Interview with LEO MARTINELLI
(Note: Our senior editor Sophie Szabo had a much easier time nailing Martinelli for this interview than she had with Gables.)
Talking with Leo Martinelli was like a gigantic bowl of ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery on a hot summer day—a perfect treat—especially after my interview with Sean Gables in the middle of that field in the middle of nowhere.
On the day I met Leo, it was over a hundred degrees outside. Since I was already in the Bay Area, he suggested we talk in the Cold Stone Creamery in Fremont, California. Who was I to argue with that? The place was sure to be busy in this heat, but we didn’t wait very long for a table and within minutes, we were digging into our frozen creations, each one heaped with different sprinkles, fruits, nuts, and ice cream flavors, and I felt as if I had known him for years.
“So, Leo, tell me. What was it like growing up as Joseph Magee’s cousin?”
Leo grinned, a big friendly, open grin, and I soon discovered it was his personality—that grin. Tall, dark and handsome in a classically Italian way–boy, did my heart do flip-flops. He could have posed for one of Da Vinci’s statues.
“Well, I’m two years older than Joe, or he’s two years older than me, I can never remember. But we were like brothers. Our mothers were the famous Amati sisters, and they’ve always claimed to be direct descendants of the famous violin maker. I’m not sure anyone’s ever proven that, but they still make the claim. Joe and I lived a few blocks from each other, so we were always at each other’s house, doing homework, fighting, playing commandos, all that stuff. Did I mention we’re both good cooks?”
I shook my head, smiling.
“Let’s turn to the story of the Maya Earth Trilogy, Leo. Did you have any inkling what your cousin and his wife Amy were up to?”
“No, I did not.”
“So you weren’t aware of the hidden pyramids on the other side of the forest by their house?”
“Not a clue. At least, no clue until I quite literally stumbled onto everything.”
“And what was their explanation for not telling you?”
“Seriously. They just said they couldn’t tell me. And then I had to promise not to tell anyone else. It was a shock. Joey had never kept secrets from me before. That’s what made me realize this was really a big deal.”
“Have you ever had any interest in archaeology or ancient cultures?”
“I barely passed history. The most ancient thing I’m ever involved in is cleaning out the refrigerator. But Joey and Amy—it’s their life.”
“Leo, what do you do for a living?”
Here’s where I got my first hesitation. His face went blank.
“I work on the e-mail system in a government office.”
“You’re in IT?”
“For the U.S. Government?”
“No, I work on the e-mail system in a government office. I’m really good at it.”
Okay, that was all I was going to get. I had heard that his cousin couldn’t squeeze anything more out of him, either, so I didn’t feel shorted on this. Now, to jump right into the biggie.
“What do you think is going to happen in book three of the trilogy? What do you think is going to happen on December 21, 2012?”
“O-M-G. They tell me nothing. How would I know that?”
He must have felt badly when he saw my crestfallen face.
“Look, Sophie, there are so many predictions about the end of the Mayan calendar, I wouldn’t know where to begin. And I still think Amy’s keeping secrets from me. I sure enjoy those sky shows at night, you know, the northern lights only they’re southern and ‘everywhere’ lights now.”
“What have you enjoyed the most, throughout this trilogy of adventures?”
Now the grin came back.
“Are you kidding me? The jaguar was kind of cool, but Candis wins.”
When Leo and I parted, it was still roasting temps outside, but my ice cream and chat with Leo Martinelli really made my day. And it also made me think about what I would do if I met a jaguar, face-to-face, in a strange country as he had. I shivered, and not from the ice cream.
Okay, so maybe nobody will ever know what Leo really does for a living, but I did get this—Leo Martinelli has the stuff that big, strong heroes are made of. I hope he can keep it up, all the way through book three, and I really wish him the best of everything with his favorite co-character, Candis Rodriguez. I heard by the grapevine they’re going to need all the luck they can get.
Senior Editor, Moonlight Mystery Press