As a fifth-grader, Anthony Sciarratta wrote that he would one day write a book and star in a sequel to the movie “Grease.” The past year saw one of the two wishes come true.
Sciarratta, 24, of Middle Village, Queens, is the author of “Finding Forever,” a novel focusing on a 1970s-set love story, with areas of the North Shore making appearances in the plot.
The road to being an author was not an easy one, Sciarratta says.
“I was never good at English right away,” Sciarratta said. “I got a little better over the years, but I wasn’t the kind of guy you could force to read a book. English was always tough for me.”
Throughout the years, Sciarratta’s apprehension about writing vanished as he became a frequent journal keeper, and later had dreams of sports journalism.
“I almost worked for the New York Giants, but I realized that I would hate myself 20 years from now for not taking a shot in film,” Sciarratta said.
While pursuing a master’s degree in communications at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, Sciarratta originally envisioned “Finding Forever” as a screenplay, but circumstances convinced him to adapt it into a novel.
“I realized later on that I didn’t have a couple million to finance a film, and getting screenplay in the right hands would be the same chances as scoring the Powerball,” Sciarratta said. “I used that as an outline for the novel.”
While staying in Old Westbury, Sciarratta focused on his story, writing the novel in four months.
“I was so crazy about getting it right that since there’s a portion of the book which takes place in Italy, so I went there to research,” Sciarratta said.
Sciarratta toured Rome, Florence and the Amalfi Coast, and was inspired by Port Washington and Great Neck. He says that Louie’s Oyster Bar in Port also makes an appearance.
After months of work and sending the manuscript to publishers, Sciarratta was roundly rejected. He decided to take a less traditional different avenue for publishing.
“I put some money into Facebook marketing, and put the book on Amazon Marketplace,” Sciarratta said. “I was making a penny a book, but I decided to see where it went.”
Within a month after its initial publishing, Sciarratta had sold 1,000 copies of “Finding Forever.” Soon after, the book attracted the attention of independent publisher Post Hill Press, which issued official paperbacks not long after.
Shortly before finding a publisher, Sciarratta placed copies of a “typo-riddled manuscript” of the book in a mini library in the Port Washington area, not thinking much of it.
“Because of the manuscript, people found me on social media and told me they loved my book,” Sciarratta said. “One of the copies that I left there got a waiting list at the Glen Cove Library. Someone had to take it from Port Washington and give it to the library!”
Success in Port was just the beginning, as Post Hill Press is preparing to publish two new works by Sciarratta in 2020: the novel “The Letter,” scheduled to be released in April, and a book of poetry on relationships entitled “Faith in the Unknown,” which will be published in May.
The story’s time period, Sciarratta says, came from growing up in a “pop culture bubble.”
“From day one, I was always an old soul,” Sciarratta said. “I remember a big part of why I became the man that I am today is because my dad would have me watch movies with him.”
Together with his father, Sciarratta would watch films from the 1970s, and became enthralled with the period’s pop culture, and especially idolized the screen persona and life story of Sylvester Stallone.
“I really resonate with Rocky Balboa,” Sciarratta said. “If [Stallone] gave me a good review, I think I’d pass out. His whole story is not only Rocky, it’s the story behind Rocky, that he believed in himself.”
His first official book signing, Sciarratta says, will be at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, where copies of “Finding Forever” will be stocked. The author adds that as a student at NYIT, he would sit in the store’s cafe while writing the novel.
“I wrote part of the book in the cafe, and now it’s going to be on the shelves there,” Sciarratta said.