Monday, July 21, 2014

Interview with Stephen Martino, author of 'The New Reality'

Stephen Martino holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a neurologist in New Jersey. When he is not working, he can be found with his five children doing homework or cheering them on at a soccer field, basketball court, or dance recital. Martino is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Cub Scout den leader and is an active public speaker, helping to educate the local community and healthcare professionals on the signs, symptoms and treatment of stroke. THE NEW REALITY is his first novel.
For More Information
About the Book:

Alex Pella, an acclaimed neuroscientist and the hero of the new medical thriller, THE NEW REALITY, finds himself racing across the globe to find a cure for a rapidly spreading illness threatening to end all of humanity. To combat this worldwide pandemic, Pella and his colleagues must use modern science in an attempt to decipher a code hidden by God within the original pages of the Bible.

THE NEW REALITY is the first book in a projected trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist Stephen Martino. With his mixture of medicine, politics, biblical riddles, and futuristic science, Martino joins such masters of the medical thriller genre as Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook. 

Martino's villain is a deadly retrovirus accidentally unleashed on the world in the year 2080, a time when no country is financially equipped to deal with such a disaster. It's up to Pella and NIH expert Marissa Ambrosia to lead the search for a cure while fending off an elite foreign military unit sent to stop them. The scientists, guided by an ancient code concealed within the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, traverse ancient lands in an attempt to solve a biblical riddle and save humanity from total extinction.

Martino says he wrote THE NEW REALITY “more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance, like (Brown's) THE DA VINCI CODE or (Crichton's) JURASSIC PARK. These books not only tell a fantastic story, but they also make the reader think.”

In THE NEW REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic manipulation, gene therapy, unprecedented economic debt, and the rise of big government, combining them with more esoteric subjects such as the Bible Code and the mysteries hidden in the Book of Revelation.

The Bible Code, Martino explains, does exist and was discovered by Dr. Eli Rips, a mathematician in quantum physics. The code has been confirmed by mathematicians at Yale, Harvard, and Hebrew University, as well as by peer-reviewed mathematical journals and the Pentagon. The code, Martino continues, is found in the original Hebrew version of the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Torah, and only in its untranslated, Hebrew form.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE NEW REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real concerns facing society today that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity of our future generations. Though fictional, my novel addresses some of these issues and predicts the potential consequences we face as a nation if they are not properly addressed today.”

For More Information

Can you tell us what your book is about?

The New Reality is about a deadly, manmade virus that inadvertently gets released upon the planet. In order save humanity from extinction, the acclaimed neuroscientist Alex Pella and his colleagues must decipher a code hidden within the original pages of the Bible and search the planet to solve an ancient biblical riddle before time runs out.

Why did you write your book?

I wrote The New Reality more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance, like (Brown's) The Da Vinci Code or (Crichton's) Jurassic Park. These books not only tell a fantastic story, but they also make the reader think.

In The New Reality I have included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic manipulation, gene therapy, unprecedented economic debt, and the rise of big government, combining them with more esoteric subjects such as the Bible Code and the mysteries hidden in the Book of Revelation. Hopefully, these subjects will resonate with a wide audience and create awareness of issues that have serious consequences for generations to come.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The main character of The New Reality is Alex Pella. The man is a high tech genius who owns his own Neuro-Tek company. Though a high-tech geek by nature, Alex is also a thrill seeker always on the lookout for the next best, challenge. And he certainly gets this challenge when he is called upon by the man by the name of Jonathan Maloney. Now Jonathan, by nature, is a scholar who has been studying the Bible Code for most of his life. What he has determined from this code is that he has to find Alex and somehow use the code to discover the cure for the disease.
Trying to stop Alex and his colleagues from finding this cure is a fascist megalomaniac by the name Ari Lesmana who wants the cure all for himself. And if it means killing Alex and condemning humanity to extinction, then so be it.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I believe life is much too interesting just to rely totally on my imagination to create a character. During my day, I encounter so many interesting people with both commendable and no so commendable traits, flaws and even quirks. When I built my cast of characters for my novel, I was able to draw from my experience to create fictional people that are believable.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

Before typing the first word into the computer, I’ve researched, outlined and even graphed the entire novel on paper. However, as both the plot and characters gain greater life with each chapter, I constantly make small changes in the plot in order to keep the novel flowing in an exciting and coherent manner. When writing, my novel becomes almost like a living being with a life unto itself. Though I created it, I feel that I must nature it to maturation.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Turn to any page in the novel and you will be confronted by a mixture of action, suspense and humor all rolled nicely together. Though thrillers are meant to keep the reader at the edge of their seat, I also wanted the reader to laugh while sitting there.

Is it hard to get a fictional thriller book published?

I believe getting a fictional novel published is extremely difficult. What I’ve discovered is that the market in inundated with literature, and for every one book printed by a traditional publisher, there may be another fifty that were not. Rejection is just the simple truth in getting a fictional thriller published. It’s like a badge of courage all first time published authors wear. I certainly don’t discourage anyone from writing. However, I would suggest you have the determination needed to see your work through to fruition.

Is it hard to promote a fictional thriller book and where do you start?

Actually, as a neophyte to the social media outlets, blogs and other author-centered sites on the web, I was completely amazed by how much out there that is available to promote my novel. Honestly, I could easily spend ten hours a day just on publicity and still not feel as if I had enough time. However, with a full time job, five kids and other commitments, I must strategize where I place my efforts.
From my experience, what I would suggest to any first time author would be to start a blog and become an active social media user. Through Goodreads, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and other blogs that are geared to your novel’s theme, you can build a fan base and create an effect venue to publicize your book.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Writers block does occur and can be very frustrating. I remember at some times I just wanted to throw my computer out the window when I couldn’t perfectly describe a scene or create the dialog needed to convey my point. However, I’ve learned that stepping away from the computer for a movement or simply holding off on writing that particular scene for a day may be the most effect method to deal with a block. Eventually, the scene or dialog came, and I was able to move on with my novel as if nothing happened.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Though Einstein said time is just an illusion, I find that it still moves by too quickly. With five kids at home growing up quickly, I would certainly want to spend that extra hour with them. Whether it’s simply talking to them, playing a sport, watching them in an athletic event or simply helping them with their homework, I would certainly cherish the extra time.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Christmas is the ultimate holiday at my house. It’s the time when the entire family gets together. There are presents, games, food and laughter starting Christmas Eve and lasting until the day after Christmas. Plus, can you imagine the complete chaos of five kids coming downstairs on Christmas day to all their presents under the tree? Their excitement makes me feel as if I were a kid again.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

There is a quaint little restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ with a Manhattan feel and the best food. Though expensive, they have a very inexpensive lunch menu with the best selection of food. Plus, they serve the most outstanding and juiciest hamburgers I’ve ever eaten. Between the food, atmosphere and selection of alcohol, the conversation will be good no matter what the topic.

What do you like to do for fun?

Honestly, despite my different careers, I’m really just a kid. I feel as if I still am in college and believe every day can be new and exciting. When I’m not working, at a meeting or writing, I enjoy simply playing with my kids and their friends. Whether it’s kickball, Nerf, baseball, Wii or a board game, I’m the first one to be involved. Yes, I do have grown up friends and play golf or have a beer watching Monday Night Football with them. However, each night my most fun thing I like to do before going to bed is just sit in quietness for about a half an hour and read. It is my time to decompress from the day and keep my sanity.

What do you like the most about being an author?

There are many aspects I like about being an author. However, the one that tops the list is the inner feeling of satisfaction that I was able to write a book and bring it to publication. With all the distractions in life, it is all too easy to stray from the final objective. However, holding my completed novel in my hand, really provides a sense of pride that I accomplished something significant.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

The most pivotal time in my career is when I received my first positive, unsolicited review. Despite having the book published, the biggest question is always will someone actually like it. Despite all the rejection that occurs bringing a book to the market, the first positive review seemed to make me forget all that previous criticism. It is such a wonderful feeling to have someone enjoy my work as much as I enjoyed writing it. I think a writer could ask for no more.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

I think every person has a great story to tell. Whether it’s about their own life, their experiences or just something they simply dreamt up, the story is there. It just takes faith in what about you are writing about and a true commitment to your work. If you can get over the rejection and frustration of actually bringing the book to publication, the experience and rewards are definitely well worth the time spent.

1 comment:

Stephen Martino MD said...

Thank you for having me on your web site.