My guest today is Rudy A. Mazzocchi, author of the multi-award-winner medical thriller, EQUITY OF FEAR, the 2nd installment in his Equity series, published by Twilight Times Books. In this interview, the author tells us about his life as an author as well as a med-tech, start-up C.E.O., about his inspiration for his latest novel, and about how he landed his top-tier NY literary agent, among other things. Enjoy the interview!

Thanks for being my guest on Blogger News today, Rudy! Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I’ve been a med-tech, start-up C.E.O. since the late 80s, and have founded/co-founded approximately a dozen medical device or biotechnology companies. Prior to my debut novel, EQUITY of EVIL, my writing was confined to the drafting of business plans, patent applications and financing documents.  However, my career in this industry has provided me with “early access” to medical sciences in the development phase sometimes 8-10 years before they are ever approved for commercial use. Many of these technologies deal with very controversial topics; (e.g. human genetics, cloning, use of aborted fetal materials, etc.). These novels are designed to not only inform the reader, but to challenge them to think about how some of these new innovations are going to impact our society, political and ethical views… all while attempting to entertain.

Do you have another job besides writing?

I am also currently C.E.O. of a new Ophthalmology company called ELENZA that is developing an electro-active “autofocusing” implantable lens. This lens will also have the ability to wirelessly retrieve, accept, store and send data to an external source. It’s been compared to the implantable version of “Google Glass”; (htpp://www.elenza.com).   I am also on the Board of Directors of several public and privately-held technology companies in the U.S. and Europe.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

EQUITY of FEAR is the second book in The EQUITY Series – a combination business/medical thriller that is based on true medical science currently under development. This technology was initially designed to eliminate fears; (such as the fear of flying, fear of insects, or fear of the dark). Researchers quickly learn that this methodology can also be used to restore memories in an Alzheimer’s patient, or perhaps even alter or eliminate bad memories. The story is about an altruistic young CEO who attempts to license the technology to a large Japanese conglomerate, which has ulterior motives for its use.

This is another dark story where scientists experiment on orphaned children rather than rhesus monkeys, where torture and pain become just another set of data points, and lives are discarded for the sake of owning the ability to control the function of the brain.

Did your book require a lot of research?

Yes, although I was very familiar with this technology, I had to research many of the other related physiological brain functions. Same for the location… although I’ve been to Japan several times, there was a great deal of research required to better understand geography, history and the details of various locations.

What was your goal when writing this book?

As with all the books in this EQUITY Series, the goal is to entertain as well as inform the reader of new medical sciences that might be many years away from being commercially available.  As with any life-altering technologies, there’s the possibility that they could negatively impact each and every one of us if misused or controlled by industries or governments for self-serving reasons. I hope that these novels simply make the reader aware of such developments so we all can be better prepared to deal with any future social or political issues that might shroud their use. 

What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?

These first two novels (EQUITY of EVIL and EQUITY of FEAR) are based on true events and/or prior experiences. However, given the exposure to all of these new innovations allows me to fantasize about the “what ifs” and “why nots” of such technology.  It’s probably the reason why these novels seem to become so scary and dark.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

The first book (EQUITY of EVIL) took approximately three years to write, edit and publish. This included time to chase down a literary agent and publisher. Once this was in place, it only took one year to write, edit and release my second book (EQUITY of FEAR).  Given the challenging theme of the third book in this series, I believe it will probably take two years to complete.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

Given my background and experiences, I strive to combine both a business and medical theme in these thrillers. I’m most passionate about showing the challenges that business people in the medical industry are confronted with, and the vulnerable positions they’re put into when it comes to providing quality care at the highest profit and personal gain possible. I strongly believe that those of us in the healthcare industry make this a profession because we care about people and the technology that improves the quality of life, but we’re also business people who have bottom line responsibilities. I hope that this conflicting struggle shows itself properly in these stories.

Do you have an agent?  How was your experience in searching for one?

Yes, I really wanted to go the conventional route and identify an agent and publisher rather than pursue “self-publishing”. My agent is Erica Silverman at Trident Media Group in New York. The process started with a review of the top 20-25 agencies that seemed to have an interest and/or focus in the thriller/suspense genre.  The field narrowed quickly as many simply told me that they wouldn’t even consider a first time author! Erica finally took a chance and indicated they would consider representing me if (and only if) one of their top freelance editors found some quality in my initial manuscript. John Paine was that editor who saw some substance in that draft and triggered the commitment by Trident to engage me as their client.

What are your favorite books/authors? Why?

A few really stand out: Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and of course, Coma by Robin Cook.  Obviously, I favor medical themes, but Crichton and Huxley were also masters at combining (futuristic) science fiction with believable storylines. I am also a big fan (for different reasons) of Hunter S. Thompson.  Hunter had a wonderful way of showing the dark under-belly of his stories while avoiding going too far to offend the reader.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Website:  http://www.rudymazzocchi.com

Blog Site: http://rudymazzocchi.wordpress.com

Wikipedia Page:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_A._Mazzocchi

Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I have started my research for the third book in this Series based on the controversial topic of euthanasia. It will follow the same theme as the first two books, and even include another appearance by our friend, Roman Citrano.  I also have an outline completed for two non-fiction books, but I’m already being asked to prioritize what will most likely be titled, EQUITY of LIFE.

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