1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Always a reader, I wrote my first short story in third grade. At the age of eleven, I remember begging my parents to let me read Stephen King’s The Shining. They relented (though it would be some time before I was permitted to watch the movie version), and I subsequently spent several years writing short horror stories. After my grandparents donated their upright piano, music took over my life, culminating with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition and Theory. Though I never stopped writing–so far, four novels, and counting.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
The ideas for all of my novels began with a “what if” thought experiment. For Welcome To Opine, I asked myself: “What if somebody buries deep in the earth a digital computer holding a vast record of mankind’s history and achievements, and billions of years later, it is dug up by a second Homo Sapiens species?” The other inspiration for this particular novel was sparked from recent disturbing world events. In particular, recent attacks on democracies, including ours. I am not a politician, so the next best thing I could do was write a novel.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
There is no such thing as a perfect society, no such thing as a utopia, simply because people will never agree on what constitutes universal values. Yet the trajectory of history teaches us that societies always strive to better themselves, strive for that unattainable utopia. It is an ongoing struggle to better ourselves as individuals and as communities. This book is just one way of thinking about that struggle, and offers, I hope, a thought-provoking perspective on how to approach that struggle.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I have always been drawn to works of literature that manage to entertain us and enlighten us at the same time. Works that teach us about the human condition with a satirical bite have always been particularly fascinating to me. Two great novels in this vein are Heller’s Catch-22 and Vonegutt’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Films such as Dr. Strangelove likewise are very effective in teaching us important lessons, while we can’t help but cringe and laugh as we learn.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I would definitely want to talk to Mr. Figgle, and ask him what he really thought about his supposed utopian society established by a controversial genetic therapy, the Self Suppressor, imposed on every citizen. It’s not obvious what his real intentions are, even at the very end of the book. I am the author and I do not know what he really thinks!
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook has been helpful, buy I also run a podcast, Dr. Music, which is also effective in promoting my books (even though it is a music education podcast).
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Anybody who aspires to write should do an enormous amount of reading, and then, after that, an enormous amount of reading. Read the classics and modern books, read fiction and non-fiction, and it’s always a good idea to write about what you know. But you should also write about what you don’t know—after all, that’s how we learn, right? I didn’t know a thing about political philosophy before I wrote this book. Now I do.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?
Yes, I will certainly be writing more novels. I try to make each one very different. My third novel, Till Times Are Done, is a world away from Welcome To Opine. I do have an idea for my next book…stay tuned!
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Marullo holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Boston University and has been writing all his life. He is the author of four novels: The Octave Displacement (2006), Gludman’s Proof (2013), Till Times Are Done (2019), and Welcome To Opine (2022). A member of ASCAP, PEN America, and the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Marullo lives with his family in Long Island, New York. Visit his website at matthewmarullo.com.