Interview with humorous fiction writer Tom Starita

Author Tom Starita is chatting with me about his
new humor novel, Growth and Change Are
Highly Overrated.
Like the borough of Brooklyn,
Starita’s resumé is diverse ranging from teaching religion, Sales, working for
the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, and now helping foreign exchange students find
homes in America. “The common thread among all my jobs is having personal
experiences with a large cross section of America. The rationale behind
people’s decisions has always fascinated me, and writing allows me to carry
that to the most extreme level.”

Starita has made an impact on everyone
he encounters. When asked for her thoughts about him, Oprah Winfrey said,
“Who?” Tom Hanks refused to respond to an email asking for a quote
and former Mets great Mookie Wilson once waved to him from a passing taxi.

Originally from Staten Island, NY Starita has now found a home in the beautiful
beach community of Stratford, Connecticut where he remains a loyal fan of the
New York Mets.

Welcome, Tom. Please tell us about your current
The best way to do this is
to take it straight from Amazon:
Growth and Change Are Highly Overrated is a classic coming-of-age story that takes a unique
and comic look at what we all fear— having to grow up and abandon our dreams.
For a charismatic man like Lucas James, life is a breeze because everyone else
provides the wind. This man-child front man for a mediocre cover band has been
mooching off of his fiancée Jackie for years until she finally decides she’s
had enough. Faced with the reality of having no income to support his carefree
lifestyle, Lucas James abandons his principles and gets a job working in the
stockroom at, “That Store.” How does he cope with this new found sense of
responsibility? He casually steals… In a life spent bucking authority how
will Lucas James deal with his manager, ‘Victor the Dictator’? How long can he
survive Ralph, a starry-eyed coworker who desires nothing more than to be best
friends? Will Lori, a twenty-something cashier, be like everyone else and fall
for his charms? Will he ever find a place to live? And is “growing up” just
another way of saying “selling out?” With this hilarious and engaging novel,
author Tom Starita perfectly captures a character we have all met and perhaps
some of us know all too well.
What inspired you to write this book?
Did you ever have a bad
day? Like a really bad day? That was me, except my bad day lasted for six
months. It peaked (bottomed out) (careened off a cliff) in February 2013. I
came down with the flu. Not just the flu, bird flu mixed with swine flu. The
type of flu that gives you superpowers. My superpower was the ability to sleep
for days without eating.
On Saturday I finally
awoke from my flu induced coma and realized the day was already over. Not only
had the day passed but there was about 8 inches of snow outside my apartment in
the up and coming town of Weehawken, NJ.
It was too late to order
out, kitchens would be closed. And there was no way I could drive to a diner
since my car was buried under 80 feet of snow and I was in no condition to go
outside. So I went to the kitchen and figured I could cook something up and
survive until morning.
That’s when I realized
that supermarkets don’t randomly deliver food when you’re sick for an entire
week and living alone. I had no food. I didn’t even have like that sad 1970s cartoon
mouse looking to battle me for that last crumb on the floor.
And that’s when I realized
that I hit the floor below rock bottom. That’s when I also realized that this
would be a hell of a way to start a book. I dragged my flu ridden skeletal
corpse to my computer and that’s when I met Lucas James, the main character of
my book. He started talking and I started typing and he was pretty much the
only reason why I woke up for the next three months.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I decided in the early
hours of the New Year to do something stupid. Every day on Twitter I write a
quick 15-20 tweet story. I call them TwitterTales, and now I’m posting the old
ones on my Facebook author page as FacebookFables. They’re funny, random,
bizarre, weird, sentimental, not so sentimental and well worth the free price
of clicking “follow” on my Twitter.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first book was in the
fifth grade when I wrote “Mike Tyson Versus Shaka Zulu.” It was a major hit
amongst my classmates.
I guess the real answer is
the first time I held my first book, Two
Ways to Sunday
. Holding a book with my name on its cover is one of the
highlights of my life.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day
like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to
I wish I could write full
time. The ability to never hear another alarm clock go off, or have to wear
pants is a dream I’m striving to reach for every day. In the meantime, I have a
full time job that I try to do to the best of my abilities while stealing
company time to write a random story or do an interview for a prestigious blog!
The good thing about
working is being exposed to all sorts of people who say and do all sorts of
interesting things. Then I can come along and filter it through my own Tom
Starita lens and bingo bango I start typing.
Like I said earlier, I’m
writing my TwitterTales everyday. Most of the time while I’m lying in bed about
to fall asleep. Sometimes though I’ll tell my fiancée Shannon “I’ll be right
back” and disappear into my office for 20-30 minutes. That’s when I’ll open up
a new WORD doc and type a premise or a general idea or a couple of paragraphs.
It’s kind of like I’m a squirrel burying nuts for the winter.
I also want to personally
thank Steve Jobs for yelling and his employees, causing them to develop Notes
on the iPhone – probably while in a state of panic. That’s the one thing I
can’t lose because there is nothing better than waking up at 2:42 in the AM and
typing whatever fever dream I just had into Notes thinking it will be useful
two years from now.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes if the writing
is really good I’ll sit with both feet on the chair, in a kind of hunched over
primate position. I also like to say dialogue out loud. Now if I’m in my house
that’s not a problem, the folks here are used to my shenanigans. But if I’m out
in public, at a coffee shop or another place with free Wi-Fi then I try to
whisper, which only makes me look crazier.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an
announcer for the NY Mets. Or a bad guy wrestler. As I grew older I narrowed
that focus to doing a job where I could provoke a reaction from people, hence
me teaching for seven years.
Anything additional you want to share with the
Listen no pressure or
anything but I have a fiancée, a puppy named Lola and six kids, Gordon, Julia,
Gloria, Cecilia, Amelia, and Ben. We live in a one-bedroom apartment where the
electricity is only on for an hour a day and the running water comes from the
leak in the ceiling from the apartment above us. All we can afford to eat are
apple cores and the cookie part of an Oreo that bourgeois people throw away. If
you could find it in your heart to buy my book, either print or Kindle version
I would thank you. In fact, I would personally thank you by writing you a
heartfelt note but unfortunately I can’t afford ink and no one wants a note on
a paper towel written in blood.
So please buy my book. I
think Ben has scurvy and I really need to buy him oranges.
Thank you.

Thanks for being here today, Tom!

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