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,
A little bit about the
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

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
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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6 thoughts on “Special interview with award-winning writer turned thriller novelist Mark Spivak

  1. Mark Spivak says:

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

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