My latest interview is with writer Steve Martino about his upcoming book “The Final Reality”, who was kind enough to answer my questions.
Steve Martino: First, I’d like to thank you for having me here on your website. To begin with, I’m a physician in New Jersey and also oversee a five-hospital stroke center. If that wasn’t enough, I also have five lovely, healthy children that I taxi around during my free time. Between running them to cub scouts, soccer, basketball, girl scouts, CCD and karate among other things, I somehow find time for myself. This may be at 5 in the morning but I use this time to unwind and focus my thoughts. It is during these early hours that I enjoy writing the most. Whether it is something ethical, political, economic or medical that recently piqued my interest, I am able to articulate my feelings (unusually frustration) down into words.
Books & Writing: How do you overcome writer’s block?
Steve Martino: Though throwing my computer against the wall or opening a bottle Jack Daniel’s would be my first instinct, I deal with this problem in a much more pragmatic way. Usually stepping away from the computer, doing something completely different or trying to better visualize what I am writing about has worked for me.
Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?
Steve Martino: Every time I read the news or watch something on the History or Discovery channel I’m inspired. The world has a wealth of information and endless stories to tell. The difficulty I have as a writer is picking just a few on them to elaborate upon in my novels. As a result my house is inundated with piles of eclectic books with topics ranging from genetics all the way to megalithic structures of primitive man. I feel as if there is so much out there to learn, yet so little time to do it.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming book “The Final Reality”?
Steve Martino: Before writing, I first ask myself a hypothetical, yet thought provoking, question that I can expand upon. When I wrote The Final Reality I posed this question:
What makes one person smarter, faster or even more athletic than another? Is it their upbringing or is the answer hidden within millions of years of genetic evolution. What if mankind found the answer and in the process, doomed humanity to extinction?
After 2 years of research and 6 months of writing The Final Reality answered this question as follows:
Focusing on both our current politically charged environment and world-wide economic crisis, my well-researched thriller follows Alex Pella on a tumultuous journey that projects a potential path of human existence in the 21st century. After a virus hidden within our genetic code inadvertently gets released upon the planet, no country is financially prepared to deal with such a disaster. Only the brilliant neuroscientist, Alex Pella, and his intellectual equal, Marissa Ambrosia, have the audacity to attempt finding a cure while simultaneously fending off mercenaries sent by a fascist dictator, proclaiming to be the anointed one. Guided by an ancient code concealed within the Old Testament, they must traverse ancient lands and solve an age-old biblical riddle to save mankind from its own inevitable destruction. With a humorous flair, the book smoothly tells an important story that reflects on the uncertainties which mankind currently faces.
Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for that?
Steve Martino: One major theme throughout my novel is the potential consequences of interfering with human DNA. While in medical school I saw firsthand how “gene therapy” directly led to the untimely death of its young patients. Just like in my book, scientists conducted human studies without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. Though this study was small-scale, it involved a deadly virus and gene manipulation, just like that described in The Final Reality.
I also incorporate in The Final Reality my frustration with America’s current economic and political situation. Over 15 trillion dollars in debt, the vast expansion of government, increased taxes, higher unemployment and a president who seems completely out of touch with the rest of the country boggle my mind. I ask myself, “What type of country are we leaving for the next generation?” The answer is: one we can’t afford.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about the main characters?
Steve Martino: There a many characters in the book, each with their own unique characteristics and quirks. The main character is Alex Pella. Both cunning and handsome, he heads the largest neuroscience department in the world. Built using sheer ingenuity and charisma, it has become the envy of the biotechnical industry. Although extremely successful, Alex yearns for life’s deeper meaning. Sitting behind a desk and attending executive meetings had long lost its novelty. To keep his sanity he spends his recreational time dabbling in extreme sports. When the disease written of in The Final Reality manifested itself as threat to all humanity, he viewed it as an opportunity to escape his mundane, daily grind to pursue an adventure. Unfortunately, he found more excitement than he expected while attempting to discover the cure. Alex is aided in his search for the cure by Marissa Ambrosia. Both stunningly attractive and brilliant, she immediately caught his attention the first time they met. Although slightly distracted by his physical attraction, he finds her quit wit and medical knowledge both refreshing and vital during their search. Despite all obstacles, she proved to have both the physical and mental endurance to rally them during their trek.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Steve Martino: Yes, as my mother reminded me it was back in 4th grade. I had written a short story for Thanksgiving about a turkey that would not gobble. Though comical to read now, it portrayed a turkey who kept quiet in order not to end up on the dinner table.
Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?
Steve Martino: My favorite author is James Rollins. His books are well-researched and well-written. Plus, his characters are both believable and captivating. I highly recommend him.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Steve Martino: I plan to first publish The Final Reality through Amazon this summer while my agent and I work on obtaining a major publisher.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Steve Martino: I have a blog at http://stephenmartino.blogspot.com.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Steve Martino: Write what interests you. If there is a topic which really garners your attention, it will be easier to write about. In other words, I don’t think I could write a successful novel about the mating habits of the North American Caribou. On the other hand, a medical thriller would fit my writing style much better.
Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?
Steve Martino: I think everybody has something positive to say. Writing enables all of us, even the shyest, to get their word out.
Books & Writing: Is there an excerpt from The Final Reality you would like to share with the readers?
Steve Martino: During an early scene in the book an entire town was euthanized by the government in fear that their disease would spread across the country. The final paragraph reads as follows:
Modern science had failed them and all those afflicted with The Disease. There was no cure and more concerning there was no source. When science becomes man’s God and science fails, all that is left is fear and irrationality. There was no reason to destroy this town and others like it throughout Turkey. The Disease had affected them all, even those not afflicted by it.