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Mark Spivak focuses on wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel.
His first book, Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, was published by Lyons
Press in 2012. He followed this with Moonshine Nation (Lyons Press, 2014),
hailed as the definitive book on illegal corn whiskey in America. From
1994-1999 he was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post, and was honored for
excellence in wine criticism “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001
he has been the Wine & Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, and
contributes to a number of national magazines. He is also the holder of the
Certificate and Advanced Diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
first novel, Friend of the Devil, was published by Black Opal Books in May
2016. Set in Palm Beach in 1990, it tells the story of America’s most famous
chef, who has sold his soul to the Devil for fame and fortune.
also has an endless fascination with the American political system and is an
avid follower of Washington politics. His second novel, The American Crusade (a
gripping political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, which dips into
the shadowy world of government conspiracy and political sabotage), will be
released by TCK Publishing on April 4. He is currently at work on Impeachment,
the sequel to The American Crusade.
Welcome, Mark. Please share a little bit about your
set during the invasion of Iraq. The story is mainly told through the eyes of
Robert Hornsby, the vice president and former CIA director, with occasional
flashbacks to an eyewitness account of the Fourth Crusade—a historical event
that was eerily similar to the Iraq invasion, down to some very small details.
It is a meditation on history, and ponders the question: Does history repeat
itself, or do people repeat it?
What inspired you to write this book?
was doing some reading about the Crusades when I suddenly realized that the
Iraq invasion was the instant replay of the Fourth Crusade.
Excerpt from The American Crusade:
the walls of the cave. It was nearing midnight on May 1 in the tribal areas of
Kabulistan, the mountainous and impenetrable regions high up near the
Persepostan border. Salman Al-Akbar sat on a cushion, surrounded by his inner
circle. Fazil Ahmadi, his director of operations, had just finished briefing
him on the aftermath of the Mall of America attack and the subsequent suicide
missions around the United States.
eyes were bright and jubilant. “We have succeeded beyond our wildest
expectations, beyond the reach of our dreams. Allah is most with us.”
dreamed it, it could not have gone better.”
He is in hiding.”
arched toward the ceiling of the cave, and his normally expressionless face was
close to registering hilarity. “From whom is he hiding? Robert Hornsby?”
suspect they took him to one of their nuclear installations.”
in glee. “This is beyond our imagining. Everything has gone off perfectly, with
“Our forces are safe. The loyalty of the warlords is secure, and they will not
will be the Dua Khamail. They will
wage war against them and will surely defeat them. Then, they will restore
Selim Hanjuk to power.”
ruler of Kabulistan. Any war they wage against the innocent population can only
help us. It will bring more recruits to our side.”
topple the government of Kabulistan, or all of the governments of the earth,
but they will never be at peace again. As they fall off to sleep, they will see
us in their nightmares.”
Americans can only immerse themselves in quicksand by invading Kabulistan. They
will never find us, much less defeat us.”
“They forget that the Russians tried and failed. It was their Vietnam. And the
Americans are far weaker than the Russians. They do not have the will for a
Al-Akbar’s fingers worked prayer beads in the darkness of the cave. “They have
many troops, they have excellent weapons, and they have knowledge of warfare.
But they lack the fire of belief, as well as the support of their people. And
they do not have Allah on their side.” He smiled approvingly at his lieutenant.
“You have done well today. And soon we will do better still. Today is the
beginning of the great Jihad. Nearly eight hundred years ago, the East was
ruled by Saladin and the true believers were victorious. That day will come
What exciting story are you working on
currently working on Impeachment, the
sequel to The American Crusade.
When did you first consider yourself a
question: many people consider themselves to be writers, but they need
validation from the outside world. I think the turning point for me was when I
had my first piece in National Geographic
Traveler, since I realized no one could say I wasn’t a writer at that
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
up very early, around 4 or 4:30 am. Most of the useful work occurs before 10am,
but I write continually throughout the day. In some ways, it turns out to be
very similar to other jobs: you have to get to your desk and put in eight hours
or so, but you can take breaks in between.
don’t do anything useful other than write. I have no hobbies. I’m totally
consumed and obsessed by the task at hand.
What would you say is your interesting
have so many quirks that it’s difficult to isolate one, but I’d say my refusal
to outline or do any organized plotting. I just fly by the seat of my pants and
try to let the story tell itself.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
decided at age 11 that I wanted to be a writer.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
in this together, and I greatly appreciate your support.
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!