Author Michael Martineck on being nominated for Alberta Reader’s Choice award
I started writing stories when I was seven. You’d think I’d be better at it by now. It’s not from lack of trying. Over the years, I’ve put out short stories, comic book scripts, articles and trio of novels. I’ve put countless other ventures in the drawer. The drawer is in my house on Grand Island, NY., a little cap of clay nestled between the US and Canada. This is also the location of my Ego Retention Program, whereby my beautiful wife and two lovely children continuously call out my various shortcomings, keeping me from becoming the screaming, self-centered artist I long to be. DC Comics published a couple of stories in the early 90s. Planetmag, Aphelion and a couple of other long-dead e-zines helped me out in 00s, along with The Misspellers and The Wrong Channel. Cinco de Mayo is now out from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy. Very exciting, you know, for me.
I had this little idea – what would happen if two people had complete access to each other’s memories? Short-term, long-term, even muscle memory. Then I started writing and the idea kept doubling – uncontrollably, like I’d put way to much soap in the washing machine – leaving me with a novel that spanned the globe. That novel’s been nominated for the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, I very happy to write. (Even if you’re not from Alberta you can vote for it here albertareaderschoice.ca.)
It goes like this: In (and on) Cinco de Mayo, everyone one in the world is paired with someone else. They each receive a full dose of the other’s memories. The novel follows different pairs as they try to sort through the experience, deal with extreme intimacy or stay alive, because they’ve learned too much.
“What was he or she thinking?” drives all of the stories. I think literature is at its best when it’s sewing us all together. Showing us how similar we all are, despite our apparent differences. This means diving into all kinds of minds – a killer, an abusive husband, the wife who tolerates it, a playboy, an ad executive, a neurologist.
Because of the scope, the novel’s hard to classify. A bit science fiction, a slant towards the paranormal, with the pace of a thriller – the book wasn’t written with a particular category in mind. The characters took control and led their stories. I started with common people in an uncommon situation and wrote down what happened. The upside is a book that is broad. No novel can be all things to all people, but this one . . .
It’s a special book. Give it a try. I promise you won’t be saying, “What was he thinking?”