If you’ve read many author biographies, you are aware that most authors knew at a young age that they wanted to be writers. That’s not the case for Frank Martorana; he never wanted, or expected, to be a writer. In fact, the thought of him as one would make his old English teachers chuckle, for sure. From the time he stopped wanting to be a cowboy, all he ever wanted to be was a veterinarian. He loved, and did well, in science classes, especially biology. Humanities, like literature and writing? Not so much. It’s strange how things work out.
Frank grew up in upstate New York. That’s the beautiful part of the state that is selfishly kept secret from downstaters whom consider anything north of Yonkers to be like darkest Africa. Not knowing about its fantastic lakes and rivers, forests and mountains, farms and orchards — that’s their loss.
Growing up, Frank’s family raised Golden Retrievers. Back then they were actually hunting dogs. With his dad and brother, they hunted pheasants, partridge, woodcock, and ducks — all noble game for retrievers. Truth be told, they occasionally let the dogs flush a rabbit or two, for a little variety. They also hunted deer, and fished for anything that would take a worm, shiner, or dry fly. There were a few sheep and a horse or two around, as well. But the experience that piqued Frank’s interest in animals was working for Stanley E. Garrison, a veterinarian and local legend, in Burnt Hills, New York. Dr. Garrison also owned a dairy farm, and growing up with cows and farm life provides some of Frank’s best memories.
Frank graduated from the Veterinary College at Cornell University one year after marrying the love of his life, Ann Marie. The plan was that he would hire on in a practice for a year or two, make his “rookie mistakes” under their reputation, and then start a practice of his own. To that end, he joined the Cazenovia Animal Hospital, a thriving central NY mixed cattle, horse, and pet practice. The only problem is — he never left. Over the years he progressed from being the rookie in constant need of mentoring, to the old man who has mentored a handful of bright young veterinarians that followed after him.
Frank’s writing didn’t start until his three children were in grade school, and he decided he should set a good example by doing “bookwork” while they wrestled with homework. At the time, he was reading authors like John D. McDonald, Larry McMurtry, and Dick Francis, so he figured he’d write a mystery novel. While the kids did homework, he wrote Simpatico’s Gift. He shopped it around to a bunch of agents and got his obligatory pile of rejection letters. So then he wrote Taking On Lucinda and got similar results. Undaunted, he wrote The Color of Wounds. But by then, indie publishing had come of age, so he took control of his own destiny.
Now, when he’s not working on his next book, he’s still treating animals, fly fishing in the Adirondacks, or making wine.