There are times in life when you know God is moving you in a new direction, but you may be unsure of where He is leading you. It is during these times that we must remember that His plan for our life is always something spectacular and that we always wind up in a place far beyond what we could have imagined. This is what kept coming to my mind when I recently interviewed Boca Raton chiropractor, and now author, Mark Adduci. I hope that you enjoy this quick glimpse into his life story and how he never expected God to turn him into a writer, let alone an author. Mark’s new fiction book, an archaeological suspense thriller entitled Cursed Blessing: Book One of Trilogy of the Chosen, has received much praise and is growing quite a fan base since hitting bookstores and online venues two months ago.
Born and raised in Boston, Mark openly shares with me how he received a frightening diagnosis of leukemia at the age of eight, after experiencing severe joint pain. When doctors realized the Luekemia diagnosis was a false positive, they looked deeper and realized that he had multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder that affects the growing ends of bones. While most patients experience pain, fatigue and early signs of osteoarthritis, Mark also had to deal with doctors banning him from any physical or sports-like activity, as they were unable to know how much pressure his body would be able to endure. This was a major blow to a young boy who wanted to engage in the same activities as his friends. Thinking back to those days, Mark recalls, “This is truly when I began to read a lot; that was my outlet back then. I had an interest in classic literature, especially due to the fact that faith played such a huge part in the characters, whether they had faith or not; it was a major piece of the storyline.”
By the time he approached his teens, Mark was finally given the green light to start becoming active, allowing him to jump into activities over the next decade that he always had wanted to try, such as snow skiing, scuba diving, skydiving, triathlon running, survival racing, kayaking and even riding in the rodeo for two years. Over time, he turned into a major adrenaline junkie.
After hurting his knee for the fourth time in college, he was convinced by his roommate to go see the coach of the football team, who just happened to be a chiropractor as well. A biology major at the time, Mark became increasingly interested in chiropractic medicine after spending time with the coach, and felt that this was the career path God was leading him to pursue.
“As the years passed by and I started practicing chiropractic medicine, I still had a lot of pent-up energy and really started to push my body to the limit. I underwent several hip replacements and knew I couldn’t keep doing the stupid things I was doing to my body,” shares Adduci. “I was doing those things to make myself feel better psychologically for so long, like I had to prove something to myself. I finally prayed for God to fill that void that I was feeling, and the answer I kept getting was ‘you need to write.’ I ignored it for a long time, because I had no background in writing and didn’t even know where to start, but God tends to hit you over the head when you don’t listen, and He gets your attention. Eventually, after I was waking up from yet another surgery, I felt like God was giving me a very clear and direct message, and the first words out of my mouth to my wife were ‘God wants me to write,’ which set this whole journey into motion.”
Putting pen to paper
For those readers interested in fiction writing, Cursed Blessing will take you on a journey filled with one twist after another, and will bring you to places that you never expected. The book revolves around Brent Venturi, an emotionally distant military serviceman whose routine lifestyle is about to get turned upside down when something of immense value is turned over to him, the contents of which can be used for good or evil. Brilliantly written, the book grabs hold of readers, making them feel involved in the rollercoaster storyline that keeps most guessing until the very end.
Looking back on the story, Mark laughs as he shares how he never expected the storyline to go down the road it did in the final draft. “A lot of people have asked me what came first, and honestly it was the characters. I decided who would be the villain, the protagonist and so forth, and I realized that I wanted to bring the aspect of faith into their personalities. Knowing how much my faith has meant to me and done for me, I wanted to have some faith-based personalities in the book,” says Mark. “Once the characters were in place, the plot started to take shape. I’ve always had an interest in fountain pens, and that somehow twisted into the subject of the fountain of youth. At the time I began writing this, I was studying Genesis and was intrigued how long people in the Bible lived, up until the time of the flood. After Noah, the Bible tells us that no one would live past 120 years. My mind went into overdrive, and I started concocting a story based on a secret herb that held the fountain of youth in its power. I also always had an interest in the Ark of the Covenant and kept going back and forth trying to figure out how I can bring that into the book. That’s when I decided to make a trilogy – the first book deals with the Ark of the Endowment, the second with the Ark of the Enlightenment, and finally, the Ark of the Covenant being the third in the series.”
New roads ahead
I asked Mark what his advice would be to those people who have a dream, be it writing or something else, but who perhaps have a physical illness or some other obstacle standing in their way. Humbly, he replied, “I know my disease had made me a stronger person and has blessed me with the ability to feel compassion and empathy for others. I can’t say I never questioned why this happened to me, why did I get sick, but I realized over time that I was not alone, and God always put someone in my path that made me realize I could have had it a lot worse than I did.”
“For my fellow writers, I think the best thing to do is be persistent. This is an industry that can be very discouraging, because of the rejections, but you need to follow your heart and listen to what God tells you. If God tells you to write, then you need to write. It’s not so much about getting published, but experiencing the process and allowing God to work through you. My whole life, all of my creativity was through outward action, not so much through internal thought or putting things into words, instead it was always what I could push my body to do. God turned all of that around for me, and through His help I realized that there are other ways for you to creatively push yourself,” he adds.
Although Mark is thrilled that the book is getting rave reviews, he is still in amazement at the journey that God lead him on. He seems to still be in awe that he is now a published author, recalling, “I honestly had no expectations. Certainly, you pray that it can become published and that people are going to read it, but you never know. To me, the greatest compliment has been from Christians and non-Christians who say that they love the fact that faith is a part of the book. Personally, the greatest storyline in the book is one character’s spiritual redemption through Christ. I love when I’m told that this part of the book has struck someone at the heart. If only one person reads this book and it brings them closer to Christ, then it was worth every second that it took to write.”
Cursed Blessing is written under the pen name, J.M. LeDuc, after Mark’s mother, to whom the book is dedicated. Mark describes her as a “woman of great faith who never questioned ‘Why me?'” about her battle with pancreatic cancer, which ultimately took her life in 2001. Cursed Blessing: Book One of Trilogy of the Chosen is available now at bookstores nationwide, at Amazon.com, and directly from Tate Publishing.