Books Featured author Monday guest author Online interview

Monday Author Meetup: Massimo Marino


Massimo MarinoToday, I’m fortunate to host my online friend, Italian author of post apocalyptic fiction, Massimo Marino.

About the author:

Massimo says,

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.

Daimones Combo

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.

wlEmoticon-embarrassedsmile.png  Okay then. Ahem, do you use scented candles, music, wine, chocolate, etc., to put you in the mood to write?

<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

wlEmoticon-rollingonthefloorlaughing.png Just asking you what you asked me on your site. When you stop laughing . . . can you write amid noisy distractions or do you need absolute quiet?

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.

Once Humans Combo

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.

Purchase Massimo’s books here:

http://www.amazon.com/Daimones-Trilogy-1-ebook/dp/B0083IHV5I/

http://www.amazon.com/Once-Humans-Daimones-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DJL3B9O

MM can be found at:

http://www.amazon.com/Massimo-Marino/e/B008O53L5O/
http://massimomarinoauthor.com
http://www.facebook.com/MassimoMarinoAuthor
https://twitter.com/Massim0Marin0

As well as on Pinterest and Google+

38 comments on “Monday Author Meetup: Massimo Marino

  1. Lyn and Massimo thank you for this wonderful blog interview. I plan on reading your books Massimo. Until now I’ve written Historical but I’ve had futuristic tumbling in my head for a long time. Thank you for honesty about Indie and Traditional publishing.

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    • Sharla, thanks for your comment, and I do hope my novels will ‘talk’ to you. Don’t worry if they don’t, it’s because with you they’ll be mute, your ears are find and for a different message on a different dimension. A few comments on my over 200 reviews combined in Amazon and Goodreads say that my stories are either loved or hated. I’m glad no one said they were dull and uninteresting. Ok, maybe one, but no one will know why from that feedbacker.

      What I sense is that Indie writers are seen like smoke in the eyes (don’t worry, in my narration I don’t use clichés 😉 ) by publishers, and even attacked at times by traditional writers. I scorn this definition and label-fest trends. Writers are writers, the one who care for their writing and work at many levels before being satisfied and aim for publishing. Publishing today happens through different venues, and I’ll welcome the day when Indie writers will be accepted into writers’ associations without oblique looks. Are serious Indie writers bad because they’ve self-published? We did like Hemingway, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lord Byron, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, Ezra Pound, William Strunk, Kipling, and George Bernard Shaw. I like the company.

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  2. great job, Massimo and Lyn. love it. I especially enjoyed the part in which Massimo discussed traditional publishing. way to go! already tweeted it out into space. hugs, you guys!

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  3. Great article, Massimo. I completely agree with this statement, ” 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.” As with any industry, once the doors open you’ll have those who rush to publication and those who have the process in place to put forth the best work they possibly can. I am glad to hear that you take all of those necessary steps to refine your work.

    I don’t think publishers have lost their minds, as they still hold the only avenue for gaining certain media attention as well as gaining prime real estate on brick and mortar bookseller table space, though booksellers, sadly, appear to be phasing out books and brining in novelty items. (Hate that!). I still have faith that some middle ground will eventually be reached/formed between traditional and indie pubs. They tried with the paperback deal with Bella Andre, but word on the street is that they lost too much money in handling a solo print deal to do more of them. Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that a strong book or series has the potential to outsell the advances put forth by trad pubs in under 30 days. Rare, but it happens enough for it to be a consideration, so I’m not sure what that “middle ground” might be, but I still think there will be something that happens in the future to merge the benefits of bookstores to the strong writing of many indies. Time will tell, I suppose.

    Trad pubs are also now getting into reduced ebook prices with more selling at $4.99 than ever before and even promoting them on BookBub at $1.99, cutting into the benefit of hands-on control by indies.

    We’re in a very interesting time in publishing, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. Writing is not easy, publishing is very easy, and marketing is head over heels difficult for most. But the one thing all traditionally pubbed and indie authors have in common is that we are all writers in the general sense (taking the avenue of publication out of the picture all together), and because of that I believe authors of all levels should work together to help each other succeed and part of that equation is bringing ideas to the table to publishers and indie authors.

    Wow, sorry – jumping off soapbox and hanging head in shame. I didn’t mean to hijack your thread.
    🙂 I’m glad I saw your post. xox

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    • Melissa, great comment. Thanks, glad you saw this interview. You highlight good points—as usual with you 😉 —and I agree we’re living interesting time. It’s sad to see bookstore disappear and it is also interesting to realize the full range of the (r)evolution is yet to be grasped and understood. I do not claim I can see the future, even if as a sci-fi writer I’m inclined to.

      Traditional publishing suffers from price cuts, still high costs of distribution, and wasted money on printed editions that do not go 100% sold. The mantra that a writer has arrived because his/her physical book has arrived to the bookstore will loose its appeal in the medium term future. Bookstores whose business model is to fill physical shelves of books—with publishers having to sustain the costs of the returns (what an incredible waste of resources)—and hoping external promotion, and internal mentoring will keep readers coming and buying is not sustainable in light of better models and of publishing on demand.

      The bookstore has to transform itself, it has to become like an traditional english club, with little to no inventory, a mansion like private library with *some* books for patrons to browse while relaxing with a cup of tea or a delicious decadent tri-chocolate fudge cake. Book is stained, not an issue, it’s there for this purpose. Chat and book clubs evening will be hosted on the bookstore. And the books? Who does the sales?

      Multiple vending points with online catalogue accessible at any moment, touch screens with a friendly UI (User Interface) can bring to patrons the news of any book available, reviews, author’s interviews, videos and book trailers, and the ebook can instantly be downloaded on the patrons device or sent remotely to the device at home… AND… instant print facility. No in-stock/out-of-stock. The book is printed within one minute in multiple formats, mass-trade, paperback, hardcover, special edition. No returns, no inventory, every single physical book is sold, every single physical book is printed on demand IN the bookstore. Selling like a hot buns.

      Publishers will still sell their titles, and they will become market juggernauts, making the online exploration a joy for the reader. No distribution expenses, no returns to buy back, no waiting for out-of-stock, no ordering and “We’ll call you when we’ll receive it.”

      Instant gratification. Would you spend time with a savvy librarian chatting on what best I could read today? I would, and I would also enjoy the warm touch of a freshly baked new book.

      A dream? A vision? The technology is there. The imagination should not be lacking to make of the above an even better vision.

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      • Hi Massimo, thanks for the response.

        We had Borders here in the US and they had the cafe and bookstore including ebooks, and they failed. Barnes and Noble offers the same — they’re going under. I like your premise, but the equipment to purchase the books on demand would be too costly for small bookstores (I’d imagine) and larger ones sell real books because people can come in and browse, touch, feel, leaf through, etc. A catalogue (online) of a million books will not likely sustain a bookstore even if the ability to print is there and available.

        Society is a bit lazy, if you have not noticed. I highly doubt you’d have people leaving their house to go to such a venue. Even ereader haters will probably succumb to the ereader market out of laziness of sifting through a catalogue – or worse- only NYT bestseller would sell in bookstores bc who can afford to get their name out to millions of print readers? See the issue.

        It’s a great idea, I’m just not sure it’s viable financially. Then again, I have no idea what the solution is to this quandary. A very manpower heavy screening for bookstores of indie books along with trad pub books? The agents are their screens now, but that would be a nightmare. I guess time will tell:-) OF course, now I want tea and a muffin:-)

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        • Not now, but Borders and B&N had only midway. They added spaces to sit and read to a regular bookstore. I would add books to a regular café. The equipment would not be readily available but transporting books around the country, and than back to the warehouses, is a waste of energy and resources. I’d say give it time, and the flash paperback print-point will come to life, and there are simply too many writers around (the monster created by Amazon) for a manpower managed business model. It is inadequate that too. There are simply too many books around that stream from various rivers. The Agent, Publisher combo… I can’t see it resist the flood.

          Writers will not query Agents, Agents will query Writers, a bit as it happens today in sports. An athlete does not spend his time rushing 40 yards here and there to convince an Agent to pick him up. He goes through the filters of high-school, College football, and agents scout them.
          The same will happen in the future, Agents will go through Writers profiles, their online presence, read abstract and excerpts and they will contact the Writer to propose their services.

          I don’t see gatekeepers in a world that runs on optic fibers communication 🙂

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        • chocolate muffin and green tea? 🙂

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        • Agents have already started querying the top indies, so you are onto something:-) Yes, I shall meet you for green tea and a muffin and we can look through our digital catalogues and read our little hearts out — or write our little hearts out! It will be fun to watch the evolution of things to come, but I already miss “good” bookstores. I hate seeing tokens in bookstores. I love, love, love the feel of a paperback in my hands.

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        • I agree. The book in your hand is a different feeling than a fresh download on a kindle. And imagine the feeling when it’ll be served still a bit warm, just baked out for you on the spot 😉

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  4. Those covers on Astounding and the like also 1960s and 70s film posters really informed my stuff too. Great interview. Really enjoyed reading.

    Cheers

    MTM

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  5. Great interview and I agree with him totally. Indie is the way to go and we will learn to market and find ways to have our books seen by readers. Publishing houses aren’t the answer for most writers and they take the control in ways to make the story sell but maybe not keep it pure to its story. Good for him to be so successful and keep that perspective. He could even go to a movie and film without ever going through a publishing house. They are out there looking for what is unique.

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    • texasdruids

      Rain, thanks so much for stopping in. You touch on an important point. We don’t need a publishing house to acquire a movie or TV deal. A NY Times and USA Today listed author, who also belongs to Yellow Rose RWA, my home chapter, spoke last Friday at a writers forum I was fortunate to attend. She has turned down offers from New York houses because she makes more money as an indie than they offered. However, she does have an agent who handles foreign book deals, movie deals and such. Something to consider.

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    • Thank you, rainnnn for your comments. I believe an Agent today—with the current scenario—is still beneficial and can open channels invisible and obstructed to an Indie writer. But I think the times are a-changing, as in my last reply to Melissa, here.

      And as Lyn says, the cases where an Indie writer would refuse a publisher offer will become more and more common. Just give it time. The (r)evolution is at its first day. 😉

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  6. Great interview! Massimo seems to be able to write, write, write. I struggle when writing in English, since it’s not my first language. Every word on the page is pulled from my brain with a corkscrew. I long for the day they just flow.

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    • Thank you, Carole. And thank you even more for your comment about my writing as English is not my first language, either.

      But something must have happened to my brain, when I was first visited by a Moîrai. I happen to dream in different languages. My brain has been screwed by a superimposed alien hand.

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  7. Great interview. I tweeted.

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  8. Hi Lyn, Massimo, great interview and great answers. I liked the question and response on traditional publishers versus smaller publishers. Kharis Macey

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    • I believe, Kharis, that today’s scenario has changed too much and too quickly for a business plan conceived a few centuries ago. What we witness is not a smooth evolution of publishing as publishing enjoyed in the past. Current business plan holds no more, acquisition and mergers of publishing houses are a warning bell, bookstores closing down are a screaming warning bell. Those who could and should change can’t see it happen or are fighting against it.
      I might be harsh, but those who are adamant against all changes will be ‘has-beens’.

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  9. Great interview, Lyn and Massimo.

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  10. Thanks, Lyn, for hosting me here. And thanks to you, the reader, who took the time to get through each line and find this comment. I hope one day to rapture you, too.

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