ED- The Eerie Digest has always looked for the next big event in the field of literature. With the many genre of books that we have introduced to our legions of readers around the world, we have explored everything from mystery to comedy. It is those true stories, however, that most storytellers base part, if not all, of their written word on. Author Tony Napoli has revealed one of those true stories that is the equivalent of novels such as ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Wiseguys’, but entirely based on the true life story of his father. This book is destined to be a top seller and plans are being made to create a movie generated from the book itself. Tony, what was your interest in writing your novel, “My Father My Don’
TN- My interest in writing ‘My Father My Don’ was mainly based upon thoughts of my Mother who died early in life from Cancer at the age of 47 years old. She encouraged me before she died to tell the world of our family tradition of Respect, Honor, Integrity, and above all the Dignity that this Government or any other could never take from us. I was 26 years old when my Mother died, I have lived long enough and found Sobriety as a better way in life after so many years of living in the Mob Life-style. I decided to pen my story for those who are in need of Sobriety as well as family tradition.
TN- Charles Messina, a master of the dialogue that grew up in the Mob-Style environment, was hired by me to organize my excerpts into story form. He’s also the co-writer for my screenplays. There’s no need for any creative writing in my story because it’s a true story and “I tell it like it is.”
ED- Please tell our readership about your early childhood and the relationship with your father as a young child.
TN- When I was 6 years old my father went to jail, and he got out of jail when I was 10 years old. That’s when I started to get to know him as a father. He was very polite and talked with a very soothing and convincing voice. When he looked at me with his eyes I could tell what was going to happen next. He didn’t have to use words, just his eyes. He took me to the gym to see his fighters train and that’s how I started boxing myself. I loved to be in his company because where ever he took me it was a red carpet treatment. I knew I had a very special father who was above the average working man.
ED- Your High School years as a young teenager were most memorable to you, and you excelled in sports. Among those were boxing, which proved to be your passion. Please tell us about this aspect of your life.
TN- When I was in High school all the kids wanted to hang with me because most of their relatives worked in my father’s numbers business, as runners or controllers. I was also the Golden Cloves fighter who represented the Trinity boxing Club in downtown Brooklyn, NY in the early 50’s where a lot of the students in school used to come to see me train and they were very excited to be in my company. During my High School years I drove a new Chevy convertible, which made me look very impressive with the girls. I also played on the High School Baseball team.
ED- Shortly after High School you joined the U.S. Air Force where boxing became your trademark to represent the branch of that Service. Tell us of those days and what they meant to you.
TN- After graduating from High School, I joined the US Air Force and was assigned to (SAC) Strategic Air Command. My general was Gen. Curtis Le May who picked me and 249 other airmen to escort him around the world as his special security force. We were all athletes and hand picked by him. I was one of the boxers who represented the US Air Force Boxing Team leading up to the 1956 Olympics. I was told by the General that I seemed to have prior military experience, cause I knew how to take orders. That’s why I say today that the Mob Life is similar to our Military. It’s just that the Mob guys don’t wear uniforms and it’s called in the streets the un-uniformed army.
ED- During that period your father’s interest in your passion led to the creation of an organization that supported the athletes in that sport. Please tell us about this organization, and in what role are you currently involved in with it’s undertaking.
TN- In 1954, the year one of my father’s fighters won the lightweight championship of the world, my father decided to form an organization called Ring 8 to help indigent fighters who couldn’t fight anymore due to injuries received in the ring. He saw too many of his own fighters, as well as other fighters, take too many blows to the head causing them to retire young with no security. They weren’t able to pay for their medications etc.. I am an active member in the Ring 8 organization which meets once a month with 300 members. We raise money from donations to help those indigent fighters pay their bills. The spirit of my father is present at every meeting through me.
ED- You also serve your community in services that you provide for American Veterans. Please tell us about your work with them.
TN- For the past 17 years I work as a volunteer helping Disabled American Veterans with the Compensation/Pension forms to be compensated for their service-connected injuries. So far over 200 veterans who I helped are receiving their compensations. I’m also a volunteer helping recovering Alcoholics find Sobriety and a better way in life. I charge no fee.
ED- You also own one of the top-rated restaurants in New York City. Please tell our readers about it, and where it is located.
TN- I have an interest in a 5-star Italian restaurant called “Villa Isabella” located at 103-19 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375 where I do my book discussions and signings. It is listed on the Internet at www.Villaisabellarestaurant.com ( telephone # 1-718-575-8999 for reservations).
ED- Your novel, ‘My Father MY Don’, reveals much about the life of your father and organized crime in that era. What are some of your fondest memories of him?
TN- The fondest memories I have of my father is the way he was able to keep a community together of over 300 families, by keeping them earning in his numbers business and how he settled domestic problems for them and their family members. He was able to keep the drug pushes out of our neighborhood until the day he died.
TN- My book, “My Father My Don”, is on sale at amazon.com barnesandnoble.com borders.com and available in Kindle and e-book. You can get an autographed book and picture of me at www.myfathermydon.com . It is also on sale at your local book store.
ED- We also understand that a movie is being created based on your novel. What preparations are being made for it, and when will our readership see it in theaters around the country?
TN- My book has been written into a screenplay and is ready for a movie that will be released in the year 2011-12
ED- We also know that one of the actors that we had interviewed for The Eerie Digest, Tom Lyle, is being given a role in it. What other actors do you envision to play the people in the book including the part representing your father?
TN- Actors like Tom Lyle, Ray Liotta, Johnny Depp, Alec Baldwin (my father) Selena Sabel, and others I met along the way are being considered for a part in “MY FATHER MY DON”.
ED- Tony, it has been a deep honor to be able to interview you for our magazine. The Eerie Digest, and I, is sure that our many readers will be seeking out your book for themselves to read. We want to wish you much luck for both your book and your upcoming motion picture, and ask that you keep us, and our readership, informed of their progress.
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TN- I will be only to happy to keep all the readers of “The Eerie Digest” informed of my progress and updates of my motion picture. It’s been my pleasure to talk with you.