Mayra Calvani wrote to me a few days ago. She was introducing an author who has just had his book published and is about to have it released. I was taken by the subject matter of his book and offered to interview him immediately. I’m so glad I did because the story Rudy tells is very interesting. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Rudy Mazzocchi …
Aneeta: Hello Rudy. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Rudy: I appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself to your audience.
Aneeta: Let’s start with something about you. Please tell me where were you born, where did you grow up, what do you do for a living and where do you live now?
Rudy: I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (went to the University of Pittsburgh as a pre-med student), then on to Los Angeles for graduate studies at UCLA (in biophysics), started my first company in Minneapolis where I lived for nearly 10 years, then moved to Florida where I now reside and work as a CEO of an early-stage Ophthalmology Device company that is developing an electronic, autofocusing implantable lens for inside the eye.
Aneeta: One of the things I was intrigued about, from reading the stuff on your website (http://www.rudymazzocchi.com) is that you’ve been involved in authoring patents. What has this kind of work involved?
Rudy: Early in my career, I developed a curiosity for understanding medical procedures and the challenges and risks behind them (mainly in the fields of paediatrics, cardiology and vascular disease). I learned that physicians and surgeons love to teach, and if you’re sincere and ask good questions, they’ll tell you more than they know… you just have to listen. I then developed a knack for coming up with solutions and communicating them to engineers. This allowed me to file dozens of patent applications for novel devices, methods and processes… probably too detailed to describe here. However, writing a patent is another “storytelling” process. My first submission to the patent attorney (or directly to the patent office) is in the form of a synopsis that tells the story of what the “discovery” is all about and why I think it’s so unique compared to what is “known in the art” today.
Aneeta: Is there anything new in the embryonic stem-cell world?
Rudy: Good question—tough answer. I co-founded one of the first U.S. embryonic stem cell companies in 1999, just about the same time the Catholic Church declared this type of research as “unethical”. Ironically, the company was one of the 10-12 research entities that received conditional approval from President Bush to pursue such activities, but continued ethical and political pressures made it difficult to finance the company beyond a handful of dedicated private angel investors. The company was eventually acquired by a publicly-traded company in Australia. I am unaware of many “clinical” advancements here in the U.S. but know that international activities continue in several foreign countries.
Aneeta: So, from what I can understand, you’ve used all these experiences to come up with a novel. Please describe this novel in detail for me.
Rudy: Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that the Prologue is a factual reproduction of my experiences in a human genetic engineering laboratory when I was an undergraduate student. This was a time when we (and other researchers) were pioneering the extraction and culturing of fetal organs. The story then fast-forwards to current time when the junior research associate (yours truly) has grown into a successful entrepreneur-turned-venture-capitalist who agrees to fund a new start-up company that has designed a new “mobile” therapy unit intended to enhance one of the oldest and most prevalent medical procedures – abortion. Unbeknownst to the investors and employees, the extracted fetuses are contained in special chambers and solutions that are then shipped to a high-tech private facility in India where their organs are harvested and grown like hydroponic vegetables until they are large enough to be sold into the black market for human organ transplants. The story’s characters were hand-selected by an unknown, faceless evil syndicate, over the course of many years, to be manipulated into servicing this end-game. Their lives become a roller-coaster of emotions as the story unfolds to reveal a dark world of abortion, rape, human-trafficking, assassination and murder.
Aneeta: Before starting on this novel, did you attend any courses/classes on writing?
Rudy: None, zip, zero….
Aneeta: Naturally, your work will involve storytelling. What aspect of storytelling did you use most and why?
Rudy: My day-job as a start-up CEO involves a LOT of storytelling. The story needs to resonant with the physicians, researchers, investors and eventually new employees. Just like in writing a good novel, you always need to emphasize the human element. In the case of starting a medical technology company, I always start with describing the “unmet need” and how this new company is going to improve the quality of life of people. The company’s Mission Statement sets the theme for a story that cannot afford any loose-ends, mis-steps, or unknown conclusions.
Aneeta: As you know, this website caters for storytellers. What advice would you give those who would like to venture into storytelling?
Rudy: I believe the best stories are those in which you instil yourself, in which you put yourself in a position to be physically or emotionally “vested”. Once you do, the story because real and alive. Your passion, commitment, persistence, and intensity will then blur the lines between fiction and reality. In my opinion, these are the BEST stories!
Aneeta: Rudy, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Rudy: This is a new industry for me that I’ve only started to “learn” about 18 months ago. It’s fascinating and enjoyable. I’ve made writing my new hobby and pastime… (although I really do need to get back to the gym)!
Aneeta: Well, Rudy, welcome to the publishing industry! Thank you for giving us your time, here.
Rudy: It’s been a pleasure!
Rudy’s interview with Mayra Calvani
Congratulations on the release of your medical thriller, Equity of Evil! Tell us, what’s inside the mind of a medical thriller author?
I believe most (if not all) authors of medical thrillers have a direct connection to the medical or healthcare industry, either as a physician, researcher, caregiver or industry expert. A medical thriller author needs to capture all the necessary literary components of a successful novel, in addition to those of a suspenseful thriller, AND also include the correct medical terminology and technology description in such a way that the layman can seamlessly understand. The compelling thing about writing medical thrillers is that we have an opportunity to educate readers about real technologies that potentially impact each and every one of us. It’s a theme that every reader could potentially relate to.
Equity of Evil deals with the controversial subjects of abortion and genetic engineering. During the creation of this novel, were you worried about what the general reader’s response might be?
It is important for readers to understand that I made a substantial effort to not take either a Pro-Life or Pro-Choice position when using the abortion theme as a backdrop of this story. Neutrality on such a controversial topic is very difficult, but I believe that regardless of your political or moral position, the reader will find support in the words and actions of the book’s characters for whatever perspective they might have. However, sometimes a novel comes along that forces us to face the brutal reality of our world. If Equity of Evil produces a response from readers on these topics whom otherwise may have never given any thought about them, then I’ll consider myself a successful writer no matter how many books are sold!
Tell us about your protagonist, Roman Citrano. Share with us something about him that readers won’t be able to resist.
Roman is one of those rare individuals who we may all know… successful, charismatic, willing to take risks that only others talk about, but one that has also experienced as many failures as successes. Divorced many times, but always dating the woman who seems unapproachable, he gives the impression of a womanizer, but shows his embarrassment of being a man when he realizes that his new business venture has placed many of them in harm’s way. As many of us often do, he starts out with the best intentions, only to become a victim of his own ambition and self-determination. He’s human… very human.
It isn’t fair to leave the villain behind. Tell us something about Professor Marcus Levine that readers will love to hate.
Although they share a common desire to be successful, Professor Levine is just the opposite of Roman Citrano. He believes he’s untouchable, with an ego and insatiable desire for wealth that grows with each incremental step of his conniving plan. He’s a manipulative, lying, inhumane scientist who treats women as he does the animals in his research laboratory. Readers will find it easy to hate him!
Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?
Although I can personally relate to Roman, my main character, I favour Andrea who is not only dedicated to the field of medicine, but very passionate about providing care for her young patients. She’s a strong, independent woman who becomes an unfortunate victim, whose fight for survival turns into a search for justice and revenge.
Several scenes in your story are particularly violent against women. Were these scenes difficult to write?
Yes, there are several violent scenes in the story that were difficult to write, but this was not designed to focus on the atrocities against women, but the atrocities of our society. Many of these scenes were taken from reported incidences, in real environments, that unfortunately occur with real people all too often. Yes, they’re difficult to write about, but even more difficult to accept that they are a part of the dark side of our world.
What did you find most challenging, the scientific details of the story or the technical aspects of novel writing? Did you stumble along the way?
I’ve been living the scientific details of this story for a long time, so this is an easy one. I had to learn the basics of writing as I wrote this original manuscript. My first editor (Gerry Mills) had to school me on the fundamentals of point-of-view (POV), transitions, some basic grammar, and as I hate to admit it, often times… punctuation. I frequently stumbled, tripped, and fell along the way.
How long did it take you to write the novel and how did you find the time to?
It took approximately a year to research and write the initial manuscript. I became obsessed with writing during every flight (including long trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic flights), during long evenings in hundreds of hotel rooms, and during early morning and late nights over the weekend. Don’t all writers do this?
What do you want readers to get from Equity of Evil?
There are several new scientific innovations and breakthroughs that will impact our lives in the near future, and many more that will affect the next generation. We will have no choice about their existence… they’ll be here if we like it or not. Therefore, we all need to be aware of them and start to think about how society is going to accept and manage them. Equity of Evil touches on many of these medical and scientific innovations that are on the cusp of shaking up public and political views in the major nations of the world. I’m hopeful that this novel (and those underway) will help open up people’s willingness to process such new revelations that will surely disrupt our current moral and ethical opinions.
I hear you’re working on a second medical thriller. When will that one come out?
My second manuscript is well underway in hopes of releasing it near the end of the year. My goal is to make this the second of a trilogy that we might refer to as “The EQUITY Series”. It will carry a similar theme, but focus on a technology (which currently exists) that can allow us to re-wire the brain… a process known as “neuroplasticity”. Can you imagine a world in which we can eliminate fear, restore memories, create artificial desires and dislikes, or even eliminate pain?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
I just sincerely hope that my readers take away something positive from this story, while learning a little more about the advancement of medical technologies that many others don’t want to admit even could exist.
Read an excerpt of Equity of Evil:
Also on Amazon Kindle
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