Friday, June 3, 2016

Special interview with award-winning writer turned thriller novelist Mark Spivak

Today I have a special interview with thriller author Mark Spivak. We’re talking about his newest book, Friend of the Devil.

During his virtual book tour, Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

A little bit about the author:
Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.

Welcome, Mark. Please tell us about your latest release.
My first novel, Friend of the Devil, is a story that I carried around with me for decades. The plot line focuses on America’s most celebrated chef, a man who has cut a deal with Satan for fame and fortune. It’s set in Palm Beach in 1990, before the Internet age and the era of the Food Channel. Believe it or not, it’s based on someone I worked with many years ago in another city. The story is tight and compelling, powered by a muscular narrative that reveals the nature of the characters and their relationships with each other. At the end of the day, I see it as an exploration on the nature of spirituality---mixed in with heavy doses of suspense and food porn.

Excerpt from Friend of the Devil:
The two young men emerged from the woods onto Highway 49. There were no street lamps, and Joseph was grateful for the moonlight. Slowly and deliberately, they walked toward the intersection of Highway 61. When they got to the Crossroads, the site was unremarkable: a small general store, a gas station, and miles of desolate blackness stretching in every direction.

“Here you go, baby.” Willy stopped a few hundred yards from the intersection and turned to face Joseph. “You on your own. Can’t take you closer than this.”

“Where are you headed?”

“As far away as I can git,” he laughed, “as fast as I can git there.”

“Thank you. I appreciate your help.”

“Well, this wasn’t no charity. You know that.”

“Even so.”

“You got some questions?”

“What do I do? Just walk up there and wait?”

“You won’t be waitin’ long,” said Willy. “The man’ll be along shortly. You don’t need no business card, neither. Trust me on that.”


“You’ll be fine.” Willy studied him carefully. “Shoot, you look like you don’t got a care in the world.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. But I’m here for a reason, of my own free will.”

“I understand.” He patted Joseph on the arm. “You look me up when you open your restaurant, hear?”

“I will.” He watched Willy head back for the woods. “I definitely will.”

“I’ll be here,” Willy called over his shoulder.

Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?
I frequently wish that I were anyone other than me, although I usually don’t have a specific person in mind. Being me can be complex and frequently exhausting, even for me.

What did you do on your last birthday?
I went out for sushi with my wife. Birthday celebrations used to be much more elaborate, but I find they tend to get muted over the years. That being said, I’m not opposed to using a birthday as an excuse for an outrageous indulgence.

What part of the writing process do you dread?
Marketing and promotion. Writing the book is the fun part. When the time comes to introduce it to the world, writers are generally flying solo with little help from anyone.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I used to, but not anymore. For a number of years I found it difficult to concentrate on the work I wanted and needed to do. Some of the difficulty was traceable to the fact that I was just having too much fun, but a lot of it centered on the inevitable conflicts over money and family obligations. Being a writer requires laser-like focus, not to mention a level of selfishness that frequently runs counter to the finer aspects of our nature.


Thanks, Mark!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mark Spivak said...

Many thanks for hoting me today, Lisa. I look forward to meeting your readers and answering any questions they might have.

Rita Wray said...

I liked the except, thank you.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post, thanks for sharing!

Nikolina said...

I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!

Karla S said...

Sounds great,thanks for sharing!