He’s become a house hold name for his suave moves on “Dancing With The Stars” and his solid acting on popular soap operas such as “All My Children.”
But as Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast Army veteran, burn-victim survivor and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez believes during hard times people need to strongly “believe everything will work out.”
And this precisely is what Martinez’s new book “Full of Heart” is all about. The new author says as cliché as it may sound “staying positive” and “having faith” is what has taking him from a place of darkness and pain to lightness and acceptance.
“You know my story is about change and unexpected change and a lot of unexpected changes happened in my life,” Martinez told Fox News Latino. “Being here in New York and seeing people go through Sandy and the rebuilding process is really difficult, but I say to them stay strong,” said the star adding that this mantra is what he has “been able to implement” for himself.
“The biggest thing I wanted to accomplish with this book is to tell my whole story. For people to understand that there is more to me than just a guy that was in the military or the guy that was injured,” he said.
“I wanted people to see a full dimension of me that there have been hardships, that there has been pain. I wasn’t always smiles. I came from a tough place and to really show people that it wasn’t just Iraq. Iraq was the big thing in my life,” he continued.
“There were a lot of small things that happened to me in my life as a kid that gave me the strength to prepare for this big explosion.”
So what exactly can readers expect from this memoir? Well for starters brace yourself to delve deep into his mother’s point of view of Martinez’s struggles.
“What was tough for me is to see what my mother has been through and to tell her story,” Martinez said earnestly. “When I was trapped inside that truck in Iraq, I literally pictured them giving her a flag and understanding and knowing that if I died, she ultimately would as well.
“I have several inspiring things that kind of keep me going every single day,” he said. “But the main thing why I do what I do every single day is to try to make my mother happy and for her to every single day see me smiling and see me doing great things with my life.”
Martinez began writing the book before taking on the challenge of being on “Dancing With the Stars.” But, coming back to finish the project, he says allowed him to reconnect his Latino roots.
“I went to El Salvador when I was a kid for the first time when I was six years old and I went for five times up until I was 17-year-old,” Martinez recalls.
“I would see my sister and she wouldn’t have the things that I have here. I am grateful to be born here and to have the opportunities to make a life [here in the U.S.] for myself but at the end of the day ‘Yo soy Latino,’ I am a Latino 100 percent."
Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL).
Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.