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September Spotlight

Tito Martinez Barberi facts...

Tito Martinez is a Sci-Fi / Fantasy author who was born in Mexico City

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am a photographer, designer and translator. I’m single, currently living in the city of Puebla, Mexico, with my cat, Dani. I do translation and copyright work for a living, and I’ve been working on my current fantasy/sci-fi series The Keeper of the Balance for the past 8 years.

Tell us your latest news

I’m currently translating The Warriors of Balance, book 2 of The Keeper of the Balance series, to Spanish. I’m also working on the few final chapters of The Order of the Ancestors, book 3 in the series, which I hope to have published in November!

Have you ever finished reading a book (OR...been intrigued by a synopsis) and wished you could get to know one of the characters a little better? Well here's a sneak peek into the heart and mind of Earlyan Marnes from The Keeper of the Balance Series...

Earlyan, tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? Is there anything you would like your fans to know about you that maybe wasn't revealed in your story?

I was born in Lúnembril, the biggest city in my planet, Akaladia. I never really liked it there, to be perfectly honest. I prefer small towns and open spaces. Something that many people don’t know about me is that I love animals. I had a cat that grew up with me till I was 12. I wept like a widow when it died!

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I grew up with my family in a nice, quiet neighborhood in the suburbs of Outer Lúnembril. My childhood was a little weird, because I was diagnosed with serious brain energy problems as a toddler and I was put to all kinds of tests. In the end, it all turned out to be part of a major scam designed to kill me when I was older! Fortunately that didn’t work out too well for my enemies (laughs).

What makes you, the Earlyan Marnes, so special?

That’s a good question. Some would say it’s the fact that I’m smarter than the average person. But I think what sets me apart from most people is my resilience and my desire to do what’s right above all other things.

Tell me about your reputation and how it has impact your life and your relationship?

Well, my enemies have made me out to be this dangerous madman escaped from an asylum! Just between us, I do believe I’m a dangerous man…and you have to be a little crazy to do all the stuff I’m learning to do (laughs). But it’s all for the common good. As for relationships…I was never any good with the girls. And the first time a girl reacted positively to my advances it was because she was ordered to capture me! That’s made me wary of the opposite sex, but I’m working out my issues with my mentor’s help…hopefully!

Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you wished you had done differently?

I wish I was better at expressing myself. I have trouble getting along with most people and letting my feelings show. I also hate to lie! I wish I could’ve been more honest to my friends, but I had to keep a lot of things from them for their own good, you see?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Given my current circumstances, I don’t even know if I’ll make it that far (laughs). But you’ve got to stay positive, as my mentor says. So I guess I see myself as a warrior, fighting to liberate my world from its current oppressors, the evil secret society of the Selected. I want to find a way to let the people of my world know about all of the injustice and the atrocities that the Selected have done to us all.

If there was one thing you could change about your past what would it be?

I never wanted to be deemed special, but I was destined to live the mess that’s been my life so far. I always wanted to be a normal person and to blend in with the rest of the crowd, but then again I always wanted to live an adventure! So I guess I wouldn’t really change a thing…except for my family’s fate, which is something I’m not ready to talk about yet…

If you could go anywhere with one person, who would you take and where would you go?

Oh, that’s easy. I would take Naheli Menares, my real first girlfriend, to a nice, little, secluded beach (we have beautiful beaches in Akaladia!) on a romantic getaway.

Describe something that happened to you for which you have no explanation?

When I was thirteen, I used to see this bald-headed, middle-aged man who came to me in my dreams, telling me “get to know, to believe and to trust yourself”. Turns out he was Doctor Kusloff Maenard, my mentor (laughs), whom I met seven years after he came to me in my dreams. Doc says he did this by entering something he calls Darzanna, the Dreamworld…but to this day, I really don’t know how this thing works!

What was the best compliment you have ever received?

That was when Naheli told me that I was a good singer and rudivinna player. A rudivinna is an electric string instrument similar to what you call an electric guitar, here on Earth.

If you could have anyone locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them?

Oh, I can think of many people whom I’d love to lock in a room and torment (laughs). I think I would start with a spy called Lukan Mithravid. I would use a mind trick on him known as Hypnotrance to mess with his mind, because that’s exactly what he did to me before I was locked away in an asylum!

Would you rather be ugly and live forever or attractive and die in a year?

I would rather be free and live forever, pretty or ugly all the same (laughs).

If you could go to anyone (living or dead) for advice who would it be and what would you ask?

That would be the Crone of the Dhurabasin. She’s this mysterious, enigmatic woman who tutored my mentor, he says. Based on all the wondrous stuff that she taught Doc Maenard, this woman seems to be truly wise and she knows a lot about secrets of the occult sciences of old that I would love to know. Since she’s supposed to be able to see the future in her dreams, I would ask her what she sees in my future.

What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it or embarrassed?

I guess the weirdest thing about me is my creativity. I always loved the arts (music and literature, especially) in a world where such things aren’t encouraged, and so I was deemed as a weirdo by most folk around me when I was younger. That made me feel a little embarrassed at first, but now that I’ve moved to a much more artistic type of place, I’d say I feel proud of it!

Mountains or Beach?

Well, since I spent almost 5 years in the desert, training to become a warrior, I don’t like sand too much, but I do love the sight of the sea. So beach it is!

Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?

Oh, definitely Naheli…and for a long time too (laughs).

Want to know more about Tito Martinez?  Continue reading his in depth interview...

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved writing. I just didn’t feel confident enough to do it seriously till about 8 years ago. My girlfriend at the time read a little crossover I had written (for my own enjoyment only). She loved it, and so she encouraged me to try my hand at writing “my own thing”, which I did. That’s how I got started on my current series, The Keeper of the Balance.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I guess it was when I sold the first copy of The Pinnacle of Power, book one of The Keeper of the Balance series. Before that I think I didn’t really believe that I can be a true writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I wanted to write my own take of the Hero’s Journey, but I wanted to do it in a way that would feel fresh and novel to the reader, mixing classic elements of fantasy and sci-fi with real life topics that I feel are important. Whether I succeeded in this or not, is up to the reader, of course. But I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I’m a little too methodical. I have to write each chapter, each book, in sequential order. I’m a little absent-minded, so I tend to lose track of important details if I don’t do it like this.

How did you come up with the title?

The title of my current series was inspired by the concept of universal balance between light and darkness. As for each book in the series, I tried to go for simple titles that would capture the essence of each volume’s contents.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I believe that balance is the key to success in all things in life. I also think spirituality is important in life. I try to convey these messages in my books, though the main thing for me is to write entertaining books. If readers get a positive message out of my work that’s even better!

How much of the book is realistic?

Great question!

I believe that everything in my books is grounded on reality, regardless of how fantastical/magical my world, characters and/or situations might be. I try to find an explanation that makes sense to everything that happens in the books, because there are consequences to everything that happens in life. To every action there is a reaction, after all.  I also want to appeal to human nature by asking myself, how would a person react to this or that situation? I try to make my characters as deep, complex, contradictory and realistic as possible, so that the reader can actually relate to them based on what they’re going through

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the stuff in my books is inspired by people I know or events in my own life, certainly. Although real life events of historical importance and stories I love are also major sources of inspiration for me.

What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

The Lord of the Rings, 1984, Brave New World, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Never-ending Story, The Matarese Circle, the Bourne Trilogy…these are some of the books that have had a profound influence on me. I also owe a lot to a psychologist who was the basis for Doctor Kusloff Maenard, the mentor figure in the books.

What book are you reading now?

I’m currently doing a reread of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Caitlin O’Connor, Michelle Lynn and Alexis Grove. The work of these 3 talented young authors has really struck a chord and grabbed my attention. I definitely recommend readers to check out their work.

What are your current projects?

I’m focused completely on finishing my current four book series The Keeper of the Balance. I’m almost done with book 3 now, and I’m already writing down notes for The Last Bastion, which will be the last book in the series.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I’ve been fortunate in this sense. I’ve had the support of many people outside my family. If I had to name just one it would be my good friend Lother from Romania. He was the first person outside family who read the very first draft of book one The Pinnacle of Power, and he gave me great pointers and advice!

Do you see writing as a career?

Hopefully (laughs). I would love to make a career out of my work as a writer, yes.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, not really. I would probably change a few things in the opening act of the series (to make it tighter, crisper, perhaps), but I love the pace and the story of book 2, The Warriors of Balance.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It happened organically, I guess. I’ve been writing for a long time, as a hobby first and then as part of my job, doing copyright and translation work. This has helped me greatly as a writer, because it’s taught me a lot about spelling, grammar and editing.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

With pleasure! I’m currently working on 4 chapters for book three in The Keeper of the Balance series, The Order of the Ancestors. I’m basically polishing, adding and subtracting a few things in these chapters, getting ready to release the book soon!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not being too repetitive or redundant. Sometimes I tend to write the same exact things in different words, and I’ve had to go back to change entire chapters or sequences in my books because of this.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

George R.R. Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire is epic. The way he’s able to create so many characters and different situations with so many twists and turns, in a world that feels so real and organic, without abusing of magic, is truly astounding in my opinion.

Who designed the covers?

I did. I’m not sure how good they are, to be perfectly honest, but I’m happy with the end result.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finding time and some peace and quiet to work (laughs). It’s hard for me to concentrate if there’s too much going around me while trying to write. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me almost 8 years to finish these books!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Well, I’m certainly not experienced enough to be giving out advice, I don’t think. But one thing I’ve learned from other types of creative work I’ve done for a long time is that you must do what feels right to you. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself. You have to be confident in what you’re doing and trust that, if you like it, then other people will enjoy your work too.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Buy the books (laughs). In all seriousness, I’d like to thank the people that have done just that. I hope they’ve enjoyed reading my books as much as I love writing them.

Do you remember the first book you read?

I think it was the novelization for the first Star Wars film, back when I was 7 or 8 years old. I’m sure I read something else before that, but this is the first book I remember reading clearly.

What makes you laugh/cry?

Many things make me laugh, like a good, smart joke, my cat’s antics, children and the stuff they come up with at times…I think I have a good sense of humor. Mindlessness is what makes me cry, because it leads to most of the many problems facing the world today, such as war, racism, intolerance, abuse of natural resources, greed, lack of empathy for all living things…it makes me wonder what will happen if we don’t change our ways.

Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?

Siddhartha Gautama, aka the Buddha. I’m not a Buddhist, but I’ve studied the life and work of Siddhartha, and I find it amazing that so many of his teachings still apply today.

What do you want written on your head stone and why?

“He was a fighter. He never gave up.”

I think life is made up of challenges. How you handle adversity and how you choose to deal with problems is what I believe to build character. So I don’t like to give up, at least not until I’ve proven to myself that there really is no easy solution to overcome a challenge.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

“Reading, obviously. I also love baseball and football (the American style).

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

“I’m not too much of a TV person, to tell the truth. Game of Thrones, History’s Vikings and Ancient Aliens are my favorite current TV shows. As for films, I love fantasy/sci-fi. Star Wars, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Matrix, V for Vendetta and obviously, the film version of The Lord of the Rings are amongst my favorite films.

Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Mexican food is my favorite hands down (and I mean real Mexican food, not the Taco Bell kind, laughs). My favorite colors are black and teal. And my favorite music is rock, alternative and grunge from the 90’s especially.

If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

I would’ve liked to be a Rock Star! Seriously, I play a little guitar and I was part of a few bands when I was younger. Somehow that didn’t work out. In any case, I have to do something creative to be at my best. A regular 9 to 5 job is just not for me.

One final question...Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

My official website is www.marberi.com You can find my blog there, along with information on my books, interviews, book reviews and more!


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