Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Joe Montaperto - The Edge of Whiteness - Author Interview

My thanks to Joe Montaperto for stopping by Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways for an author interview about his book, The Edge of Whiteness.

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title because growing up and then moving from a close knit Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, to a lily-white New Jersey suburb in 1970 (and looking Puerto Rican), I felt like I never really fit in with the locals. Then when the racial integration of our high school happened and I was kind of in between the black kids and the white kids, I literally felt on "the edge of whiteness".

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, I think the message is that no matter how hard it is at times, you have to take a stand in your situation, and also open up to different cultures and races because you never know what changes it will bring to your life.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Well, just about all of it, considering it is a memoir. The incidents didn't follow in the exact same sequence in real life that they did in the book, some were moved around to keep the story moving, a couple of events were slightly exaggerated, one or two of the events happened while I was with different people, a couple of the characters were composites, and all the names were changed, but the book followed a very real situation of a very important period in this country's history.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Honestly, I probably wouldn't change anything. It was as true as I can remember form the perspective of a 15 year old.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Well, it was my first book, I had never written one before, I wrote it over a five year period on a stack of notebooks big and small, that I carried around with me in a plastic bag while I went back and forth from New York to Ecuador. Peru, Colombia and an island off Vancouver, British Columbia. I was doing a lot of soul searching and spending alot of time in the Amazon, had no computer/technological skills at all, and no back up for my notebooks, and once, one of my notebooks got stolen from an internet cafe in Quito, Ecuador, and I had to rewrite the whole chapter or two from memory. Then when i was finally finished writing, I had to make sense of five years worth of different notebooks, and give them to a couple of guys to try to type up. one of the guys, Paul Olsen, really saved me, going above and beyond the call of duty and practically editing the whole book.

6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing the book was such an emotional experience for me, I would always write in diners and particularly Panera in Hoboken, New Jersey, and would often find myself tearing up while I was writing it. I really learned to forgive those people in my book, and myself, too.

7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Well, I was a comedian and performance artist in New York in the 1980's ( I wrote and performed my own characters), had been in acting school and performed plays before that, so I was always writing. i always had a journak since I was a teenager. Then I wrote a screenplay in the early 90's, but the real writing for me was when I wrote and perfomed four divergent characters in my one man show, Four Degrees Of Disconnection, which I performed in theaters all over the New York City area for years in the late 90's - 2000. That set the tone for the book.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are so many authors that I love, particularly memoir authors, Nick Flynn and Junot Diaz come to mind at the moment. Probably the one that had the most profound effect on me, though, was The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

9. Tell us your latest news.
Well, the really exciting news is that my book has recently been optioned for a screenplay and is being shopped around New York/LA as we speak for a production company!

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would love it if people could take a look at mu book, I believe they would find it both really humorous, very edgy, compelling, and kind of sad all at the same time. A history lesson about those days from a first hand perspective for younger people, and a reminder of that time for people of that era.

About the Book
The Edge of Whiteness

Book Details:
Genre: Memoir

Paperback Publisher: self-published/CreateSpace
Ebook Publisher: Oak Tree Press
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Pages: 348
Format: paperback & ebook
Price: $12.60 paperback & $5.95 Kindle
Buy Link:
Amazon, Kindle

1969 - as Brooklyn smolders in the aftermath of the past summer's race riots, the family of young Joey Montaperto flees their beloved Italian neighborhood to start anew in a painfully white New Jersey suburb.

Ironically, the high school there is then later forcefully integrated and the sensitive Joey is confronted with another brutal racial conflict. When he is unexpectedly rescued from a hallway ambush by a murderous yet artistic loner however, he subsequently is introduced to an exciting new world of hip black culture. Finding his soul and "soul" in the writings of Malcolm X, he also experiences a doomed first love with a sizzling but heroin plagued Puerto Rican hairdresser, and finally a spiritual foray into the teachings of Islam. This, of course, creates a major conflict within his Catholic family and the local Mafia restaurant he is employed at.

About the Author
Joe Montaperto

Joe Montaperto, a native of Brooklyn, studied acting and improv in New York, graduating to stage and film work before embarking on the comedy circuit in the edgy, crack riddled New York City of the 1980’s.He later applied his training to his one man show, Four Degrees of Disconnection, performing in theaters in and around the city in the 90’s before burning out and heading to the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle for some serious soul searching. An avid traveler and spiritual seeker, Joe also prides himself on having lived in some of the worst places in the world, and still thoroughly enjoys making prank phone calls. The Edge of Whiteness is his first book.

Connect with Joe
Web Site

1 comment:

  1. Virginia CaballeroMarch 22, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Hey Joe :-) I can't wait to read it. Congrats on your success!!! I would love your autograph lol no really I would :-)