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.
ABOUT I WANT TO HELP: MY STORY ABOUT CANCER, DEPRESSION AND GOD
Tom Laresca lived an average life in a quiet American town: a good job as a stock trader, a wife, a family, a beautiful home. Then in 2001, his life changed.
While living in Boca Raton, Florida, Laresca explains, “I was wrongly arrested and abused by the police. I had been an athlete in high school and college, and had never been in trouble with the law before or since in my professional career as a stock trader. I was put into intensive care, due mainly to being maced for thirty minutes while being pinned down, handcuffed and hogtied. These events all happened in front of my own home in an exclusive gated community.”
Following the assault, Laresca says his main focus was to get the charges against him dropped. “For years, I spent time and money on lawyers to make this happen. The police wanted me to sign a pre-trial intervention (PTI) document, which would make the charges go away but with me assuming part of the guilt. But I didn’t want to do that; I wanted them to admit what they did. I spent years fighting the PTI. Even though the charges finally went away, I never found out what happened, and the police were never questioned or investigated. This all took lots of time and money, and I had to miss work.”
During this period, Laresca was diagnosed with cancer in three parts of his body and faced the grim possibility that he might only have three months to live. After his treatment and recovery, he then fought a battle with depression.
“Something told me to write about it.” he says. “I wrote the book in one night, sent it out to publishers, and went with the first publisher who answered.”
The book, I WANT TO HELP: MY STORY ABOUT CANCER, DEPRESSION, AND GOD, is a tiny book which, as Laresca says, “is written with the sole purpose of helping others overcome any struggles they may be going through. Not that everyone will go through something as severe as I did, but I believe that most people at some time are struggling with something.”
“The book begins with me learning I had been diagnosed with cancer in three parts of my body. I recount what it felt like to receive the news from my doctor, coupled with the grim possibility that I may have three months to live. I talk about my hospital stay, my fight to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, but most of all spiritually.
“Next, I tell of going through chemotherapy treatments and on to recovery, only to be brought down by what I can only say was crippling depression. I go on to thank God for getting me through all this. Because the truth is that God brought me through it all, and He is waiting to help you with anything you are going through.”
Laresca remembers that as a child, he read Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. “There were two things that stuck with me: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ and ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ Those helped me through everything, and I use this [philosophy] every day.”
At twenty pages, I WANT TO HELP: MY STORY ABOUT CANCER, DEPRESSION, AND GOD is so short, Laresca says, because he worked long hours, had three kids, and not a lot of time. Still, he adds, people who have read it tell him that it’s helped them in some way, and that he’s heard that grownups have given the book to their children.
These days, Tom Laresca is much more relaxed, especially now that he’s written the book. “If reading it can help just one person,” he says, “I’ll be happy.”
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Thomas. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
I am published for the first time.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
I chose small press, I sent out a one-page synopsis to some publishers and I chose the first one who responded because I believe my message is important and I wanted it out soon as possible.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
It took about a year and a half to get published.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It feels pretty cool to be published I never thought I would write a book. I haven’t celebrated yet only when it achieves what I set out to do will I celebrate and that is when it helps others. Also I will celebrate when it helps me get the truth out, that I was dead and I know what death is like.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I hired an excellent publicist Charles Barrett he has gotten me on several radio shows to discuss my book and that has been a blast. He has also gotten my book to be reviewed by top book reviewers favorably I may add thank God.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I have taken what I do more seriously and try to devote more time to things such as this. I believe my message can help others so I want it to do whatever is necessary to get it out there.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
It is a lot more work than I thought and there is a lot more to it then just writing the book.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
The most rewarding thing about being published is the feedback. I have had parents tell me they thought the book was very helpful and handed it to their children and it has opened lines of communication between them. It has been surprising how many people that have confided in me things that they are going through now that they have read this. That is great because no one should suffer alone as I did with depression there is a way out and this book tries to show how I did it.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
I wish you all the luck possible and to go for it dreams do come true. Thank you for your time God Bless you all.