I am thrilled to welcome Alfred Martino to the blog today! Alfred’s debut novel, Pinned, was published in 2005 and was chosen as a Jr. Library Guild Selection, Capitol Choices nominee, and nominee for YALSA’s Best Book For Young Adults. His second novel, Over The End Line, was published in 2009 and centers around high school soccer. He’ll be telling us more about his latest novel, Perfected by Girls, which just came out last month.
Alfred is a graduate of Duke University and The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and is the co-founder and president of Listen & Live Audio, Inc., the premier independent audiobook publishing company in the US. With over 600 titles, Listen & Live Audio has worked with some of the finest narrators in the audiobook industry, including film legend Burt Reynolds, Penn Jillette of “Penn & Teller,” Frank Muller, Grover Gardner, George Guidall, Simon Prebble and the incomparable Katy kellgren. The company has won 3 consecutive Odyssey Honor Awards, 10 Audie Awards, and dozens of AudioFile ‘Earphones’ and Publishers Weekly ‘Listen Up’ Awards. The company has also had the privilege of recording many high-profile books, including the New York Times bestseller The Jane Austen Book Club, The Darwin Awards series, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook series, as well as authors Donna Hanover, Carol O’Connell, David Rosenfelt, Leil Lowndes, LA Meyer, Barbara Corcoran, Karen White, and Cassandra King.
A native of Short Hills, NJ, Alfred has been a resident of Jersey City, NJ, since 1998. He is the proud companion to two wonderful rescue dogs, Daisy and Sara. Visit his website at http://www.alfredmartino.com.
Tell us about you new book Perfected by Girls.
Perfected By Girls is about sophomore Melinda Radford, who is the lone girl on the Ashton High wrestling team (in Michigan), grappling with opponents who refuse to compete against her, a few who want to crush her, and a coach who’s less-than-pleased having a female in his practice room. At home, Mel’s parents forbid her from seeing her new boyfriend, her grandmother insists she start preparing for her future by taking a dreary office internship, and her infuriating older brother, who’s the varsity team captain, flirts with her best friend, Jade. Just when it seems things can’t get any more complicated, an off-handed comment puts Mel at odds with her teammates, her brother, and, worst of all, her coach. But through a twist of tragedy and fate, Mel is given an unexpected opportunity to accomplish something no girl in her school’s history has ever done—something that just may redeem her in the eyes of her detractors.
How did you get the idea for this book?
My debut novel, Pinned, was about boys high school wrestling. I thought girls amateur wrestling was worthy of a similar book, particularly since it is one of the fastest growing sports among girls in middle and high school.
How did you first get started writing?
When I was in high school I wrote a lot of teen angst poetry and short stories (some of which weren’t too bad). But then I got away from writing fiction in college and grad school, though I’m not sure why. The writing bug bit me again at the end of grad school, mostly because I was out in Los Angeles (at the University of Southern California getting my MBA) and everyone in Los Angeles is writing a screenplay for film or TV.
What is your writing process like? Do you write on a computer? In a spiral notebook?
I prefer to write at night, the later the better. Most of the time, I sit at my computer in my condo with my dogs sleeping at my feet, though sometimes I’ll go to a local coffee shop and write in a small notebook.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
A good writing session leaves me as satisfied as a good physical workout, though obviously not as tired or sweaty. Of course, sometimes I try to write and it is frustrating and tedious. The idea is to write as often as possible so that you’re able to create those few gems amid a lot of junk.
How do you deal with disappointment or discouragement?
Oh, boy, if someone wants to be a writer but she has difficulties with rejection, she is going to have a very short career. Writing is all about disappointment, on a number of levels. First, you have to expect that only a portion of what you put down on paper or type on a computer is going to be any good (the rest you will eventually discard). Then, of course, the process of getting critiqued and, eventually, trying to be published, is chock full of disappointment and discouragement. But if someone wants to be a writer, he simply must accept that there will be many obstacles to overcome and, instead, focus on the craft of writing. That may sound cliche, but nothing is more important than writing the best story, character, plot, etc., that you possibly can.
What is your biggest advice for young people reaching for their dreams?
I tell middle school and high school students this all the time, though I’m not sure it sinks in. If you want to be a writer, find one or two other people who do, as well. They can be friends, classmates or whatever. Then start a writing group, whereby, on a weekly basis, each of you gets to have a portion (say, five pages) of your material read and critiqued. This is so important for a number of reasons. First, you can’t write in a vacuum. You have to develop a thick enough skin to be critiqued without it setting you back mentally (plus, you’ll get wonderful ideas from the others in your writing group). In addition, you will become a better writer by critiquing others and understanding what does, and doesn’t, work in a story. Finally, it’s nice to be around other writers who are in the same boat as you are.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Those who are interested can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
author, speaker, freelance writer
founder of Write On! Books and Write On! For Literacy