Interview with marc zirogiannis
The Suffering of Innocents
Revival Waves of Glory Books & Publishing (2015)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (06/15)
Article first published as Interview: Marc Zirogiannis, Author of ‘The Suffering of Innocents’on Blogcritics.
Marc Zirogiannis holds a B.A. from Long Island University and a Juris Doctor from Hofstra University’s School of Law. Mr. Zirogiannis is a world renowned business development consultant and writer. He is a former adjunct professor of paralegal studies and business at Hofstra University. Mr. Zirogiannis is married to Soraya Rose and has four sons, Daniel, Demetrios, Joseph and Sebastian. His oldest son is a member of the United States Armed Forces, currently stationed in Germany Mr. Zirogiannis has practiced the martial arts for over 25 years and earned a 2nd Dan under the supervision of Grandmaster Yeon Hwan Park in Levittown, New York. He has been active in practicing and teaching meditation for 10 years. He has published numerous books, eBooks, and audio books and on a variety of subjects. He is currently the lead correspondent for Tae Kwon Do Times, an international print publication. Marc also lectures on a variety of topics, including business development, personal development, and matters of the martial arts. His last novella, “Hitler’s Orphan: Demetri of Kalavryta,” has won critical acclaim and been the subject of a radio program. It is currently in negotiations to become the basis of a more extensive work. For more information about his books, visit www.marczirogiannis.com.
Susan: Hi Marc! Thank you so much for visiting with me today. Before we begin let me tell you that my husband became a fan with your previous book “Pannino Is Dead,” which is so very different from your latest book “The Suffering of Innocents.” This leads me to the following question: Where do you get storyline inspiration?
Marc: Thanks so much for having me on your program and those kind words. I see the world as filled with endless stories. Some stories are interesting and some not so much. Some stories people can relate to and some not so much. I try to tell stories that are interesting and that people can relate to. I find the inspiration in a variety of places. For “Pannino is Dead” I was outraged by some of the abuses at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility in NYC, but I didn’t feel that telling the story through a straight documentary expose was the best way to get the message across. I decided to weave it into another crime story that was in my head for some time. For “Suffering” I was watching the recent Etan Patz criminal trial on television and I kept thinking about how those poor parents must feel all these years later having to revisit the vanishing of their child. I was struck by thinking about how hard it must be for them to face every day. Much of my inspiration comes to me through the active and daily practice of Meditation. It is amazing what the mind can conceive of when you take the time to find some quiet space and meditate.
Susan: Marc, you also are an accomplished author in the self-help genre. How different is it to write fiction, and which one do you enjoy more?
Marc: I have been writing professionally for 15 years. All of my early books were self-help or non-fiction. For me these were extensions of other things I was doing and they created vehicles for teaching subjects I was engaged in like my book, “The ABCs of Home Buying,” which was written to assist home-buyers in the home buying process, and became the basis for a college course that I taught for 10 years. There were always very specific audiences in mind for those projects and I always found that style of writing to be within my comfort zone.
Fiction is a whole other experience for me. It requires a vulnerability and emotional involvement that is very different from the technical writing I did for so long, and to be honest, was trained for. It is also a great vehicle for connecting to people on a very personal level that technical writing could never achieve. The mindset of your audience on entering the experience is completely different. They come prepared to be entertained and to be connected in a very personal way. I love fiction writing but I don’t think I had the emotional maturity to tackle it effectively before I hit 40.
Susan: I read in your Bio you are also the number one Tae Kwon Do journalist in the world. I used to do Tae Kwon Do when I was younger and Korean Kung Fu. Loved it! I can tell you that it did save my life a couple of times while living in Venezuela. What benefits can someone get from martial arts other than fitness and self-defense, in your opinion?
Marc: The study of the martial arts is probably one of the most powerful and rewarding gifts a person can give themselves or their family members. As you indicated, it offers the obvious benefits of the ability to protect oneself confidently, which cannot be minimized, but it is so much more. It is a life-changing gateway to helping people achieve their goals and to living the best life possible. I have studied under Grandmaster YH Park for 25 years and as I have traveled the world for TaeKwonDo Times Magazine, I have been overwhelmed by personal stories of people overcoming adversity and hardship through the martial arts. People think of the martial arts as sports and self defense but the “DO” in Tae Kwon Do translates to “way of life” and that really is what it is. I have seen children from all walks of life transformed by the positive and empowering message of Tae Kwon Do. Kicking and punching, to me, are the value added bonuses, not the foundations.
Susan: You wear so many hats in your life, and no offense, but in my opinion this is very rare in men, as they tend to focus mostly on one thing. Yet, you were a lawyer, writer, speaker, Professor, Tae Kwon Do journalist and student, as well as your roles in your personal life as a father and husband. How do you manage to be successful in so many areas of life and where do you get the energy?
Marc: Susan, I get my energy from my passion for life. I really view the world as a positive place and I revel in every experience. I also never believe in defining or limiting myself. I think people are complex, multi-dimensional beings that have the capacity to accomplish many things. The one thing I have come to terms with in my maturity is how much I still have to learn. I see myself as a student first and a teacher second and it is the burning passion of the student that drives me to never rest on my past accomplishments.
Susan: Marc, you have published so many books, a dozen just in the non-fiction genre, plus the fiction ones you have out. I would love to get your take on the evolution of the publishing industry, and where it is going.
Marc: Great question. I have previously spent much of my time and energy in the self-publishing world because, as I said, the works were vehicles for other projects I was working on. The goal was never to write the “Great American Novel.” It was simply to teach or publish articles I had written in book form. Self-publishing today is a great way for writers to get their stories or works into the public conversation. The technology and availability of resources are abundant. The advent of the eBook offers writers the ability to focus on works that are geared towards this manner of communicating with a knowledgeable and media thirsty public. The problem is that ease of accomplishing this has offered people the opportunity to get published without their work being properly vetted or edited or examined. The result is that a lot of sloppy work has poisoned the well for legitimate attempts at self-publishing quality works and that is a shame.
For this project, “The Suffering of Innocents,” I thought about self-publishing, but the response to the book was so positive that I decided to submit it to a number of traditional royalty based publishers. I was shocked when 4 serious publishers showed interest in proceeding with the project. The process of trying to match my work with the best publisher for it was a whole new and exciting experience for me. All the offers were so different but Bill Vincent’s Revival Waves of Glory books and Publishing seemed to be the best fit for this project. They really got the project and were prepared to stand behind it.
What I have learned in the contrast is: 1. It is a really good feeling to have a team of professionals to support your concept and help you give it life and, 2. No matter how well you think you can market your work, it doesn’t compare to the impact of a good publisher.
Susan: Let’s talk a little bit about “The Suffering of Innocents.” How did this story come about? Is it related to your own life?
Marc: The characters are very dear and personal to me. The story, as I alluded to, came to me in trying to understand how a parent could come to terms with the loss of a child. To me this unnatural circumstance is among the most tragic things that could happen to a family, and it had to make people examine their relationships with each other and with whatever God they believed in. This one was really personal and really painful for me. I lived with those characters, intimately, for a long time. While I am blessed to not have experienced the actual circumstances of the novel, I believe my complete and total engagement in the characters and the theme gave it the authenticity that people are relating to.
Susan: Marc, I have been dying to ask for our readers: After all the research you did for “The Suffering of Innocents,” what are your thoughts on why innocents suffer?
Marc: This really is a complex question and I think what I have really learned is that is a universally asked question. People across the globe, of every culture, of every religion, who speak every language, ask themselves this question in one form or another when faced with adversity. While I have my own opinions on it, I think the journey to answer the question for people is very personal and has great value in and of itself. For me, I believe the question may be above my pay grade. I am sure people much wiser and educated than I am have more quantitative and qualitative answers, but for me what has been most significant is the belief that I refuse to live in a world where people suffer for sport or as a direct consequence of bad behavior. For me, that would be a world I couldn’t live in. For me, I accept there is much I don’t know and I would rather do my part to alleviate individual suffering within my grasp than intellectualize about things beyond my scope.
Susan: Are there any new books you are currently working on?
Marc: I am in the midst of publishing the 15th Anniversary edition of “The ABCs of Home Buying” because the original edition, which was the number one Real Estate book on Amazon when it was released in 2000, has been out of print for some time. Meanwhile, I am also working on a dramatic thriller called “Justice for Damien” which is a novel, but is loosely based on a father’s search for justice when the authorities are reluctant to prosecute his child’s sexual assailant because his father is a distinguished hero of the 1st Persian Gulf War. This one, like “Pannino is Dead,” comes from my need to expose systemic injustice using fiction as my vehicle.
Susan: Do you have a blog where readers can follow you, and can you tell us where people find “The Suffering of Innocents” and all of your other books?
Marc: Yes, I have a Blog called “Greeks in the Diaspora” (www.greeksinthediaspora.blogspot.com) which features the accomplishments of people of Greek heritage living outside of Greece. I post most of the updates on my publications, book signings, reviews, and more here.
Susan: Marc it has been a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you so much for visiting. I encourage readers to check out your book “The Suffering of Innocents” as well as all of your other publications and to visit your website: www.marczirogiannis.com
Marc: Thank you Susan!