Welcome to the first installment of Character Interviews: Real Questions — Fictional Answers!
First in line is Antonio “Tony” Viscolli of Sapphire Ice, entrepreneur, business mogul, and adoring husband of Robin.
Tony, I’m thrilled you’ve made time to answer my questions today!
Hallee, I’m always happy to make time for the people in my life who are important.
Well, thank you! I’ve collected several questions that readers are just clamoring to know the answers to, so let’s begin. First up: When Hallee is imagining you in her head, who does she see?
Hallee was actually asked this question once before, and admitted that she had a hard time really coming up with an actor who perfectly fit how she imagines me. But, a close fit is Raul Bova. Looking at the picture she found, I wholeheartedly concur.
What made you pick the first business you bought?
That’s a great question. My initial business investments were pretty much purchase, improve, flip – much like you see people doing with the real estate market. I had a limited amount of capital, so I had to purchase something with low overhead that would have value to someone else. That’s what prompted me to invest in a computer company on the stock market. I’d read many reports about the market and felt very good about the investment. With the proceeds from the sale of that stock, I was able to purchase a book store.
Why a book store? Because it was available at a fraction of its worth, for one. For another, I love books and I love reading and learning. I paid attention to what I saw successful bookstores did in common and applied that to my company. Very quickly, I was able to sell it for a huge profit, which I used to invest into another company.
You talk of spending winters in southern Florida while living in Boston when the weather is more mild. As a Floridian, why didn’t you just stay in Florida year-round?
I have often been asked that question. I think there are two good reasons for it. (1) My church and church family are in Boston. They are the only family I have, and I’d rather not live away from them if I have a choice. (2) I believe God wanted me in Boston so that I would meet my wife, Robin. If I had moved down south as soon as I could, I would have sorely missed that opportunity.
When you met Robin at Benedict’s why did you grab her arm out of all the girls waiting on your table?
I was afraid she’d walk away. If have often been criticized for that move by many readers. While I’m sorry my actions possibly offended some, the fact is, it inspired a much longer conversation that we would have had otherwise.
Why did you feel the need to take action against Robin’s dad even though you’d never met the man? I know you felt a sense of protection for Robin, but don’t you think it was a little extreme?
My initial reaction was one of anger and protection. When I did my research and found out who the players were with Craig’s circumstances, and how dangerous the entire situation actually was, I reacted with both fear AND anger. That was, absolutely, extreme. And, as I learned, wrong. But, thankfully God works together for good ALL things for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and in the end it brought Craig to Christ and gave my children a grandfather for many years.
How did you feel when you realized how bad Robin’s life was growing up?
This is a fallen world and it is filled with pain and anguish. It breaks my heart to think of Robin and her sisters growing up with such tragedy and despair. It makes me feel helpless, which prompts me to act. It is why I give so much to charities and ministries that are in place to help children.
How did you celebrate New Year’s?
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the holidays are filled with parties and fellowship with our friends and extended families. We attend many functions, host many more, and by New Year’s Eve, we are exhausted. We almost always spend that time in our home in the Florida Keys with just our children and their families. TJ and Faith are usually in town for the week of Christmas, and almost always go back to England the first or second of January. It is our family’s time to just be quiet and enjoy each others’ company. The children enjoy lighting fireworks on the beach at midnight, along with most of our neighbors. The next day, we cook out on the beach and enjoy the ability to feel the warm sun on our skin in January.
Thank you, Hallee, for giving me an opportunity to answer some of your readers’ questions. I’ll be available to answer more questions in the comments if anyone happens to ask more.