Vincent “Vinny” Valetutti is my friend Becka’s partner. I met him several years ago when he offered to drive our entire book group to a vineyard in a van so we could all relax and enjoy. This year, I assigned a student intern working with me in my public relations business to interview Vinny and write a press release on the traveling, thirty-foot-high, mock Sea Level Rise Ruler he created to raise awareness about rising sea levels. Helping Vinny get some media attention on this innovation gave me a deeper view into his mind. So, when he contacted me a few months after his initial outreach and asked for help with a book, I was interested in working with him. I have since learned much about the man behind the ruler. If I Were President: 29 alternative ideas for solving global problems, is now available. As Vinny says, “My ideas are neither left or right, I like to call them real ideas.”
My fall intern, Morgan Briggs, a student at Westfield State University, interviewed Vinny about the experience of working with me on his project.
How did Janice help you with the project from start to finish?
She was the one who was able to take the ideas in my brain and put them into words. I have always wanted to write different books, but I could never get the words down on paper. Janice was able to interview me, figure out information about my life, my career, etc.
What did you consider the most valuable part of working with Janice on your book?
She was able to take my ideas and put them down on paper (not diluting them in any way).
What kinds of suggestions did Janice make? Did you act on all of them? If you had differences, how did you resolve them?
Janice had many suggestions, particularly on formatting the different ideas in the book. If there were differences, we talked about each suggestions/recommendation and came to an agreement. Many times, I agreed with her suggestions; I went with my own if it made me more comfortable. I thought reviewing the cover design was not as important as the ideas inside. I wish we had checked the title of the book as it is in use on several children’s books.
In what way did your book turn out differently from what it would have been if you had not worked with Janice on it?
It wouldn’t have existed. I don’t know anyone else who could have helped me like Janice did.
How did Levellers Press help you get the word out about your book? Was your experience with them positive?
I know the book is on their website, and they created an ebook that is on Amazon and Kindle. Steve and Randy were awesome, extremely helpful.
What kind of reaction have you had to your book?
Haven’t had too much, but what I have had is positive. My sister, who works with engineers, said that the head of the company she works for looked at it and said that the book was awesome. Family members and friends all liked the book. One person said that they didn’t agree with all of the ideas but still liked the book.
You are working on a second book now. What is that about?
More of the same concepts, but different ideas. The title is Since I’m Not President. I have a lot of ideas formed currently in my brain; on paper, I have some scribbles.
Anything else you want readers of Janice’s blog to know?
Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish environmental activist, inspired me to create the book. Also, I am about to be 75, so if anything happens to me, all of the valuable ideas are captured on paper forever.