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The First Page: The Hidden Reality by Stephen Martino

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The First Page is one of Beyond the Book’s newest features. Here we get a glimpse into an author’s work and what better place to begin than the first page? Authors share their first pages and answer a few questions about why they started their books off the way they did. Today we welcome Stephen Martino author of The Hidden Reality.

About the Book:

The Hidden Reality

Title: The Hidden Reality
Author: Stephen Martino
Publisher: Light Messages
Pages: 318
Genre: Science Fiction/Political Thriller

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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The First Page

October 11, 1786 Landsbut, Bavaria

THE HYPNOTIC MELODY of the whistling wind and the patter of raindrops hitting the roof ordinarily proved more comforting to Xavier von Zweck than the most angelic lullaby. On this night, the grandfather clock had just chimed 2:00 a.m., and Xavier could barely close his eyes, let alone fall asleep.

Insomnia was no friend of his but had become an accustomed bedtime partner over the past year. Though the night was unusually warm and muggy for a Bavarian October, Xavier pulled another quilted blanket over his body, covering himself as if he were trying to make a cocoon.

“Xavier?” his wife mumbled, half asleep. “You’d rest better with the lamp off.”

“Mind your own business,” he quipped. Not wanting to start another argument, his wife simply turned away and drifted slowly back to sleep as if nothing had occurred. She had become accustomed to her husband’s quick fits of temper and erratic behavior. The man she married in her late teens was certainly not the man she had grown to know over the past year. His gentle, caring demeanor had been transformed into one of paranoia and fear. Though she cared for him dearly, their relationship dwindled as quickly as Xavier’s sanity.

If she only knew, Xavier thought. She would not be sleeping so soundly.

He double-checked his bedside table drawer for the tenth time that night to ensure that his gun was in the proper place. He had loaded the flintlock pistol and stowed it there in case of any emergency. Assured the gun was where he stored it, Xavier rolled on his back and looked blankly up at the ceiling. It was such a noble and just cause, he lamented. The enlightenment we would have brought to Bavaria, if not the world, would have made the Renaissance pale in comparison. Now they hunt us down like a pack of dogs, wanting to rid their country of any contrary thoughts or points of view. The government and church are nothing more than instruments of suppression that hinder man’s true nature to achieve enlightenment and pursue humanitarianism.

Interview:

Welcome Stephen. Can you tell us what your book is about?

The Hidden Reality is about our potential future. 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 a time when the First Amendment and Second Amendment to the Constitution are but a distant memory.

The main character of the book is a brilliant inventor and neuroscientist by the name of Alex Pella. While attempting to undermine this New World Order, Alex must also face the hidden truths about his own genetic heritage that are slowly destroying him and confront a long-forgotten enemy almost 2500 years old.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

The first page of my novel hopefully not only draws the reader into the book but it also establishes the tone for the entire novel. The intrigue and suspense felt after reading this page only intensifies throughout the story. Plus, beginning The Hidden Reality, which is set in the year 2084, back in 1786 only proves to weave more mystery into the story and makes the novel’s plot and eventual climax that much bigger. Plus, I enjoy placing the reader in a different time and place at the beginning of each of my novels. Though the research can be daunting in creating historically accurate fiction, the end result only strengthens the story.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

The real question is how many times was just the first sentence changed? Though I had created an elaborate outline for the first chapter and spent hours plotting its creation, actually starting the that initial sentence proved the most daunting task. I sat looking at a blank screen all morning, just praying for some sort of inspiration. I would write a sentence and then erase it. Sometimes I would type a single word and then delete it. The more I thought about what I wanted to write, the more I attempted to get myself into character and feel as if I were in that room on that rainy night. After completely visualizing the scene using all my senses, I was eventually able to write that first sentence and make it flow. What a relief!

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

By the time the book was published, I had edited the page so many times that I felt as if I could recite it from memory. Plus, my editor and proofreader also went through it with a proverbial fine tooth comb and made multiple corrections of their own. In the end, there was nothing more that I could do or change. I was pleased with the final product. Plus, obsessing over the page now would only be counterproductive. Truthfully, once a book is finally published, there are too many other things to obsess about.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

The honest truth is that if your reader doesn’t like the first page and it doesn’t draw them into the story, your book is done. It will go either in the trash or donated to a library or charity. Plus, if it were that uninteresting, the reader could write a poor review for you on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Nobles. Hundreds of books are being published each day. You have to make your book stand out among the crowd and give the reader a reason to finish your novel. Without that reason, there is another book waiting to take its place.

About the Author

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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