The End is the Beginning – New book by 13-year-old author tells the story of extreme child abuse and survival. Armond DeGasperis speaks up to protect other children from the horrors of childhood trauma and abuse. The abuse and neglect that I was forced to endured was repulsive and excruciating. I was physically, mentally and sexually assaulted on a daily basis. Over the years it ate away at my mind, body and spirit like a crippling disease. I was just an innocent child, the product of two completely self-destructive people. I was born into a life of negativity and total dysfunction. My biological parents were uneducated, parasites to society. They filled my early childhood with excruciating pain, unforgettable sadness and sheer terror.
Tell us something about yourself.
My fabulous career in the foster system actually started the day I was born.
I have lived a majority of my life in orphanages, group shelters and several foster homes.
I’m currently 13 years old and in the 7th Grade. I was finally adopted in 2009 and that’s pretty much when I decided to go forward with an autobiography. At first – my predominate aim was to just realize my own potential, develop my abilities and prove my capability. My book “The End is the Beginning” was my first attempt at authoring anything. It truly helped explain “ME” to “MYSELF”.
What inspired you to write this book?
Just after I was adopted. I had a sense of security and a feeling of belonging. I was impelled to put my thoughts into words. I gathered as much information on my early life as I could get my hands on. In early April of 2009 – I began to write and published in June 2010. I wrote my book to serve as a symbolic release of accumulated weight I had carried from my painful past. In coming forward, my hope was to derive something positive from something so painful for me. I wanted to reach out- beyond myself as nothing more than a survivor only to help raise awareness for all the abused and neglected children.
How did you choose the title?
The end of my old life was just the beginning of my new life . .
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
When I first began to write my book people keep asking me, ”what is your main goal and why do you want to dig up that pain?”I always explained I wanted to write a book of hope from a teenager’s point of view. I’m so thankful that everyone has encouraged me and been 100% supportive of my idea. My new Mom has been a huge positive influence in my life. She just seems to understand me. I think what I love most about her is the fact she never probes or forces me to tell personal details of my past. My new parents have never made me any empty promises that they couldn’t kept. My new Dad always tells me, “Mean what you say –and- say what you mean!” Good advice to live by.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I have had several social workers and all of them have always been helpful and willing to listen.
The in home Pastor showed me a journey of spiritual healing from within. But my defining moment was in December 2007 during a counseling session at my last group home in Lansing. My counselor asked me to write my biological parents a letter and say what ever was on my mind (speak freely) he then had me fold it and watch as he burned it. I stared at the flames as they engulf my letter it gave me a sense of freedom, I had new identity and I was able to mentally relinquish all my rights to my biological family!
Some of the negative effects of my past are…I struggled for many years with flashbacks and nightmares. I also found myself dealing with feelings of grief. I would mentally re-experience the horror of my trauma every night.
I was hurt so deeply it caused me a great deal of stress. I was agitated and felt I caused it to happen. I was shameful and thought something was wrong with me. I was extremely sensitive and experienced panic sensations several times a day. I felt helpless and begin to withdraw from people. I was carrying around such intense fear that I struggled to cope with my life experiences. I needed to make sense of what happened to me and once I could understand my trauma, I was less fearful and finally able to start managing it.
Surprisingly, once I understood that it was not my fault I refused to let my personal weakness turn me away from friends and people that wanted to help me.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
To not give up . . I always found Mozart very uplifting. He had a very difficult life, as did I. He was an amazing composer and accomplished so much at such a young age. His music gave me a sense of wholeness within myself it transformed and uplifted me – physical, emotional, mentally and energetically. He inspired me – his music is astonishingly happy and full of hidden complexities. It’s simplicity and beauty on the surface, and complexity and optimistic at deeper levels – I can just relate to that.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Well, as far as writing goes – I don’t want to go overboard with my story – I have always felt less is more. As for my future in publishing. . . that remains to be seen.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
I felt that my book “The end is the beginning” was going to be so unique because –
I am only 13 years old and able to make some sense out of my misfortune. I clearly wanted to express myself in a way most victims my age couldn’t do. Writing my book made me feel good inside, it was a wound that hade begun to heal. I wanted to test my own capability and try to do as much of the work as possible. I shocked myself – I saw that I was going to be able to write, self publish and then try to market my book completely on my own. I truly believed my reader friendly style of writing would make my book something that all kinds of people want to pick up and read.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
I am 13 years old but I have the ability to think beyond the box of traditional book selling and get my book moving. My written plan is to market my book up to two years just to get the buzz going.
Word of mouth helps along with positive book reviews. I have set up a book website and sent out an electronic news letter. I have made myself available for talks/discussions and book signings.