From riffs to words

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First Posted: 8/1/2014

Joni Mitchell, Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, Etta James, and Bruce Springsteen — all musicians who in their creative genius, also managed to dig deep into our souls by the power of their words. Swaying us in synchronous motion to their melodies, these artists, whether in the past or present, wrote about life and wrote it well. Wilkes-Barre native, Tony Mazzarella, musician and now, novelist, is no exception.

Mazzarella is a man of many talents. An alumnus of Wilkes University, Mazzarella spent the last 25 years working in transportation, sales, and operations and technology industries. During that time, he also managed a family and heavy metal band, Six Guns Loaded as the lead guitarist and backup vocalist. Still, busy schedule aside, there lingered a creative endeavor waiting to be discovered. From his short story beginnings in elementary school to his debut science fiction series, “Destiny Earth,” Mazzarella is finally seeing those dreams come to life.

In 2008, Mazzarella began writing the series, “Destiny Earth”. Less than a year later, the heart of his first novel was completed. It was not until 2009, that Mazzarella decided to seek representation for a book contract and soon was in the process of publishing the series. Due to unforeseen financial circumstances with the publisher, the contract was no longer a viable option. Mazzarella was devastated, but soon, he would use the setback to his advantage. “I had to put the book to the back of my mind, but I never stopped writing.”

Mazzarella said that while his music ventures were fulfilling, there remained a pull within him. That pull was his series, which he felt would only come to fruition if he channeled all of his creativity into writing while attempting to establish himself. In 2013, after making the difficult decision to leave music behind, Mazzarella sought professional editing for his work. Within a year, his destiny, the novel, was born.

The series was inspired from an article about the Mars Rover Program. In the work, the event occurs on a much larger scale, only reversed — scientists on Mars observing Earth. The work goes on to explain the discovery of Earth’s origin while employing themes of politics, examination, and conservation. The plot attempts to showcase two sides to every story and alike to George Orwell’s “1984,” Mazzarella’s series demonstrates a society under the authority of a looming and elite government.

While Mazzarella has always been an avid science fiction watcher, particularly of “Battlestar Galactica,” he expresses his love for fantasy authors J.R.R. Tolkien and James Blish. When discussing inspiration for his writing, it is life and not fiction that inspires him. “My writing is not about ego. It is terrifying to put myself out there. I do it for my family. My wife is a breast cancer survivor and I want to do so much for her and all of my children.” Mazzarella’s family has provided him with great support, even lending their own expertise. The work even extends to Mazzarella’s niece, Jacqueline Nowakowski who designed the cover art for the book.

Mazzarella said songwriting and creative storytelling are similar. He said some of the songs he has written may one day prompt a full-length novel. While much has changed in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, Mazzarella believes the genre still has room for improvement. “Some stories have gotten cold and robotic. You have to care about the characters.” Indeed, the aspect of relating to and caring about what happens to Mazzarella’s characters becomes one of the integral connections readers have to the work.

Currently, Mazzarella is writing the second part to the “Destiny Earth” series while working on a standalone novel, “The Awakening”. Mazzarella is set to begin his book signing tour on September 28. The first event will be held at the Moravian Bookstore in Bethlehem from 2 to 4 p.m.

For more on Mazzarella’s work, visit