A Conversation with Marty Weiss, author of The Alchemist Agenda


When Charlie Rocklin and his company Gold Diggers Exploration set out to recover a 17th century shipwreck, they discover an undocumented Nazi submarine with enigmatic symbols. Ariel Ellis, a femme fatale historian with a mysterious past, proves that the U-boat contains the key to a formula more valuable than any sunken treasure, and more deadly than any weapon that has ever existed. In this globetrotting international adventure, Charlie and Ariel uncover an accelerating tempest of secrecy, lies, and agendas, fighting not only for the truth, but for their lives. Weiss’s debut novel is a lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn, and shows us that our personal legends may be more real than we ever could have imagined.
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Q: Thank you for this interview, Marty Weiss. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Alchemist Agenda, is all about?

A:  It’s a globetrotting adventure about a nautical treasure hunter who teams up with a beautiful history professor to uncover the secrets buried inside an undocumented sunken U-boat.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A: The characters are all imagined, but I see aspects of myself and other people that I know seep in all the time.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A: I start with a fairly intricate outline but things change a lot once I start writing.

Q: Your book is set in Prague.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

A: When I was in Prague, I wandered around Staré Město, the old part of town, and came across several references to alchemy. I thought about how interesting it would be if early chemists really had discovered how to turn base into gold, and what they would have had to do to protect it during Eastern Europe’s tumultuous and violent past, especially during World War II. I had learned that Prague was the center of 16th century occultism, so it was a perfect place for this adventure to begin. And from there, the hero and heroine venture off to Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Venice.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A: Those cities are all surrounded by water, some of the most integrated water transports in the world, which is an integral aspect to the alchemy mythology in the story.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

A: Jonathan has just learned that trigger-happy treasure hunters badly want the artifacts he found underwater. Ariel has planned their escape to find out why.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A: Charlie’s father looks up at him from the hospital bed, a jaundiced gaze from the morphine infused to numb the pain. Charlie gives up asking him questions about last wishes, concerns, or requests. The old man won’t talk. He never had the gift for gab, not before the morphine, not ever. Charlie takes it personally now, always had; but for the first time, he takes into consideration that his old man’s old man had done the same to him. He realizes that it was all they knew. It had been passed on from a different time and place, and they meant well, they all meant well, but nevertheless, it still hurt, and still did damage. One of life’s great ironies was that good intentions rarely do anything good, unless real change occurs, that is. Still, Charlie wishes the old man would reprimand him, tell him that he was a disappointment, a mistake, something. But he just returns the blank stare. Charlie has nothing but time to ponder this silence, a seemingly wasted opportunity, so ludicrous, it must be a gift, some strange demonstration to relinquish any responsibility or burden that his father knows he carries. On the other hand, Charlie needs something to fill the silence in the room. Anything. His mind races through all the possibilities. And he comes to this: Maybe this is the best that the old man can do, the most he can give— an invitation to his deathbed. Charlie is the only person his old man has allowed in this room. Not Charlie’s mother. Not Charlie’s siblings. Not the old man’s new wife. Not the old man’s new kids. Just Charlie. Just the son he would not talk to. And then the old man grabs his hand as he gasps for his last breath. Charlie can see this in his final expression. He doesn’t want to go. But the old man no longer has a choice as life drains from his body, a violent, horrifying, charge causing his body to lunge and then go limp. Dead. Charlie just stands there staring at his old man. He doesn’t remember how long he’s standing there, just staring, staring right back at his old man. And he doesn’t remember ever leaving that room, physically or otherwise.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Marty Weiss.  We wish you much success!

A: Thank you as well!


Marty Weiss was born and raised in Chicago and decided that he wanted to make movies after spending a summer working on the set of John Hughes’ movie “Sixteen Candles.” After earning a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an M.F.A. in film and television from New York University, he directed national and international TV commercials for major Blue Chip brands as well as TV movies. He helmed his first feature film, “Vampires: The Turning,” for Sony/Screen Gems Entertainment – an action/horror movie that evolved out of John Carpenter’s “Vampires.” It was filmed in Chiang Mai, Thailand and released worldwide in 2005. Weiss has filmed throughout North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Southeast Asia, and has garnered numerous industry awards. His screen adaption of his debut novel, “The Alchemist Agenda,” was the honored with the Best Screenplay award from Amazon Studios and is currently on their development slate for production. Weiss lives in Los Angeles with his wife Elisabeth and children Jasmine and Jake.

Visit his blog at http://www.martinishotfilms.tv


The Alchemist Agenda Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule


Monday, July 1 – Book featured at Inside BJ’s Head

Monday, July 1 – 1st chapter reveal at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, July 2 – Book reviewed and guest blogging at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, July 2 – 1st chapter reveal at Bibliophila, Please

Wednesday, July 3 – Book featured at Book Journey

Friday, July 5 – 1st chapter reveal at Mom with a Kindle

Monday, July 8 – Book reviewed at Miki’s Hope

Tuesday, July 9 – Book featured at Tales of a Book Addict

Thursday, July 11 – 1st chapter reveal at Read 2 Review

Tuesday, July 16 – Book featured at My Cozie Corner

Thursday, July 18 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Tuesday, July 23 – Book reviewed at My Devotional Thoughts

Tuesday, July 23 – Guest blogging at Rural Mom


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