Interview with T. Laresca, author of 'I Want to Help'

Tom Laresca lives in New York with his wife and three children. Currently working as a foreign stock trader, he attended college at St. John's University. Laresca enjoys playing sports and weightlifting. I Want to Help: My Story About Cancer, Depression and God is his first book. You can visit his website at


Tom Laresca lived an average life in a quiet American town: a good job as a stock trader, a wife, a family, a beautiful home. Then in 2001, his life changed. While living in Boca Raton, Florida, Laresca explains, “I was wrongly arrested and abused by the police. I had been an athlete in high school and college, and had never been in trouble with the law before or since in my professional career as a stock trader. I was put into intensive care, due mainly to being maced for thirty minutes while being pinned down, handcuffed and hogtied. These events all happened in front of my own home in an exclusive gated community.” Following the assault, Laresca says his main focus was to get the charges against him dropped. “For years, I spent time and money on lawyers to make this happen. The police wanted me to sign a pre-trial intervention (PTI) document, which would make the charges go away but with me assuming part of the guilt. But I didn’t want to do that; I wanted them to admit what they did. I spent years fighting the PTI. Even though the charges finally went away, I never found out what happened, and the police were never questioned or investigated. This all took lots of time and money, and I had to miss work.” During this period, Laresca was diagnosed with cancer in three parts of his body and faced the grim possibility that he might only have three months to live. After his treatment and recovery, he then fought a battle with depression. “Something told me to write about it.” he says. “I wrote the book in one night, sent it out to publishers, and went with the first publisher who answered.” The book, I WANT TO HELP: MY STORY ABOUT CANCER, DEPRESSION, AND GOD, is a tiny book which, as Laresca says, “is written with the sole purpose of helping others overcome any struggles they may be going through. Not that everyone will go through something as severe as I did, but I believe that most people at some time are struggling with something.” “The book begins with me learning I had been diagnosed with cancer in three parts of my body. I recount what it felt like to receive the news from my doctor, coupled with the grim possibility that I may have three months to live. I talk about my hospital stay, my fight to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, but most of all spiritually. “Next, I tell of going through chemotherapy treatments and on to recovery, only to be brought down by what I can only say was crippling depression. I go on to thank God for getting me through all this. Because the truth is that God brought me through it all, and He is waiting to help you with anything you are going through.” Laresca remembers that as a child, he read Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. “There were two things that stuck with me: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ and ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ Those helped me through everything, and I use this [philosophy] every day.” At twenty pages, I WANT TO HELP: MY STORY ABOUT CANCER, DEPRESSION, AND GOD is so short, Laresca says, because he worked long hours, had three kids, and not a lot of time. Still, he adds, people who have read it tell him that it’s helped them in some way, and that he’s heard that grownups have given the book to their children. These days, Tom Laresca is much more relaxed, especially now that he’s written the book. “If reading it can help just one person,” he says, “I’ll be happy.”

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Thomas.  Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, I Want to Help?

This is my first book; it began one night when I sat down to write about what I went through when I battled cancer. I believe what I learned going through it cab benefit others. After waking up from what was supposed to be a routine surgery, I was faced with having cancer in three parts of my body. After the first week of chemotherapy the doctor told me my white blood cells were dangerously low and I could not receive the other three weeks of chemo that was necessary. That was when the doctor told me my worst case scenario was three months. Faced with the grim possibility of death, I turned to pray and the Bible for my strength. After recovering from cancer I talk about the terrible hopeless state of depression I fell into. I describe how awful it was, and how I was able to get through it also with God’s help. The last part of the book I feel is the most important part of my journey which led me to write this book. It deals with death. I experienced death at the hands of the Florida police, right in front of my own home. I have taken a lie detector test and have 3,500 dollars worth of intensive care bills from that night. I tell what death was like and how God once again got me through it all.

Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

I chose my title because it is my sole purpose of writing this book: to help others.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author.  What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

My publicist Charles Barrett has done a great job of getting me radio interviews and finding forums such as yours. He has also been able to have my book reviewed favorably I might add from some top book review companies.

Q: Open to a random page in your book.  Can you tell us what is happening?

I am talking about how God has helped me in my life become a better person and that I am by far not a finished product. I feel that due to God’s word I am better now than I was five years ago and hopefully in five years I will be better than I am now.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I am really not sure I really do wish I included other things I went through in my life that may also have been helpful to others. However I believe this book will accomplish what I intended it to so we will see.

Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

I learned that parents enjoyed reading my book and they gave it to their children afterwards and kids have also read it and given it to their parents. I’ve had people come to me after reading it and talk about the struggles they are going through and how it has helped them in some way. So I guess in a way my book is accomplishing what I set out to do help others.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

My favorite time to write is late at night after all is done in my day I get alone then I read from the Bible and pray. That clears my mind and gives me inspiration.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

I believe a book is better; a book can actually take you inside and make you feel as though you are right there.

Q:  You’re about to write your next book.  What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

It’s a lot more work than I planned I need to spend more time and expand a bit.

Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

If you feel you have something important to share and are being led to do it go for it. Be true to yourself write from your heart and believe in what you are doing.
Q: Thank you for your interview, Thomas.  Do you have any final words?

Yes thank you for taking the time to listen and I hope you get my book and one day you tell me it help you in some ways. God Bless you all. My book is about three significant experiences in my life which I believe through my pain and suffering will help others. The truth is that God helped me in those times and he is there waiting to help you. The first part of my book deals with the devastation of finding out I had cancer in three parts of my body and was told at one point my worst case scenario was three months. Through surgery, and months of chemotherapy Prayer and reading the Bible kept me strong. After beating cancer I was then faced with what I considered as tough a battle with a severe state of depression. It was so bad I didn’t think I could go on but I managed to get through that also with the help of God. The final part of the book deals with death. This was also my inspiration to write this book so people can know the truth about death. As bizarre as it sounds I experienced death at the hands of the Florida police, right in front of my own home. When I was mistakenly taken for an armed burglar (I have never been in trouble with the police before that day or after in my fifty years alive). I was in intensive care that night fighting for my life I have also taken a lie detector test to help prove what I say is true. I believe this book can help people who may be going through sickness, emotional problems actually any problem if they can also turn to God. I try to tell how I did it in each case so others can learn of a loving caring God who is waiting to help and heal.

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