Sunday Spotlight: Massimo Marino, Author of the Daimones Trilogy

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa
bookaholic@gmail.com with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today's author is Massimo Marino, author of the Daimones Trilogy, a work of post-apocalyptic, alien sci-fi. The concept of Massimo's trilogy is quite complex but don't fret because he kindly agreed to an interview in which everything will become clear!

Firstly, I'm sure you want to know what Daimones is actually about:

Dan Amenta woke up one morning to discover the world had changed...the Apocalypse had arrived. Death, destruction, and disaster were wreaking havoc across the globe. Yet Dan and his family remained untouched and he sensed some sort of supernatural power had left them the only three people alive on Earth. They were not. The efforts to survive and find others brought Dan to discover the disturbing truth about the human extermination. He met Laura, who brought revelations about the catastrophe, and her presence - a young, sexy, disruptive girl - raised questions about what was moral and ethical in the new reality. Other survivors reported what they had seen, forcing Dan to seek explanations from his own past. Ancient hallucinations strike Dan with the force of a sledgehammer and bring him face-to-face with his new role in a scenario with roots millions-of-years old. Planet Earth was now in the hands of an older power but not the one Dan had ever envisioned.







INTERVIEW:

Hi Massimo! 
Hello, Emily. Thanks for the chat.

Your Daimones Trilogy has a really complex concept! Would you mind explaining in a few words to our readers what that entails? 
Thank you. Its complexity came to birth and grew while I was working on the first novel. At first, the story found me and introduced itself as a single, complete, independent story. Then, it revealed it had other grandiose plans for me. It all started when I discovered in TIME magazine, and then searched in countless online articles from various newspapers around the world, about inexplicable deaths of scores of animals. They all have in common a peculiar element: the death occurs one species at the time; all others, even when they share the same ecosystem, are not affected. It doesn't look like what we’d expect from a natural cause. So, the ‘what if’ started.

I read that you have won or been nominated for a lot of awards for your work, did you ever expect it to go so far? 
I’m the first to be amazed and marveled. It’s another of those ‘what if’. I sent my novels (the first and the second, not yet tried with the third) to literary awards opened to all authors from all publishing paths. The response from the juries has been beyond expectation, but also the response from readers, I have to say.

I also read that you consider yourself a scientist envisioning science fiction, how do you think your scientific background has influenced your work? 
A lot. As a scientist, you need to have a prolific imagination. Fundamental research has a lot in common with reasoning and dreaming about ‘what ifs’ in the Universe. In addition to that, my scientific background allowed me to imagine future technology that are actually a possible evolution of our proven knowledge, or our yet-unproven edge science theories. I imagine today’s technology obstacles to prove them (or disprove them) as being solved, and envision what kind of impact will they have in our society, and what struggles they might cause.

Do you think people without that scientific background can still appreciate your work?
Depends on what work you are referring to. If you’re thinking of my academic works then the answer is probably ‘nope’ as they are rather specialistic writings, but my novels are accessible to all public. Being scientifically correct does not mean spending sterile pages of describing new technology… boring for the readers (and for the writer). Those are the pages readers skip. So no scientific background barrier in my novels. Actually, I have received private comments from readers who discovered science fiction through my books and thanked me: they didn’t expect science fiction to be as entertaining as other genres they liked. Science Fiction not just for geeks, and science fiction is not just laser swords, spaceships, aliens, and outwordly situations. It also is about emotional struggles, love, passion, doubts, fears, and all that make us humans resonate and be excited when we read a book.

You have a number of other books out, tell us about those. 
I wrote a small collection of five short stories, crime dramas, where I do explore the theme of tortured loves: they can lead to the most heinous and hateful crimes. Currently, I’m working of my fourth novel, “The Law”, a NA urban sci-fi that takes place in the same galactic order that emerged from the events narrated in the “Daimones Trilogy”. It is not a sequel per-se, though, and readers don’t need to have read the trilogy to appreciate “The Law”. “The Law” is about the reasons of the heart versus the diktats of the brain. The struggle between what you *feel* you must do, and what you *must* do because of how you feel. In “The Law”, I cover the themes of "Law and Order", racial tensions, repression for security, and love between two young members of different races who believe they can change the world. The events show how the suffering, violence, and hatred have their roots in the ignorance of the other.

What is the most difficult part of writing science fiction? 
It is about writing “science fiction”. Science Fiction is a story where the scientific element is crucial for the story to even exist. Without it, there’s no story. Some believe that writing science fiction means just putting their characters in the future, add aliens and techno-babble, describe spaceships and stars, and voilĂ , a science fiction story. Not so. If you can write the same story, have the same plot in contemporary times, without any real need of the scientific element in your story, then you’ve not written science fiction. This Occam Razor does not come from me, by the way, but from giants in the genre.
To make it more understandable: you may take a western story. Cowboys vs Indians, horses, guns and arrows, immense prairies and battles. Now change the horses into spaceships and X-Wing fighters units, cowboys into space troopers, indians into aliens, guns into death-ray guns and arrows into anti-matter blasters, immense prairies into the interstellar deep space, and battles… well battles will always be battles. Have you written a science fiction story? Some believe they did. Giants in science fiction, and I agree with them, say no, that you have just ‘dressed up’ a cowboy-indians western story with a space-suit. To those writer giants, and to the discerning science fiction readers it’s still cowboys vs indians. It’s the equivalent of B-series, low-budget movies. At best, you smile at the naivety.

What advice would you give new writers, particularly of sci-fi, out there? 
A bit along the lines of the above answer. Science Fiction is about exploring the human conditions facing struggles and life/death situations (not just physical death, but moral, and professional as well) that takes place in a world where the science evolution and extrapolation have made so that those struggles and life and death situations could arise. Then, they need to read, read a lot, in the genre but also in others. Read with a writer's eye, take notes of what prose triggers what reaction in you, and study the craft. Then, after you’ve read a lot, you might start dreaming about writing.

You told me that you have refused to sign contracts with traditional publishers and opted for self-publishing. Can you tell my readers more about that and perhaps give some advice for their own publishing endeavors? 
We are the witness of a (r)evolution in the publishing industry triggered by Amazon and the like. Jeff Bezos has opened the gates and the gatekeepers are looking at each other unsure of what to do. Self-publishing has created a marvelous thing: everyone can publish a book, and establish a one-to-many direct relationship with readers who buy and enjoy the new voices. There’s a terrible monster that haunts the publishing valleys, too: everyone can publish a book, and readers are exposed to the slush pile for the first time visible to the many. The advent of cheaper and cheaper flash printers, together with higher and higher print quality, makes so that printing books in advance hoping to sell them later is bound to disappear as a business model.
Books are already in online catalogues available to all bookstores. These last will have their own POD printers in the back office, and customer will access loads of online information about the authors and their listed works. A reader will be able to pay and download to a device with RFID (a short distance wi-fi service, think of bluetooth), and/or click to buy the printed edition. Get a coffee or a latte at the embedded BookStop Café and be served latte, cake, AND a freshly baked book, right on the spot.
No more distribution costs, no more returns. Every single printed book is printed because it has been bought. Bookstores will have a never ending catalogue and be able to sell any physical book.
Dinosaurs that will disappear are those publishers who still believe that their service and added value to writers is just to get published, and writers need to put up with everything else for that privilege. This business model is no more sustainable because the basis for it is no more. It will disappear, and those who don't change business plan will be soon forgotten and crumble faster than IBM did when the clone PC and the primitive Windows operating system made through to the market.
Don’t pay in order to be published (run from Vanity Press: they are the plague) but at the same time don’t jump with joy only because a publisher wants to print your story. Read the details of the contract, talk to other writers, ask for advices and you’ll discover that today writers receive, in general, contract terms as if digital publishing hadn’t happened yet, and expert freelancers in the publishing process to allow an Author to do what any publishing house does were nowhere to be found. The times have changed, and also agents and some publishers are starting to notice that. In those cases, the only answer available to a serious writer is “Thanks, but no thanks."

Have you any more ideas for books that we can look out for in the future? 
Of course. I wouldn’t call myself a writer or an author if I hadn’t. “The Law”, my WIP or work-in-progress, is the start of a new series, and more ideas and stories are lining up at the doors of my mind just because I’m writing it. In addition to that, I’ve co-founded a start-up, BookGarage, that will deal a lot with the publishing (r)evolution we are witness of and address, based on my experience, the needs of everyone involved in the creation and fruition of a book, and the reading pleasure that derives from it.

Finally, do you believe your books will inspire young people to get involved with science? 
Today’s science already flirts with science fiction. The work conducted at CERN, and its implications, opens the doors to a possible future that rivals with the best science fiction inventions from the greatest writers. The study of black holes and wormholes, space-time bending, instant communication, dark matter, and the understanding of the law of the Universe that would come from that are breathtaking. You can read some of those in my blog, or come with me in my writing journey.

Thank you for visiting us over at Confessions of a Bookaholic!
Thank *you*, Emily. I enjoyed every moment of it. All the best.

Follow Massimo on Twitter and check out his website
Check out Daimones on GoodreadsBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Amazon


I very much enjoyed hosting Massimo here at COAB, if you wish to partake just drop me an email. Next week's author will be Stephen Oram, author of Quantum Confessions

2 People dared to comment.:

michaelcargill said...

The name of the trilogy reminded me of that advert...

Mmmmm, Danone.

Author Massimo Marino said...

Michael, maybe it's as juicy and tasty as Danone :)

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