Author Interview: Stephen Martino, author of THE HIDDEN REALITY

Stephen MartinoStephen Martino is neurologist practicing in New Jersey. Though not separating conjoined twins like Dr. Ben Carson, he is part of an active medical practice and is currently participating in concussion research and inventing new medical products. 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 provide stroke education to the local community, EMS squads and healthcare professionals.

His latest book is the science fiction/political thriller, The Hidden Reality.

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About the Book:

In the year 2084, the brilliant inventor, Alex Pella, finds himself at a precarious crossroad between the pursuit of justice and preservation of his own sanity. While attempting to undermine an international New World Order government created by the financial juggernaut known as The New Reality, he must also face the hidden truths about his own genetic heritage that are slowly destroying him. After receiving an ambiguous message sent from a former New Reality executive who died 2 years prior, Alex learns The Hidden Realitythat the only possible means to confront this New World Order is to defeat a long-forgotten enemy almost 2500 years old.

 THE HIDDEN REALITY is the second stand-alone novel in a trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist and entrepreneur Stephen Martino. With his fusion of history, politics, and science fiction, Martino joins such masters of the thriller genre as Dan Brown, James Rollins, and Michael Crichton.

Martino’s villain is a corporation run by a cadre of ruthless international bankers known as The New Reality. Directed by the most corrupt and morally unscrupulous of the bunch, Myra Keres, the company has economically seized control of the world’s governments and the population’s personal freedoms in the process. In order to save humanity from this despot ruler and the unwonted atrocities to which she plans to perpetuate on the world, Alex Pella must infiltrate the company and face an enemy that has unknowingly haunted both him and history for almost 2500 years.

Martino says he wrote THE HIDDEN REALITY more than just to entertain the reader. He wanted to create a modern day Orwellian ANIMAL FARM to allegorically forewarn his readers of a possible dystopia future that awaits all of mankind if humanity continues to proceed down its path of self-destruction.

 In THE HIDDEN REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic cloning, unprecedented economic debt, the rise of big government, and the threat of a New World Order run by the economic elite, while bringing the reader back almost 2500 years into the past when the ancient city state nation known as Greece fought the mighty Persian Empire for world domination.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE HIDDEN 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 and the world if they are not properly addressed today.”

The Hidden Reality is available at Amazon.

What made you decide to become a published author?

Doesn’t everyone have that great American novel in them? At least that’s what I thought before actually siting down and writing my first novel. After reading a few uninteresting books and watching more than my share of less than inspirational movies, I assumed the task would not be that arduous. Plus, with my long laundry list of literature and writing courses I took throughout college, which basically included only English 101, my naiveté drew me to the obvious conclusion that I could write a novel.

The only things I really had going for me was that I was an avid reader of fiction and could day dream like the best of them. Also, with a strong science, medical, and historical base of knowledge, I did have minor skill sets which could possibly prove beneficial.

There was one major stumbling block that became painfully obvious after I completed my first novel. I learned that it was not me who would decide if I could become a published author; the publishing world would make that decision for me. Rejection became so common place that I felt as if I were still in high school feebly asking out girls on dates. Despite the mound of denials, I was eventually able to strengthen my novel and more importantly my pitch enough to land my first publishing contract. Plus, on a lighter note, I actually had someone say yes to a date.

Would you consider your latest book, The Hidden Reality, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

It’s easy for me to say that The Hidden Reality is a fast paced, one of a kind thriller that will keep you thinking and absorbed until the last page. However, most thriller writers would hopefully compliment their novel with the same accolades. What makes my book stand out is that it speaks to today’s society. As the world becomes more chaotic and unraveled by the day, the dystopian society which I describe in The Hidden Reality is slowly becoming more a non-fictional reality than a fictional story.

In the end, my goal was to turn The Hidden Reality into a modern day allegoric Animal Farm to forewarn my readers of the possible future consequences we may face as a result of our current follies of today. As political tensions rise around the globe, the world plunges into economic debt, Europe delves deeper into chaos, and new scientific and medical achievements astound us by the day, The Hidden Reality attempts to make sense out this pandemonium and open the readers’ eyes to trouble which surrounds us today.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

With 5 kids at home, any quiet place can be considered a sanctuary. It could be in the basement, family room or even the kitchen. Wherever it’s quiet and I have my morning hot chocolate, that’s my sanctuary for the moment.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

The simple answer is not to quit. Becoming a published author is a humbling experience. I could wallpaper my entire house with all the rejection letters from agents and publishers I received. However, what I learned from some of these rejections were important lessons. Many responses had suggestions or even minor critiques. Some were helpful while a small few were simply absurd. Based upon these responses, I began to grow as an author and both fine tune my pitch and my writing style as a result.

What inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me? Every time I watch the History or Discovery channel, I come up with a crazy new idea for a novel. Plus, with the current state of our country and the insane American political race unfolding, there is enough fodder to easily create a 100 more novels. However, inspiration alone does not pay the bills, so I continue my day job and write in my spare time.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

Despite the long and arduous path to become published, I learned that getting a book on the market is unfortunately the easiest part of the entire publishing experience. The real difficulty lies with the publicity. That’s when the fun actually begins. It doesn’t matter how great your book is; what really matters is getting it into the hands of your audience. I’ve read fantastic novels by unknown, independent authors that are clearly a much better read than the best names out there. However, their publicity was far inferior to those big name writers, and few, if any people, ever heard of their work. Plus, readers tend to flock towards familiar names or those books that actually make it onto the ever shrinking bookshelves in stores. In the end, persistence wins. You just have to work at it on a daily basis.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book.  What’s the first ingredient?

Write what needs to be said. Is there a story that needs to be told? Is there a bigger political or ethical message that needs to be known? Find your message and run with it. There’s always someone out there who will share your passion and enjoy your work. Though my books are fiction, there are multiple messages in each of them.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Yes. That’s what makes my novel extra amusing to me and my friends. Certain scenes and ever characters are based upon actual events or are caricatures of friends. However, the one addition to my novel which scored me big points at home is a main character named Marissa. I describe her as a beautiful young woman with glowing green eyes, flowing brown hair, an athletic build, and very intelligent. It just so happens that those characteristics ironically are similar to my wife. No sleeping in the dog house anymore!

What’s next for you?

I am currently working on my third and last installment of The New Reality trilogy titled The Final Reality. The Hidden Reality is my second stand-alone novel in the series. The last novel will continue to delve into high-concept ideas and explore a long forgotten world that has been hidden under our eyes for thousands of years.

In addition, I will continue to write medical articles for the local paper and for local hospital publications.

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