Saturday, August 21, 2010

Interview with JC Marino author of Dante's Journey

Hello everyone! 
As some of you may already know I have something very special planned for today. We have the author of the recently released Dante’s Journey, JC Marino here for an interview! As many of you know, I have been doing a lot of interview myself lately and I have noticed a trend with questions so I will ask some ordinary questions and then I have a list of questions I always wanted to be asked, so have decided it would be fun to ask other authors!

Book Description:
A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe was in hot pursuit of his family's killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn't about to let a little thing like death slow him down. So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante's Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children. However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water... VERY hot.

Ordinary Questions:

Emma: Without further ado here is JC Marino!
Hello, JC Marino and thank you for joining us today.

JC Marino: Hi Emma, and everyone. It’s absolutely my pleasure.
Thanks for having me. Before we start, here are some links which may interest you.


Dante’s Journey Book Trailer:

Dante’s Journey Book Reviews:

Latest Review from Prinkipria Magazine:

Emma: Where did the idea for Dante’s Journey come from and what made you decide to write it?

JC Marino: That’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it to the Reader’s Digest version.

When I was in the military, I read a book called “The Worm that Never Dies.” It described Hell in such a way that scared the HELL out of me.

It sent me on a quest to learn more and more about the nature of Hell, and by extension, my own faith. I eventually came to Dante’s Inferno and was fascinated by the symbolism and the difference between “torture” and “torment”. I was raised as a Catholic and believed that Hell was a place where Demons gained great pleasure from torturing damned souls. But, as I delved deeper into Christianity as a whole, I came to believe that Hell is a place where souls are tormented.

Torture is something others do to you.
Torment is something you do to yourself.

It’s like the old adage: the teacher didn’t give you that failing grade… you gave it to yourself. Anyway, in the 80s, I wrote a computer game based on Dante’s Inferno for a school project (way before EA Games) and the idea stayed with me. I was always interested in writing, but I was never serious until I moved to LA. Once I got serious, it only made sense to write about something that had interested me most of my adult life.

Emma:  In “Dante’s Inferno” (Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, Paradiso) There were many very interesting and new concepts about Hell (Though it was written in the fourteenth century), including the descriptions of 9 rings of hell and creatures within these rings. For those of us who have read Dante Alighieri’s work, will we see any similarities?

JC Marino: You will see MANY similarities.

The environment is about 90% the same (if not more), and just about all the characters are based on the original. I like to compare Dante’s Journey to the original Inferno as the TV show Smallville is to the original Superboy.In Smallville, all the characters are the same but with a modernized twist. For example, you still see Lana Lang, the Green Arrow, Lex Luthor, etc, but definitely NOT the way you would from the original. In the Dante’s Journey, you still see Beatrice, Virgil, Hector, Socrates, etc, but most are with a modern twist. For example, in the original, Dante is a righteous man in Hell with his guide, Virgil, a poet Dante had respected in life. In his travels, he comes to Filippo Argenti, Dante’s mortal enemy.

In Dante’s Journey, Joe Dante is a Boston Detective in Hell and comes to find Virgil, his guide, someone who Joe doesn’t know or trust. Joe’s goal is to find the drug dealer who murdered his family (including his wife Beatrice). The drug dealer is Filippo Argenti. All the people Joe meets are in the same circle as of the original story, but there are twists and turns to give it more flavor. Keep an eye out for Alexander the Great, who’s now a Viet Nam officer who fragged his Captain.

Emma: You have several degrees including Criminal Justice, Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Creative Writing and have had a number of amazing accomplishments on your resume, Did these accomplishments help you when you were writing Dante’s Journey or on your road to publication? For instance, your Creative Writing degree or yours wins for the Nicholls and Austin Screenwriting Competitions?

JC Marino: Just so you know, I’ve never won either screenwriting competitions. I think I said that I made some finals in both (either quarter-finals or semi-finals). If I said otherwise, please let me know where and I’ll correct that. (I just misread your profile. I admit it and sorry) Anyway, yes, my background had definitely helped me out in the research. I’m originally from Boston (as is my protagonist) and I have a security and law enforcement background (my protagonist is a Boston Detective).

I’ve been watching some TV shows where the writer so obviously must have had experience in that field. If not, they must have done enough research to become an expert. I’m thinking primarily of Bones and Dexter. Bone forensics and blood splatter interpretation are not easy sciences to master. I hope my book shows the same amount of consistency and research.

Emma’s extras:

Emma: If you were a super hero what would be your kryptonite?

JC Marino: Ahhhhhhh… if I get to pick my superpower, I’d rather not have ANY form of kryptonite.

I know… not a real answer.

With superheroes, their Achilles’ Heal is in direct opposition to their superpower. Even someone you wouldn’t think of as a superhero. For example, look at Mr. Spock from Star Trek. His “super” power is his allegiance to logic. What’s his weakness? What’s on the other side of that logic coin? Emotion. We all have a weakness. And I’m sure, no matter what my superpower was, my weakness would include keeping those close to me out of danger.

Emma: If you could travel to any part of the world, or be anywhere at this moment, where would you be?

JC Marino: Funny you should ask. It’s my plan to get to the Grande Canyon this year… as well as London and Paris. With any luck, I’ll at least get to Yosemite. Oh… Hawaii is also on the list!

Emma: If the world in your novel was real, and what you had written was happening, only now you were a main character, would it have turned out any differently?

JC Marino: How can I answer with any detail without giving away the ending of the book? Hmmmm… is THAT why you’re asking? You want me to give away the ending?  
(*shifty eyes* *coughs* "Ummm... no of course not...)

Well, the answer is… I don’t think it would turn out differently.

There… it’s an answer but you still don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad.

Emma: If you could ask any author just one question, who would you choose and what would you ask?

JC Marino: Great question!

I’ve thought about this for a while.I don’t know who exactly the writer would be, but I know the question: What is the story you always wanted to write but didn’t?

As for who, that’s really tough.

I thought about Stephen King, who probably would have no answer since he’s written EVERYTHING. I’ve thought about writers throughout history… Shakespeare, Homer, even Dante Alighieri. I’ve even thought about writers who you wouldn’t normally classify as a writer, like Hitler (yes, he wrote a book).

Okay, I’m going to go with Shakespeare. He lived in a time where women weren’t even allowed to participate in theater. With no constraints from church or state, what is the story he would write, but didn’t?

Emma: Thank you so much JC Marino for joining us here today and sharing a bit about the book and about yourself!

There is also currently a Goodreads giveaway JC Marino is hosting! Go check it out and enter for you chance to win a free copy and Joe Danta's badge!

Here's a link to the giveaway:

You can see the badge here:

Thank you for everyone reading and looking forward to my first "Project to Published" post tomorrow! Make sure you stop by! If you enjoyed this author to author interview let me know and I will aim to do more of them!
Emma Michaels


  1. I like the unusual questions!
    And good to see someone else who knows about Prinkipria. I've contributed to their magazine and I'm sure soon they'll post a review about my upcoming book. Yeah, I'm a little nervous about that.

  2. Oh, I love this interview! The questions are great, and I love the answers...I'll definitely have to read this one :)

  3. Whoa! This book sounds killer! Dante's Inferno, I like it! I'm definitely going to check it out.

    I was originally stopping by to let you know, I just posted an interview with literary agent Laurie McLean on my blog:

    She provided awesome info, the most substantive answers I've received from a literary agent. Hope you can check it out!

  4. Great interview! I'm going to be reading and reviewing Dante's Journey (courtesy of Mr. Marino) coming up in September. I can't wait!

    I loved the question he would ask of Shakespeare. I wish we could know his answer!