The Generosity of Strangers by Thomas E. Antonaccio

Welcome to Author Thomas Antonaccio

Thomas E. Antonaccio has been serving in the United States Army for the past 22 years. He lives in Vicenza, Italy with his wife, Song Ae, and son, Christopher. This is his first book. 


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 
The past.  I’ve always had a touch of nostalgia, even romanticism, for the past—especially for the 1930s and 40s, which many consider the golden age.  Though I was born well after these two decades, I find myself drawn to the music, the magic, the mystery…I can’t explain it, but it’s with me all the time.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you
I’ve always been a fan of the TV show, Gilligan’s Island.  That being said, I’d say a radio, 6 fellow castaways as loyal and practical as Gilligan had, and…hmmm, well…how about a journal to collect my thoughts…
What is one book everyone should read? 
The Diary of Anne Frank.  Her diary is one of the handful of stories that inspired The Generosity of Strangers
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 
Chocolate and peanut butter; peanut butter goes with anything, especially chocolate!
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?  
Jesus Christ
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  
A bowl of Cheerios with blueberries
Night owl, or early bird?   
Early bird.
Skittles or M&Ms? 
M&Ms with almonds or with peanuts.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.  
Because even in the darkest hour, people can open their hearts
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?  
I would love to do a sequel to The Generosity of Strangers: When War Comes to Fornelli.  People are already asking me if I plan to do a sequel.  In the interim, I’m writing a short story that is somewhat autobiographical.  It’s still in the formative stages, so I won’t say much more…but it’s a writing project about which I’m very excited.
What inspired you to want to become a writer?  
I have always been a voracious reader, so that has to be the number one inspiration.  The fact that I’ve traveled all over the world and lived 15 years overseas is a close second.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.  
One always expects a close friend or family member to praise your writing.  However, when I receive positive, heartfelt feedback from a perfect stranger…it’s exhilarating, especially if it’s from someone abroad—outside the USA.  Good storytelling does cross boundaries.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world. which would it be?  
James Patterson’s Sunday at Tiffany’s – one of the best books/movies I’ve ever seen. I wonder if I could be the ‘imaginary friend.’
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?  
I don’t think I have a favorite book, per se, but I was an avid fan of the Hardy Boys and read just about all of their books at the time.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?  
The song that’s going through my mind right now is “How Much Is Enough” by The Fixx.  The chorus goes something like this:  “How much is enough, when your soul is empty?  How much is enough, in the land of plenty?  When you have all you want and still feel nothing at all…how much is enough…”  When my teenage son asks me why I’m a frugal kind of guy, I tell him to listen to that song.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?  
Write, write, write!  There’s no other way.  We all tend to procrastinate or look at a writing project and say “I can never do that…write ‘x’ number of pages, etc.  But when you write, and write consistently, new channels open up, and you just might be surprised by the result.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  
Cinque Terre, Italy – the closest place to Heaven on earth
What is your favorite Quote?  
“Every man is born an original, but sadly, most men die copies.”  Abraham Lincoln
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?  
I’ve always had many interests and aspirations…but I think the one thread that weaves through each of them is the notion of leaving a legacy.  That’s always been a compelling drive for me…though, honestly, I can’t say I’m any closer to figure out just what my legacy will be.
How did you know you should become an author?  
Ever since I was a boy, my mother has told me stories about her childhood growing up in Italy during World War II.  We had talked about capturing her story for many, many years.  One day, after visiting her hometown for the first time, I felt the urge to start writing.  One result has been The Generosity of Strangers
Who are your favorite authors of all time?  
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?  
Yes, Vincenzo (Lucia’s brother fromThe Generosity of Strangers) because he was a behind the scenes kind of guy, and that’s how I see myself…success is fleeting, many things so transient.  Unfortunately, that very mindset sometimes keeps us from realizing our full potential.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?  
Expand and explore your universe.  There are many ways to get to a certain goal.  Much depends on how badly you want it and whether you’re willing to persevere.
Favorite Food?  
I like both Italian and Korean food, having lived for quite some time in both countries.
How do you react to a bad review?  
So far I haven’t received what I consider a ‘bad review.’  I’ve certainly experienced rejections, especially when I tried the traditional publishing route.  Unfortunately, none ever gave me any constructive feedback on how to improve the manuscript, so I basically took them with a grain of salt.
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?  
I’d pay off my home—the one albatross around my neck
Which authors have influenced you most how?  
I’ve always enjoyed reading philosophy and such…so I’ve had the opportunity to sit at the feet of some of the greatest thinkers of all time.  All have influenced me in some way, shape, or form.
What do you do in your free time?  
Free time?  What’s that?  I like to think that if you’re fortunate to enjoy what you’re doing—work, hobbies, etc.—then you really don’t have or need free time…it feels like free time.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?  
Don’t Look Back
Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again.  
Wake up at 5:00 a.m., write for about an hour; leave for work at 7:00 a.m.; come home and usually exercise before dinner; after dinner, I study Italian, and (time remaining) I’ll do some light reading.  I’m usually in bed during the week by 10 or 10:30 p.m.
What’s your favorite season/weather?  
Winter.  The colder it is outside, the warmer it is inside.
Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. 
a travelogue of my 15 years of living overseas.  I’ve experienced so much but put very little of it on paper.
Favorite places to travel?  
Italy, Pacific Northwest
Favorite music? 
Pop (The Fixx, Pet Shop Boys) , Classical (Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky), Big Band (Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman)

The Generosity of Strangers

The Generosity of Strangers: When War Came to Fornelli is written in first person, free verse, and consists of a series of vignettes chronicling the real life experiences of a young girl and her family in war-torn Italy in the 1940s. The story is set in the town of Fornelli–a tiny hilltop community in Italy’s mountainous heart.

For Lucia and her family, life in Fornelli is anything but boring. Life is difficult, yet tranquil. But soon the war comes, and life in Fornelli is tranquil no more.

The Generosity of Strangers: When War Came to Fornelli is a true accounting from the eyes of Lucia, about faith, hope, and courage in the midst of war and its aftermath. It poetically conveys how even in desperate times people can open their hearts and rise above adversity.