We had the good fortune of connecting with John R. Gentile and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John R., is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
As an author and wildlife photographer, my mission is to educate, entertain, and inspire. My books of fiction explore our sometimes tenuous relationship with the natural world. I tell stories with flawed, but likable characters who must overcome insurmountable odds to preserve threatened animals and plants, this on a backdrop of rich landscapes. In my writing, I seek to give a voice to those who don’t have one. For ten years, my wife and I led trips to Baja California Sur, Mexico, to put groups of people in close contact with whales and dolphins. Our hope was to demonstrate that these amazing creatures with whom we share our planet have culture, longstanding social bonds, and experience empathy, grief, and joy just as we do. My writing reflects the human/non-human bond that many of us desperately seek. In my wildlife photography, I strive to capture the essence of the animal, and for a brief instant, gaze into their soul.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am the author of a Science Fiction Trilogy called the SOFAR Trilogy (2004 – 2007), and most recently, I have published an adventure/thriller titled Baja Redemption. Baja Redemption is a story that I needed to write based on what is happening to whales and dolphins throughout the oceans. The novel was a finalist in the American Writing Awards competition for the adventure/thriller genre. It is the first novel in the Guardians of Gaia series. I am currently writing the second novel in the series, Ivory Moon, which deals with elephant poaching and funding terrorism with blood ivory. I am also a screenwriter and my screenplay The Canoe, was a top ten finalist in the Feel Good Film Festival in Hollywood in 2010. I have been requested to write the screenplay for Baja Redemption, which I am also currently working on. My photographs have appeared in Overland Journal, Galapagos Conservancy, and National Wildlife Federation.
I think what sets me apart from other artists/writers is giving voice to not only the human characters in my stories, but also being a voice for the non-human beings I write about. I am most proud of my recent novel Baja Redemption in that I wanted it to resonate with people of all ages and genders. The book is getting great reviews, which inspires me to be a better writer. I want five things to transpire when people read my books: I want them to laugh. I want them to cry. I want them to get angry. I want them to be inspired. I want them to take action.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Tucson, Arizona, so there’s no lack of amazing things to see and do. For the first night, we might go and watch a sunset from Gate’s Pass, perhaps with a glass of wine or a beer. The Desert Museum would be a designated destination, especially if my guests weren’t familiar with the flora and fauna of southern Arizona. Another in-city destination we would visit would be Tohono Chul Park, for the plants, great bistro, and art gallery. Since Tucson is internationally known for its incredible food offerings, we would definitely hit some local restaurants like Elvira’s in Tubac and El Charro in downtown Tucson, followed by a trip to Tucson Museum of Art. Most everyone I know and care about recognizes that I live and breathe being around wildlife. On one morning, we would visit the family of bobcats that I have come to know over the past five years, or drive down to Chiricahua National Monument to see if we can find the three bands of coatimundis who live in the valley. We would probably schedule one day for a drive to the Wilcox Playa and catch the late morning/early afternoon liftoff of 20,000 sandhill cranes. Since all of our “Framily” (friends who are family) are exceptional cooks and very eclectic, at least one or two dinners would be planned with everyone bringing a dish.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a shoutout to my spouse of 33 years, Katie Iverson. She is a marine biologist, teacher (taught Marine Biology at Pima Community College for 33 years) artist (paints in water color and acrylics, sculpts in stone, clay, and bronze), wildlife photographer, docent at Tohono Chul Park and editor for my books. She is my best friend, lover, confidant, editor, and travel companion throughout the world and life. She inspires me to be better every day!
John and the Gray whale. Photo by Katie Iverson.