Debut author Lisa Racioppo will be launching her book ‘From Brooklyn and Back Again’ on Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 1 to 3 pm, at Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, NY. Lisa is a delight to know, and I recently sat down with her to chat about the book.
What inspired you to write what is essentially a memoir? I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. I have always loved to develop stories, and I realized, once I traveled outside of Brooklyn, New York, where I grew up, that my experiences were quirky, unique, and quite funny to others. As I told my stories, my friends, colleagues and clients encouraged me to put pen to paper and write my memoir. In addition, on a business trip in 2004, I traveled to Kansas during tornado season. I was stuck at an airport for quite a while, and, to pass the time, bought David Sedaris’ book, Me Talk Pretty One Day. I didn’t know anything about Sedaris at the time and wound up laughing out loud for the entire rest of the trip. Everyone on the plane wanted “whatever I was having.” So, you could say David inspired me to write my story. I thought to myself, “If David can write so openly about growing up in his family and the strange and hysterical events that took place, then I certainly could write about mine shamelessly and hopefully let others see humor through some challenging times.”
You have a full plate with two boys and a full-time job. How do you do it and when do you find the time to write? Time has never been my friend nor on my side. That being said, I wrote the bulk of this book during my travels for work and time apart from my family. However, time spent adding all of the nuances as well as the initial self-editing, which takes quite a bit of time, was carved out in spurts when the kids were sleeping, while I was commuting, or any free moment that I could carve out. When you are passionate about writing or anything that you love to do, it’s important to make the time because it is this passion that is fuel for the soul.
How would you describe the book? From ‘Brooklyn and Back Again’ depicts a series of unique experiences that crystallize not only the character of 1970’s Brooklyn, but shows how those experiences proved to be transformative, sowing the seeds for life lessons that I was able to tap into later when I needed them. They became the bedrock for not only a successful career in business but for being a jumping off point for finding the courage to go in search of a better life, period, when I saw that the one I was in wasn’t working as well as it could. The Brooklyn girl in me had fun providing the reader with glimpses into the art of junkyard sports, opposite side of the street parking, and the many intricacies of just plain living on the block. I’ve written the book in a way that hopefully captures a variety of snapshots of the eclectic lifestyle moments I’ve experienced, many from a by-gone Brooklyn, others from my numerous travel experiences. I’ve tried to make the scenes funny, yet also provocative with frankness and as much sincerity as I could muster. I hope chapters such as ‘Encounters with the Police Precinct,’ ‘Trips Through the Graveyards of Savannah,’ and ‘Being Safe in Sweden’ will intrigue the reader and provoke a desire to learn more about my journeys – both actual and in search of a better life and lifestyle.
Who is your target audience? While I hope that the stories in the book have a universal appeal, on a certain level, the areas of special interest would be to those: who live, have lived, or have grown up in Brooklyn; those approaching life changes who are looking for a message of hope and empowerment; those with an interest in the spiritual and/or psychic world; those with an interest in travel; and, those interested in the world of advertising – a broad spectrum, I think!
What do you want readers to glean from reading this memoir? That coming from a humble past can be a strength and an asset when you approach life with humor, an open heart and determination to succeed!