Interview with Author Mark Giglio

My guest today is author Mark Giglio. Hello! Welcome back to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here again.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?

The Patròn’s Wife came out August 7th, 2017. You can get both Alchemist Gift and Patròn’s Wife in ebook form at our website or, through Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and Apple. You can buy a paperback edition directly from us. Alchemist Gift is available as an audiobook at

Is there anything which prompted
The Patròn’s Wife? Something that inspired you?

I always wanted to have an exotic location, so I chose the Amazon. It has its own presence and becomes a real player in The Patròn’s Wife. That, and I’ve always liked the tragic elements of a love triangle.
Nice! I studied the Amazon somewhat in college when I took an anthropology class.

So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?

I’ve always liked to write, even when I was a kid. My first short story was written in the fourth grade. The only thing I can remember about it is a tiny flying saucer landed in my backyard and my mom made pancakes the size of dimes for them to eat.
(Laughs.) My childhood stories were probably like that too. 

Do you have any favorite authors yourself, Mark?

The usual suspects: Dostoyevsky, (First real novel) Hemmingway, Fitzgerald & Faulkner (helped me understand the historical aspects of American literature, and some damn good writing by all involved), D.H. Lawrence, (ahead of his time) Updike, Heller, modern literature, Boccaccio, The Brothers Grimm (oh so very dark). 
All right. you write in a specific place? Time of day?

In bed between 3:30 A.M. and 5:A.M., and any time I can when I’m not working in my wood shop (not a hobby) and not brain dead.
Exactly! ;)

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?

Writing is not a competition; it is an organic process that allows us to enter an altered state and release the power in our souls.
That's an interesting way to put it. Such great advice!

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit us here today at Writing in the Modern Age. It was wonderful having you!  :)

Readers, here is the blurb for The Patròn’s Wife.

On a vast plateau above the wild and dangerous Amazon jungle, electrical engineer, Emilio Aguilar, enters a strange and other worldly reality that encompasses a shaman, Alma, the beautiful and unhappy wife who finds escape practicing native rituals to enter her spirit animal, the jaguar.
The patron of this vast coffee and cocoa plantation is the middle aged and forceful Hector Alvarez, a man of fierce beliefs and a rather pragmatic philosophy as to the order of things and what is his. The plateau with its thriving plantation is one of the last original Spanish land grants and has been in the Alvarez family for twelve generations. In order to keep the plantation, the patron, Hector Alvarez, must produce an heir.
Emilio gladly takes this remote engineering assignment hoping to get over a failed love affair and put his life back on track. For all of his good intentions, Emilio succumbs to a perplexing and unexpected affair. Emilio again finds himself in the arms of a married woman, something he promised himself would never happen again. With blessings from Hector and the eager participation from the love starved Alma, the affair commences with one small caveat withheld from both lovers. If Emilio and Alma are successful, Hector will kill Emilio, but most honorably, of course.
As the affair grows so does their love for one another. When Hector can no longer contain his jealousy, Emilio must save Alma. With the help of a shaman and his mind-bending ayahuesco ritual, Emilio travels between reality and the spirit world to rescue Alma from her overpowering spirit animal. After their return to the here and now, they plan their escape from the plateau and an increasingly unstable Hector. The chase begins. If they can make their way through the quicksand and an anaconda infested cienaga, they might just make it back to civilization.
Here is an excerpt from the book.

The dull pulse of the boat motor echoed back from the dense wall of tangled greenery that crowded its way to the edge of the river bank. The chirps and clicks from a thousand insects set an unearthly cadence that was palpable. Mist swirled overhead, opening now and again to let the sun’s rays play off the living pearls of dew that rolled down from leaf to quivering leaf, back into the brown waters of the Rio Oscuro.
The boat was a light and narrow craft. I sat under the canvas awning with my suitcase and duffle bag. It was not even mid-morning, and I was sweating. I should have dressed more sensibly, worn lighter clothes. I envied my guides who wore only loin cloths.
My clothing was always damp with sweat. The heat and humidity made the trip unbearable. Even the breeze coming off the water was warm and fetid. The chatter of monkeys was tiresome; the biting insects were bothersome and painful. The occasional shadowy animal, drawn undoubtedly by the sound of the motor, would stalk us, making its way through the undergrowth that grew along the riverbank. The relentless heat, discomfort, and unpredictability reached out like a smothering and heavy hand from the jungle and kept its dank grip on me and the boat.
On the second day out, in the early afternoon I laid back on my duffle bag and looked up at the cloudy sky through a tear in the canvas canopy. I lazily trailed my fingertips in the water. Miguel, who sat at the bow, turned toward me and urgently drew me out of my torpid reverie.
Señor, señor, los dedos, los dedos!”
In my sleepy stupor I sat forward and looked over the side of the boat. An anaconda as round as my thigh and at least five meters long, swam beside us. I felt its scales slither against my fingertips. I jerked my hand out of the water and with a pounding heart, watched the snake swim to the shore and disappear into the undergrowth. Miguel and his brother Ramon, the pilot, smiled and made a joke in Quechuan. I did not understand what they said, nor did I get off the boat for the rest of the trip.
We were headed to El Paradiso, the estate of Señor Hèctor Alvarez. I should have checked in to the main office in Quito, but now we were out of cell phone range. I would have to wait until I arrived. There was no cell phone service, but Señor Alvarez had mentioned in one of his letters that he owned a short wave radio and was an amateur operator.
I had yet to meet Señor Alvarez. I was able to glean enough internet information to discover that his ancestors were the recipients of a sizable 16th century Spanish land grant, a wonderfully large plateau, larger than some municipalities. I read reports that the rugged cliffs and steep hillsides that led up to the plateau were crisscrossed with fast running streams and made near impassible by the dense jungle forest.
I did not mind being sent on this remote assignment. I asked for it and was actually glad to leave civilization for a while. 
I botched a perfectly innocent affair by falling in love. It seemed obvious to me Sylvie simply married the wrong man. I knew her husband Alex and her by way of symposiums and professional conferences we attended. Alex and I were little more than business acquaintances, if even that. The other engineers had their wives in tow to these events. I was the only bachelor in the group of six or seven couples. While we engineers attended lectures and discussions, the ladies usually went sightseeing or shopping to pass the time.
I decided to skip one of the afternoon lectures. I did not get to Quito that often and I wanted to visit some of the book shops. I liked the used bookshops best. I loved the musty scent of the old books, the different colored spines; each book was as different and unique as that troubled or driven writer who measured and meted out each and every word used to build the mysterious construct that wove the author’s soul into his or her story or poem.
The rain in April was cold. I found the dinning noise it made on the roof of the book shop and the way it ran down the windows in erratic little paths soothing. I felt snug and warm. I spotted Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. It was a rare edition with its green leather cover and golden incised decorations. It was old, printed in the 1890s. Well used, it even had certain passages encased in penciled parenthesis, by the lightest and most reverent hand.
I did not have an umbrella; so at the first break in the rain, I took to the street hoping to stop a cab. Luck would have it otherwise. The street was empty. I decided to walk to the next major cross street three blocks up to the traffic signal. The rain started again with a vengeance. The nearest shelter was an empty phone booth. I no sooner entered and pulled the door closed when the figure of a woman, her wet hair obscuring her face, knocked on the glass. I pulled the door open and moved as far inside the booth as I could.
“Enter,” I said with a smile. When she pulled her hair to the side, I recognized her. “Sylvie, Sylvie, I can’t believe it is you. Yes, do come in,” I said with a pleased chuckle.
She beamed when she recognized me, “Well, is not this a wonderful coincidence.” She was just able to close the door, but not without pressing up against me. We stood facing each other, grinning. We were familiar enough to exchange a loose, polite hug when we met, smiling glances and dinner conversation.
“Oh, my poor hair.” She frowned and pulled it together and wrung out a little stream of water.
“Not out shopping with the girls?”
“No, they wanted to go see a movie. I did not want to go. You mentioned there were book shops along this street, somewhere…I was hoping to maybe run into you…well, it seems I did.”
“If only you would have let me know, we could have gone together. That is just where I came from; the bookshops begin the next block down.”
“So, here we are.”
In the tight space between us I was just able to hold up the book of poetry.
“Browning, one of my favorites.” She worked her hand up to mine and touched the cover. “What an apropos moment to quote her words:
When our two souls stand up erect and strong
Face to face, Silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curvèd point,---what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented?
Sylvie looked at me with a curious sadness.
“Beautiful,” was all I could say. Since I had made her acquaintance, I had noticed Sylvie was not quite in sync with the other wives; always a little late with her smiles and not as generous with her laughter.
“That is not the entire sonnet. The rest is…well…not so apropos. Well, here we are face to face, drawing nigh and nigher,” she said with a delicate tone of anticipation.
The rain fell harder and harder. The sound was deafening. I could not see more than a few feet past the glass doors. The heat from our bodies caused the glass sides of the booth to steam up. The entire world beyond no longer existed.
Sylvie reached up and touched my cheek. “I’ve always wanted to do that.” She kept her hand there and her eyes looking into mine.
I was at a bit of a loss. She was a very attractive woman. It was true I stole enough curious glances of her, I caught her doing the same of me when, as a group we went to lunch. I flirted with those wives who would let me. I flirted only because I really had nothing to say. With Sylvie it was different; I did not want to be clever or overly free with those light, laughing compliments. There was something tragic in her eyes. On a few occasions I ran into her and Alex in an intimate little restaurant close to our hotel. All smiles, she was the one to invite me to join them. Alex seemed oblivious to the way Sylvie’s mood brightened when I shared their table. She always left me as if she had more to say. I did not think much of it at the time. Now I realized she had always been reaching out to me.
A bolt of lightning struck not more than a block away and rattled the phone booth. The light was blinding. Sylvie pulled me in tight. I often wondered what it would be like to hold her in my arms. I closed my eyes. I ran my hand down the curve of her back and the felt the pressure of her breast against my chest. She was soft and her perfumed skin was like silk. Holding her almost took my breath away. It could have ended there as we both could rationalize that our actions were no more than giving each other comfort in an extraordinary and frightening situation, but it did not. Sylvie raised her leg and worked it in between mine. She pulled my face to hers and kissed me. I am only a man. I kissed her back. We stood in that unlikely embrace until the rain let up and for a little while longer.
The rest of the tale was not very remarkable. It is the path that all affairs follow - selfishness, deception, and on my part being overly possessive. Ours was a garden too toxic to truly nurture love. We played the game for almost nine months. The romantic in me wanted her; wanted her to fall in love with me. I was convinced I was in love with her. Sylvie did not want or need me. I satisfied her ego and those painful longings to feel important enough to be loved. And so it ended for her, but not for me.
Two months after our break-up, I ran into her and Alex on the street. Alex was all smiles. Sylvie was polite but emotionless. They just found out she was four months pregnant. The baby she carried could just as well have been mine. I was desperate to ask Sylvie, but I knew she would never tell me. The few times I called her she had only one answer, “No.” I felt helpless and numb. I gave my hollow congratulations and watched the two stroll away arm in arm. I cheated myself out of a son or daughter. I could not accept Sylvie was lost to me. And if things had worked out as I wanted them to, if she divorced Alex and married me, it would have been professional suicide. I learned my lesson. I would never put myself in that position again. I would never be so stupid and selfish and try to shape an impossible situation into something it was not. The losses were too great.
Señor, Señor, almost there,” Miguel announced as the dock came into view. I was so glad to be setting foot on solid ground. It had been an uncomfortable four day journey. As we approached, a manatee surfaced displaying its glistening, voluptuous body. She gracefully swam next to the boat, rolled on her back and looked directly at me. Ramon eased the throttle, “Look, a good thing, Señor, she welcomes you. You will be lucky in love.” We both laughed. I saw a number of dugout canoes tied up to the pilings and a handful of naked little boys and girls waving to us.
We docked. The children smiled and surrounded me and urged me to toss centavos in the water so they could dive after them. I fulfilled my part in the ritual. Moments later they stood before me dripping and smiling, each with a coin and suggested I do it again. Miguel and Ramon good-naturedly chased them off with a flap of their arms.
Beyond the dock house, on the red, dirt road, I saw the Land Rover waiting in the shade. The driver, Señor Alvarez’s head man, a pacified tribesman named Leòn, greeted me with a tepid handshake and hefted my duffle bag on his shoulder and led me to the vehicle.
Señor Aguila, El Patròn welcomes you. Our trip to El Paradiso will take maybe two hours, maybe three.”
The road was rutted and bumpy. Branches and fronds reached out and clawed and scratched at all sides of the Land Rover as if trying to pull us into the undergrowth. There was no view to speak of, only a twinkling tunnel made through the tangle of low brush, large green leaves and overhead, vines and flowering creepers and still higher, the canopies of the great trees.
We traveled inland for maybe twelve kilometers. I heard birds and the chatter of monkeys but I saw no animals. Leòn came to a jarring stop. A jaguar appeared out of the brush and stopped on the road. Its golden eyes burned into mine. Leòn looked away from the animal; he even held his hand up to shield his face and gave the big cat a wide berth. I expected him to say something, but he did not. He did not even look at me. We drove off in silence. Leòn appeared anxious and now all of his concentration was spent on driving, and that was fine with me. 


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Wow! Fascinating excerpt!
It certainly sounds like an interesting book! We'll be sure to check out this supernatural romantic thriller!


Author Bio

Mark Giglio is a writer, artist and award-winning furniture maker with a degree in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. He lives in Escondido, CA in San Diego County.  He has written novels in Historical Romance (Alchemist Gift), and a Supernatural Romantic Thriller (The Patròn’s Wife). The second volume of Alchemist Gift, Curious Journey, with the main character of Count Emilio, is in the works. His short stories are in the Horror and Science Fiction genres. See more of his work at


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