
I knew I had something when my mom emailed me to say that she didn’t want to like this book but she did. Mission accomplished.
5. So, what is your plan after this book? Will you continue to focus on writing fiction books?
I’m actually shopping my third book now. It’s called, “Total BS (bedtime stories)” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Quick and easy stories for adults to read before bed, or in the bathroom or while commuting on the Staten Island Ferry. They’re weird and funny, and sometimes a little dark as well! And I think there are at least ten of them that could be developed into a movie—but that’s a different conversation!
6. Tell me something random about yourself
I once heckled Paul Anka at the blackjack table at Foxwoods casino. I think the line that cut the deepest was, “you’re no Billy Joel.”
For the record I’m not a Billy Joel fan—although “Downeastern Alexa” is a fun song to sing to.
7. If you were in a life and death karaoke contest what song would you sing?
Great question! Either Bryan Adams, “Summer of 69” or Journey, “Any Way You Want It”
8. Should I buy your book?
Another great question. After careful consideration I’d have to say yes, yes you should.
9. Does this mean that, “Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated” is the best book ever written by a guy from Staten Island, NY who now resides somewhere else?
Admittedly I might be a little biased but yes it is.
10. Worst owners in professional sports?
That’s easy, the Wilpons.
Let’s Go Mets!