Interview with author Al Esposito
“We may have our share of disagreements and arguments, but at the core, love always prevails.” – Al Esposito.
Jukebox Mind recently got a chance to interview author Al Esposito. We got insights into his book, his writing process, and much more.
My family moved to Commack, NY in 1961. It was a flourishing suburb on Long Island with new families moving in and new construction everywhere. It was an exciting time to be a child.
Commack was a small, tight-knit community with a mix of farmland and residential neighborhoods. It was where many families, of different cultures, moved to escape city life. It was fertile ground for the vivid narrative about family, community, and friendship.
Freddy and his journey are loosely based on my life and the richness of my Italian American family. I was blessed to be raised in a village and I wanted to share that experience through the eyes of Freddy. I drew much of Freddy’s experiences from my life. My Nonna passed away when I was 3. I used my vivid memory of her to create the story and Freddy’s narrative as I imagined it would be had she lived until I was 14.
The complexities of the mother-son relationship were very loosely based on my experiences. My mother was, without question, the matriarch of our home. She had a fierce loyalty and protection for her family. Her life was shaped by events she witnessed as the youngest of 7 and her dedication to her mother. This drove her to want the best for her family. I wove this desire with the Nonna Freddy relationship and the struggle for control. Ultimately Mother and Son want the same thing. How they get there drives the dynamic of their relationship and the story.
I started by posting photographs, from my life, around my writing area. Images from Little Italy, Harlem, NY in the 1940s and ’50s. Images of my extended family. Images of my Nonna. Images of Commack, NY in the 1960s. I then created a timeline of my family’s relocation to the suburbs and my experiences growing up. With that in place, I added my Nonna to the journey and started to write. I write in what I call “sprints”. Each sprint is 2 hours a day. I just write no editing and no corrections of any kind. I let the story pour out of me. My goal is 1,000 words a day. I chart my progress against my goals each day and each week I make note of what went well with my writing, what blockers impeded my goals, and what changes I need to make. I wrote the first draft of “No More Tears for Nonna” in 100 days, 97,000 words. During that time, I edited nothing. I put the story down for 2 weeks, not reading it, just taking a break from the process. I start editing after the 2 weeks with the same approach, using sprints, 2 hours each day.
I hope readers get the message that it truly takes a village to raise a child and understand the beauty and comfort of being part of an Italian American family. We may have our share of disagreements and arguments, but at the core, love always prevails. Forgiveness and reconciliation are essential values within the family, ensuring that love remains at the forefront of our relationships. The love of an Italian American family is a beautiful tapestry woven with strong bonds, deep traditions, and an unwavering commitment to one another. It is a love that is loud, passionate, and ever-present.
The author that I admire most is Nelson DeMille. He has novels that take place around New York City and Long Island, Cathedral, Gold Coast, and Plum Island. Each novel is different and his ability to use these settings and write such diverse stories is something I hope to achieve. He did not repeat a character until the introduction of Detective John Corey in Plum Island. The John Corey novels are truly inspiring. The wide net of his work from Charm School to The Generals Daughter to The Cuban Affair is genius.
I also admire biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin. Although a biographer her work takes the reader on a journey equal to any great work of fiction. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is truly a masterpiece.
About the author: Al Esposito, a native of Brooklyn, NY, and a proud product of Long Island’s Commack, NY, carries a rich Italian American heritage that profoundly influences his work. With a deep desire to pay homage to his roots and preserve cherished traditions, Al infuses his writing with a delightful blend of warmth, humor, and drama derived from his upbringing. His unique ability to capture the essence of vivid characters and the events that shaped his life lends his work a genuine depth and authenticity, captivating readers from start to finish. Al’s literary journey takes flight with his debut novel, “No More Tears for Nonna.” This poignant and heartfelt book marks the beginning of a promising career, as Al masterfully weaves a tale that resonates with readers on a profound level. With an impeccable balance of emotion, nostalgia, and a touch of Italian charm, Al Esposito crafts a story that stays with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
“No More Tears for Nonna” is a heartwarming tale that will resonate with readers of all genres. Set in Commack NY, in the late 1960s, this inspirational novel takes us on a journey through the vivid memories of young protagonist Freddy, who longs to escape the clutches of his domineering mother and to look to a brighter future. Freddy learns valuable lessons about love, loss, and the power of family through his relationship with his beloved grandmother, Nonna.