After reading Hazardous Choices by Joseph Rinaldo, I just had to learn more about the author. This was the first book I had read pertaining to gangs and Joseph Rinaldo certainly knew how to spin a tale. I'm sure what he wrote is an accurate portrayal of life in some areas and it's truly sad and disheartening how the human life can come to ruin in such a way.
Thankfully, Joseph was more than willing to answer a few questions for me as a way of sharing a little about his life, even his hopes and dreams as a writer. Read below to read more of our discussion.
Norma: What does being an author mean to you?
Joseph: It gives me an opportunity to not only “live” another life, but to share that other “life” with the reader.
Norma: When did you first realize that you wanted to write and publish a book? How old/young were you at the time?
Joseph: During a period of unemployment, I read a book by Nicholas Sparks and, when I read about his million-dollar advance, I thought, “Wow! He is a pretty good writer, but I know I can do that, too!” That was the impetus. I believe that was in 2003 or thereabouts, so I would have been about 34.
Norma: From its inception, how long did it take you to write and publish your first book? Was the experience mostly rewarding or filled with varying levels of frustration?
Joseph: From the time I began writing until I self-published my first book in January of 2010, I beat my head against the wall of “traditional” publishers and agents for years before I realized that my book didn’t fit neatly into their “genres”, so I decided to take a chance and self-published. I found, among other writers, the kind of support and encouragement that had been sadly lacking from “trad” publishers and agents.
Norma: Are you currently writing another book which you hope to publish at some point? If so, we'd love to hear more about it.
Joseph: My recent release is called A Mormon Masacre. Here is a blurb about the book:
This modern-day novel is based on the actual massacre of innocent Americans by Mormon zealots in the Utah Territory. In present-day Nashville, Tennessee, Jeremiah grows up with a prejudice against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the murders in 1857 of his ancestors at Mountain Meadows. Until the 1995 Oklahoma City attack, this was the most deadly act of terrorism against US citizens.
Jeremiah’s hatred multiplies when his father, Luke, informs him that his mother suffered abuse at the hands of her Mormon husband in a previous marriage. Due to his father’s association with the Mormon Victim’s Action Committee, Jeremiah gets an opportunity to expose the current wide-spread and Church-accepted practice of abusing women. With his father’s encouragement and the knowledge of his mother’s horrific experience, Jeremiah accepts M-VAC’s offer to train and insert him into an LDS community in hopes of collecting evidence to prosecute the abusers.
Jeremiah’s objective changes when he sees a murder committed by Mormon zealots. Now he wants to expose the entire Church as a violent and dangerous fraud.
Norma: Wow! I can imagine that will provoke a reaction from the public. I'd be interested in reading the reviews especially since it's based upon an event which really transpired at one point in time. There are bound to be mixed feelings and opinions; I can't help but wonder whether you will open Pandora's Box, so to speak. Overall, though, I must admit to being curious as to which book you deem your favorite. Can you tell us a little about that?
Joseph: I have three books published. I don’t really have a favorite, though I suspect Hazardous Choices was the most challenging to write because the character and some of the settings were very different from me and my life.
My earlier books - A Spy at Home and Hazardous Choices - books feature secondary characters with Down Syndrome, which is very close to my heart, because my daughter has Down Syndrome.
Norma: Who has been a major source of inspiration for you as a writer/author?
Joseph: Apart from other authors such as Gillian Flynn and Alexandre Dumas, I guess my main inspiration has been my family. My goal is to write a bestseller, have it turned into a blockbuster movie and be able to offer my family the kind of lifestyle they deserve.
Norma: I've read and reviewed Hazardous Choices and I must say it is a book I still think about two years later. It's definitely a book everyone should read because so many people can fall into lifestyles as a result of the various pressures life presents. It might not necessarily be related to gang activity but promiscuous sex, drugs, alcohol and crime can lead people down paths in which they, literally, destroy their lives, often at young ages and they forever live with regret for decisions made in their youth. Hazardous Choices would make anyone think twice about decisions they are about to make and I, for one, am glad you published that book because the message will never grow outdated.
On another note, after getting to know some of the subjects of your writing, I must ask: what is one of your favorite quotes?
Joseph: I guess my favorite quote would be, “all things in moderation”, but only because it is so ridiculous - all things in moderation except moderation! Many people believe that it is from the Bible, but in fact it was said by a Roman comic who was being sarcastic. Nobody seems to get that.
Norma: Tell us a little about your life. What does an average day look like?
Joseph: I have a full-time job as a Credit Manager for an air condition, heating and ventilation distributor, so I work all day, then come home and try to fit in writing, time with my family, exercising and, during the summer, boating, fishing and jogging. My daughter is involved in a multitude of things including Special Olympics and Best Buddies, so we’re often in the car on the way to, or picking her up from, some event associated with these groups. It’s a busy and very fulfilling life.
Norma: I couldn't agree more. I thought my life was busy but it seems you put more into your day than I can dream of putting into mine. If I worked 40 hours a week outside the home instead of 50, it might make a world of difference as to what I can accomplish. One more thing before we go: what are three of your favorite hobbies?
Joseph: Boating, fishing, reading.
Norma's closing thoughts:
Joseph, for a man who doesn't include writing as one of his hobbies, I must say you do an exceptional job with the written word. It has certainly been a pleasure getting to know more about you, your family and your writing endeavors. I hope you achieve your dream of becoming famous in the world of writing; I know what it feels like to desire more for my family, though I'm certainly thankful for the blessings we enjoy.