Vito Altavilla: “Know your subject”

Know your subject. — A knowledgeable reader will know if your knowledge of the subject written is true. All efforts on your behalf of a subject are nothing but trash if your knowledge is lacking. As part of my series about “How to write a book that sparks a movement” I had the pleasure of interviewing Vito Altavilla. […]

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Know your subject. — A knowledgeable reader will know if your knowledge of the subject written is true. All efforts on your behalf of a subject are nothing but trash if your knowledge is lacking.


As part of my series about “How to write a book that sparks a movement” I had the pleasure of interviewing Vito Altavilla.

The book “It Began In Brooklyn” written by author Vito Altavilla, started as a collection of stories told during his weekly social events with friends that — was never intended to become a book but has now proven its worth in the book market. The book is a fun and easy read that is a recollection of many of his life experiences, with the main goal being to make people feel good and hopefully make them laugh! He has even written a screenplay to accompany the book, and it is being talked about turning it into a television series.

Vito Altavilla was born in Brooklyn, New York. He became an industrial researcher who contributed to many technological breakthroughs. Now Vito is turning the page toward a writing career and is hoping to make a significant impact with his work.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the “backstory” about how you grew up?

A section of Brooklyn called Gerritsen Beach — basically a small village in a big town, where neighbors were often helpful whenever someone needed help. It was also a time when the worst insult you could call someone was a liar.

When you were younger was there a book that you read that inspired you? Can you share a story?

I loved to read as a child, it was my escape from the norm. My favorite author at that time was Jack London. His story of the dog “White Fang” “ Call of the Wild” during the gold rush in the Yukon — majesty of the land — hardships endured — surviving, etc. It was the book that told me I was not going to spend the rest of my life in Gerritsen Beach.

What was the moment or series of events that made you decide to bring your book to the greater world? Can you share a story about it?

The whole idea of writing a book came about because of my Friday breakfast meetings with friends from church. It was always a fun time. Someone would tell a funny story from the past or a more humorous incident from the previous week. I always seemed to have more stories than anyone else. That was when someone suggested I write a book, which I did.

What impact did you hope to achieve when you wrote this book?

My primary concern in writing this book was whether the reader would find my stories as humorous as I did writing them. I wanted the reader to have a good time with his/her mind.

Did the actual results align with your expectations? Can you explain?

The response from readers more than aligned with my expectations. Independent reviews were very positive and when personally approached by a reader it was always with a smile. That’s when I began to think that I just might have something special.

What moment let you know when your book started a movement? Please explain.

I sincerely doubt if my book started any movement. I do know that my book will make you smile. This is a book about a more innocent time when some everyday occurrence became more humorous with the passage of time.

What kind of things did you hear right away from your readers? What are the most frequent things you hear from readers about your book now? Are they the same? Different?

The most common response from my readers was: “I’m smiling on almost every page”, “ and “It’s a fun read.” It’s been like that from the start and hasn’t stopped.

What is the most moving or fulfilling experience that you have had as a result of this book? Can you share a story?

The most moving and fulfilling experience that I have had is the realization that people are genuinely enjoying reading the book. That’s a very powerful feeling.

Have you experienced anything negative?

I have yet to hear a negative response.

Can you articulate why you think books in particular have the power to create movements, revolutions, and change?

Reading can stimulate a person’s mind like no other. While reading you are in concert with its message going directly into your brain and that’s powerful. It also explains why the works of writers long gone are still with us. I guess the best examples of this is Shakespeare and the Bible.

What is the one habit you believe contributed to becoming a great writer? Ie. Perseverance, discipline, craft study. Can you share an example?

To begin with, I do not consider myself a great writer. However, being in research and development of different projects during my professional life necessitated discipline and perseverance. Those words personify any success no matter what the subject.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from? Can you share the lesson(s) you learned?

My primary challenge in writing this book was overcoming self-doubt. I had never written a book before. Over time, perseverance gave me the confidence to complete the book

Many aspiring authors would like to make an impact similar to what you have done. What are the 5 things writers need to know to spark a movement with a book? Please include a story or example for each.

1. Know your subject. — A knowledgeable reader will know if your knowledge of the subject written is true. All efforts on your behalf of a subject are nothing but trash if your knowledge is lacking.

2. Know your audience. — As an example, I can’t imagine trying to communicate with your audience where your subject is a humor and their interest is Einstein’s theory of relativity — I guess they went in the wrong room.

3. Tell the truth. — I believe the truth has a certain “ring” to it, but so do lies. Sometimes you can actually physically feel it.

4. Don’t be influenced by family and friends. — It’s almost automatic, their objective is to make you feel good for your efforts.

5. Don’t worry about mistakes (typos, etc.). Stay focused, fix them later. — The moment you stop writing and look for mistakes you’ll lose your train of thought. Focus on your writing.

The world of course needs progress in many areas. What moment do you hope someone (or you) starts next? Can you explain why this is so important?

I think progress in any area starts with the knowledge of cold hard facts of the situation, without political bias. You cannot accomplish solving any situation if it is riddled with misinformation. You simply don’t know where to start. Brutal honesty is paramount. If this were done this world would be a better place.

How can readers follow you on social media?

Readers can follow me on FaceBook, Google, Amazon, etc. I would also recommend that they check my web page — itbeganinbrooklyn.com — and, of course, my publisher — Bookbaby.

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