PM360 recently spoke to Mario Nacinovich Jr., Vice President, Marketing at Eyevance Pharmaceuticals, about his newly published collection of short stories.

PM360: How did you get into writing?

Mario Nacinovich Jr.: My earliest childhood memories of writing were intricately shaped by my family and further nurtured by my elementary school teachers. Writing and communication skills were developed through some of the most stimulating and sometimes challenging writing assignments that tapped my creative thoughts and endless curiosity. This helped me formulate onto paper a dialogue I would not normally have experienced in conversation at such a young age.

What specifically do you like about writing flash fiction or short stories?

Nearly two decades ago a trusted colleague, Rick Abbot, planted a seed that I would enjoy a break into fiction from my passion and penchant for non-fiction. I didn’t heed his sage advice until 2016 when I revisited the classic Catcher in the Rye, The Best Short Stories of O. Henry, and Hemingway’s Three Stories and Ten Poems. These “redeeming rediscoveries” sparked the idea that I wanted to find a more creative outlet to express some of my experiences and deepest reflections.

Can you share a little about the collection you released last August, Sixteen Stories: Contemplatives in Action?

This anthology, as the book’s description elucidates, is comprised of 16 short stories of imaginary events, people, and places invented based on the most random of life’s encounters and observations. As someone who has always been challenged to write less to say more, I sought to draft each of these stories with extreme brevity.

How long did it take you to complete the collection?

The initial 14 stories were written across two weeks (one per day) while on an extended road trip with my family during the summer of 2016 while driving down the California coast. Writer’s block set in for several months and I did not rediscover that elusive inspiration for the 15th and 16th story until 2018. For the artwork, I collaborated with my close friend and former Creative Director, Greg Betza, who had creative license to capture the essence of each story in a single piece of imagery.

The back cover features a preview of Greg Betza’s artwork for each story.

What has been the reaction to the book so far?

From personal direct communication, social media exchanges, and reading the reviews on Amazon, it has been one of the most humbling but rewarding experiences. To hear and read that each story has allowed someone “pause to reflect” or that they have found the stories to be “thought provoking and meaningful” means a tremendous amount to me.

Do you have any plans to write another book or collection?

Since I met my wife, Toni, in 1996, she has heard of the legendary and heroic exploits of Myron the Cactus Elf, a purveyor of the world’s finest ostrich eggs, and Swimmy the Frog, his fiercely loyal but often confounded and conflicted companion. Toni and my daughters, Elaina and Juliana, have encouraged me to finally bring this dynamic duo to life in a children’s book. This new writing adventure will begin for me in 2021.

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