Sunday, June 12, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Stephen Martino, author of 'The Hidden Reality'

Stephen 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 that 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.”

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Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I find creating a complete outline of a book before writing it creates a better overall writing experience. Before starting The Hidden Reality, I read a multitude of books and articles for well over 2 years in order to research content for my novel. After compiling a massive pile of notes, I sat down and wrote a rather lengthy outline. In fact, the outline took me almost 20 hours to create. Plus, I had been ruminating for months, imagining scenes and different plots for the novel. Finally, when I went actually wrote the book, it flowed almost effortlessly. 

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

Those that wish to be published need to learn humility. In fact, I’ve never been so rejected since I was on the dating scene back in high school. I felt as if I could wallpaper my entire house with all the rejection letters from different agents and publicist. However, rejection made my writing better and my pitch more powerful. After a litany of failures for a year and a half, I had many offers from publishers come in all at once. I’m not sure if it my persistence or simply my naiveté that kept me going.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

I loved the owners of Light Messages Publishing. Honestly, if they lived close to me, I’d have them over for a big Italian dinner. They were honest and encouraging from the first moment I spoke with them. Plus, they did everything they promised and have been there with me since I first signed with them. There are many choices I have made in my life. Fortunately, this one was a definite winner!

How did you choose your cover?

First of all, I’d like give my publisher, Light Messages, complete credit for creating my book cover. Honestly, I was completely thrilled with the first draft they provided me. After only 2 minor changes, with the last one making the Greek helmet three-dimensional in appearance, the cover was complete.

Not only does the cover portray a tantalizing picture, but it also provides a glimpse into the essence of the story and dichotomous nature of the book. To begin with, holographic pictures and encrypted codes on the cover set a futuristic tone meant to convey the fact that The Hidden Reality is a dystopian, science fiction thriller set in the year 2084. It’s a future whereby we have surrendered all of our personal rights to a New World Order government run by an international banking institution. It’s also is a time when the First Amendment and Second Amendment to the Constitution are but a distant memory. In contrast, it is additionally an astounding era whereby both scientific and medical achievements rival one’s imagination and make the reader ponder if mankind can achieve such amazing accomplishments.

The Hidden Reality also takes the reader back almost 2500 years into the past and away from a dystopian future which may ultimately become our own fate. The daunting Greek helmet which seems to jump out of the cover represents the ancient clash between the East and West, which is just as apropos 2500 years ago as it is today. It’s a time when the army under Alexander the Great collided with the Persian Empire ruled by King Darius III. Both historically accurate and militarily precise, the reader will find themselves in the middle of an epic battle between East and West that shaped the course of history for millennium to come. Known ironically as the Battle of Isis in the history books, this clash of 2 great armies and their perspective cultures may be a harbinger of what lies ahead in our own future.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I leave my revisions until the end. When I start writing, I just want to barrel through the novel until the very last chapter. Because I create an in-depth outline before I start writing, the process, once started, flows rather easily. If I had to stop and revise my writing over and over, the novel wouldn’t have the same flow and cohesiveness.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 
The swag for The Hidden Reality is the ancient Greek helmet seen on the front of the novel. For publicity, I used the helmet on bookmarks, shirts, and even pens. Vistaprint and I are now on first person speaking terms.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

Book giveaways are a great way to promote your novel. With my previous book, I received some great feedback and reviews as a result. Luke 6:38 reads, “Give, and you shall receive.” I wholehearted believe in this philosophy whether it be in promoting my book or other aspects of my life.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

1.      Send out Advanced Reading Copies of the novel. These copies will build hype in your book and allow you to receive some valuable feedback as a result.
2.      Make sure your social media skills are up to par. Be familiar with multiple social media avenues and garner as many friends and loyal followers as you can.
3.      You have to have a website. It is the easiest way to promote your book. The better the website and its content, the more traffic you will generate as a result.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

1.      Do something on a daily basis to promote your book. Your effort to have your novel read needs to be consistent. Whether it’s making a call, writing a post, or even talking to a friend, not a day should go by without someone new hearing about your creation.
2.      Add content to your website in order to drive traffic through it. Just because you have a website, no matter how exceptional may be, means people will actually visit it. Give your audience and potential readers a reason to come see it. I have my blog on my author’s website. Through blogging and adding content, I can generate more traffic and sales as a result. Plus, I can directly email my followers about deals and other promotions.
3.      Stay calm. Book sales will come in. It just takes some persistence. When one avenue of promotion fails to bring in numbers, try another one. Be fluent and ready to rethink your sales strategy to meet the needs of your consumer. Plus, take advise from others who have succeeded. I love to speak with accomplished authors and listen to their own personal success stories.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?
For the past 2 years I have become active of Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, Reddit, Pinterest, and Quora. Before having my first novel published, I never knew what most of these outlets were. There was a huge learning curve at first. However, this is how publicity is generated. It’s quick, free, and can reach a worldwide audience.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I plan to make a trilogy. My current book, The Hidden Reality, is the second stand-alone novel of the series. In fact, once this trilogy is complete, I hope to create a prequel series.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

I wrote The Hidden Reality more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code or Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. These books not only tell a fantastic story but they also make the reader think. So what I did in The Hidden Reality was incorporate certain pressing topics that effect our word today such the unprecedented world-wide economic debt, globalism, clash of East and West, and the rise of big government while combining it with some interesting subjects such as Ancient Greek military history, the concept of an Open Society, and futuristic scientific concepts.

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, I incorporated these high-concept ideas into The Hidden Reality and attempted to make sense out the pandemonium that surround us on a daily basis.

Please visit me on my website:
The Hidden Reality can also be purchased on:
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