About the author:
Hi Lyn and visitors. I’m a physicist who worked at CERN for 10 years, then moved to the US with the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in California, on to Apple Inc. at the European Head Quarters in London, and then with the World Economic Forum in Geneva/Cologny.
I write in English, and I’ve published two novels, Vol.1 and Vol.2 of a sci-fi trilogy, and a collection of crime drama short stories.
Tooting my horn a bit, I happen to be, after a year of publishing, the Italian writer of Sci-Fi most popular in Amazon US, with an Author Ranking floating between #500 and #600 out of millions of books on Amazon (latest count, over 8M).
My first novel, Vol. 1 in the Daimones trilogy, has won two Indie-pendent Publishing Awards: the 2012 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award in Science Fiction, and recently, 12th September, the 2013 Hall of Fame – Best Science Fiction novel, from the Quality Reads UK Book Club in collaboration with Orange Berry Book Tours.
Welcome, Massimo. Please start by describing how you began writing?
When I was a toddler, only allowed to use pencils and crayons, I lurked nearby as my father read Astounding Stories with those colorful covers. I wasn’t allowed to read them but the covers were enough to let me imagine the stories behind the images. I invented them based on those covers, and put them down on paper.
Did someone inspire you to write? Who and how?
Not really. I believe it is either there, or not. One can be encouraged, or dream “Oh, I wish I could write stories like this author, and that other”, but if it’s not there, it’s not there.
What’s your best time of day to write? On average, how many hours a day do you write?
I write during the day, and for as long as words arrive. When I’m having my lucid dreams and write I don’t keep track of how many hours or how many words. It can be a full day, with interruptions if I remember to pause for lunch, or when I can’t keep it in any longer and I need to visit the bathroom.
<chuckling> Does anyone need to be put in the mood? I’m in the mood all the time. When people ask me how I find time to write, I tell them time is always there; what’s difficult is stopping to do all the other things that need attention.
I know what you mean. Describe your favorite place to write.
I’m spartan. A chair and a desk at the right place. When I write, I’m elsewhere.
Do you ever wear your PJs all day while writing?
On weekends the tendency is there, but I have a wife who thinks otherwise.
Do you ever write naked?
All the time. A writer has to write without any cloth on, exposing the inner self without hiding anything. It’s the only way I know. Those who embellish their prose, look for words in a thesaurus to show erudition, or say “It’s the characters, I’m not involved and I’m not at all in what I write” lie to themselves and to their readers. Oh wait, you meant physically naked… J
What? Does the world go on when I’m writing? I never noticed.
Yes, the earth does keep spinning when we’re in our writing caves. Are your books published by a large publishing house or small press?
I’ve received inquiries from two traditional publishers, and that flattered me. However, I stopped short when they asked for MY business and marketing plan to promote my books. What? And your added value to my writing is? “Oh, nothing can beat having a book with a real publisher’s imprint on the cover and blah, blah, blah.” Trad Pubs have lost their grip on reality. They believe they still live in the 1900s when they were the gatekeepers of good literature. NOT! They desperately need to revisit THEIR business plan or they’ll soon become ‘has-been’ and useless. It’ll be good to see them disappear because those who remain will behave in line with the times.
A U.S. publisher for audiobooks, instead, contacted me with the right proposal. They like the trilogy premise and how the story evolves. They do all the work (I participate in the quality assurance process and have the last word on the narration), they’ll promote the audiobook, and I kept all the rights on the material. They even finished the audiobook with a final credit where they explicitly say that Massimo Marino holds all the rights worldwide for any digital and non-digital form. They have just produced the work and we share the revenues. I think traditional publishers should take this as a suggestion.
Wow! You don’t pull any punches. So, you’re self-published?
I’m an Indie writer, if that’s what you mean. Self-published has, in the mind of many, a stigma. People, and publishers, envision a loner who dumps words on a word document, writes “The End” after some time, and rushes to Amazon to hit “publish”. That’s not how an Indie writer works. That’s ‘trash-publishing’. Amazon and others created a (r)evolution and one of the greatest thing in publishing: they made it so that everyone can publish. They also gave birth to a monster: they made it so that everyone can publish. For myself, I work with various people at different levels (critique group, beta readers, proofreader, book cover artist, and editor) before I dare to make the manuscript public as an ebook and paperback.
I see your point. Just the other day I listened to an author talk about scams he ran into when he first self-published. Can you address this issue?
Yes, I can. Self-publishing is full of good and bad opportunities, editors and predators, con artists and scammers, and the road is full of traps for the wannabe writer. Amazon has changed radically the publishing scenario, and many traditional publishers have yet to realize how much the foundations of their beliefs and assumptions are cracked, and about to collapse. Still, indie authors should beware of offers that sound too good to be true.
Indeed! Would you explain how you develop your stories? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Sorry, but that distinction is too restricted for me. The line is blurred; sometimes I plot a bit, other times I explore how an idea could evolve. In any case, I rather tend to the organic development of a story, like “driving at night with your headlights on.”
Interesting, and I sort of agree. I use a rough outline, but my characters often lead in other directions. Now please tell us more about your trilogy.
Yes ma.am! I’ve published two novels so far: “Daimones”, Vol. 1 of the Daimones Trilogy, and “Once Humans”, Vol. 2 . “The Rise of the Phoenix”, Vol.3, is scheduled for release in July 2014.
The trilogy is a post-apocalyptic story where the human race has been culled by one of the dominant races in the galaxy. In Vol.1, “Daimones”, we are presented with a silent but deadly invasion that leaves the few survivors befuddled, wary, and broken. Dan and his family awake one day in a world where everyone is dead but no evidence points to a cause. Initial searches for survivors yield nothing and, in panic, the family turns their house into a stronghold.
Eventually, they find Laura, a survivor who manages to win their hearts…and leads Dan to temptation. Laura reveals her panicking encounter with strange entities which Dan recognizes in his childhood hallucinations.
Dan forces himself to find and confront them: An older power controls the fate of men. A few selected will face the ultimate quest: a painful genetic transformation and work toward the rebirth of a new human race, or oblivion and death in isolation.
In Vol.2, “Once Humans”, mankind is undergoing rebirth, the new arrivals closely watched by the Selected: the transgenic beings created by the Moîrai. The new communities thrive with the aliens’ support and peace and security reign on Eridu, as the planet Earth is known by the Moîrai and in the galaxy. But peace and security of the cradle are suddenly shattered by acts of sabotage set to disrupt the fragile balance of the fledgling communities.
The story reveals a cosmic conspiracy full of betrayal and fear, being hatched with the hope of pushing the world perilously close to the brink of self-destruction.
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