This month’s Author Spotlight is David M. Salkin. David was one of my first Spotlights when I first started this blog. It was an honor then, it’s an honor now to spotlight him again.
A lot has happened since then. A new full time career, David has retired from his retail diamond business. Him and his brother sadly closed their diamond store. Now, a full time author and pretty much living the dream. I couldn’t be more happy for him.
David had some new books released. DARK TIDE RISING (Deep Black Sea 2), THE TEAM series are the newest books. DARK TIDE RISING takes off right where DEEP BLACK SEA ends. Something is in the water and it has the taste for blood! After read them, you may never swim again! Scary good books!! I haven’t read THE TEAM series YET. I am really looking forward to them. Military Espionage cover to cover, and I’m sure, full of non stop action and suspense. As I type this …….. David is hard at work on THE TEAM 4.
His FOREVER HUNGER is vampires to the fullest. Running wild in NYC. Brilliant and bloody.
HARD CARBON. By far, one of my favorite books. Was my number 1 book of 2015. Diamonds, the Russian mob, espionage, killings and an epic ending!
THE MOP and DEEP DOWN, I have not read as of yet.
David’s Author Page on Amazon.com has a complete list of all his books, all available on kindle and priced no more then a cup of coffee.
David is also on facebook
And on Twitter @DavidMSalkin
David was able to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a couple questions.
1. It’s only been a couple months, but how has it been being a full time author?
I wake up and quietly thank God every morning. If this can be my full-time gig for the rest of my life, I will be the luckiest man on the planet. I never realized how long I’ve been a writer until I was cleaning up “old boxes of stuff” at my parent’s house. I found a short story I’d written…on that “penmanship paper” you get when you’re learning to write! It’s safe to say I was making up stories since I could form letters. I grew up in a family of readers, and I think reading and writing is a part of my being.
My “new routine” is seeing off my kids to school, (who occasionally get a gourmet breakfast-lunch prepared by their author-chef dad), then I turn on my mellow music (no lyrics, just some Yanni on Pandora to provide background), and then I sit down and start writing. When people ask me now, “So what do you do?” My answer is, “I make sh*t up, professionally.” 🙂
2. THE TEAM series is new since you were spotlighted last year. Tell us about it.
THE TEAM concept came from speaking to a Vietnam Veteran, who told me about a baseball team he played on that wasn’t a baseball team. It was a CIA cover story, and SUCH an amazing story, I ended up interviewing him and making it a modern-day tale. This concept of a team of special operators from multiple branches has turned into my best-selling books, and sales have been happily remaining at the top of Amazon since last June. Post Hill Press continues to shop it in LA for that long-shot dream of a film adaption.
3. Any new releases coming up?
I am writing THE TEAM 4 as we speak. It’s flying along at the moment, and real-world events keep fueling my story. Folks who know me understand that I bleed red, White & Blue, and I spend my volunteer time working with veterans. Military-espionage thrillers are what drive my creative brain, as well as my heart. I love my country, but I’m not very happy with the state of foreign affairs or current politics. My writing allows me to not only vent, but to express some of my own opinions on what’s happening and what needs to be done globally.
4. What do you love most about writing and about being an author?
For this answer, I shall paint my face blue, do some push ups, pick up a double-handled broadsword, and scream “Freeeeeeedom!” in my best Braveheart impersonation. After working retail my entire adult life, the notion that I can now make my OWN schedule EVERY DAY, and just CREATE is beyond wonderful. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach that “Top One Percent” of authors who make big money and are actually financially compensated for the amount of work we all do as writers, but I DO know that I have never been happier in my life than I am at this moment.
5. What would be the title of your autobiography?
It’s too early to write it! I have WAY more to do yet. I’ve always been a super-busy person, doing lots of different things at once. I am passionate about a lot of different, unrelated hobbies. I love to writing, cooking, wine, travel, art, music, good friends, the NY Giants Football team, and most of all, being surrounded by my family. I’ve served as an elected official in my town for 21 years, and love serving my country in this small way. That’s also been a big part of what I do every day.
6. If you could live in a book for a day, which book would it be?
Wow. Now THAT’S a cool question. It would be non-fiction. I would stand shoulder to shoulder with Lewis and Clark and see the wilderness that became America. The natural beauty of this country is awe-inspiring. It must have been amazing to meet the Native Americans and learn something new—SEE something new, with every step westward.
7. With today’s Inde Authors, do you think the main stream authors intimidate / inspire or both?
I’ve met a broad spectrum of writers in the last ten years. And like any other big group of people, you meet all kinds. Some authors are super helpful, and have been amazing and gracious and beautiful people with huge hearts. Others have been flaky or consider every other author their competition. Those folks are probably negative people in every other aspect of their life as well, and I run from them.
As a mid-list author who has had some level of success, I’d like to think that I am here to help, inspire, assist, mentor or offer feedback to other writers. Lighting someone’s candle with your own doesn’t diminish your flame, right? There are 7,5 MILLION books on Amazon with another quarter-million appearing every month. It is beyond competitive and difficult to be “discovered”. That said, does helping a few other folks hurt my chances any? No.
The authors who participate in discussion groups, who try and offer help to strangers, etc—these people will succeed because they feel it inside them. The ones who bitch and complain about how hard and unfair publishing is are correct! And should find a new line of work.
The good news about today’s inde platform is that anyone can publish a book. The bad news is that anyone can publish a book. For readers, it’s very difficult to find decent new authors when there is an endless supply of garbage out there. Unfortunately for me, I get VERY little time to read other authors because I am working so hard to finish book 4 of THE TEAM. That said, we all have our favorites, and the best-selling authors are typically the bestselling authors for a reason… they’re really good at what they do!
8. How do you think the Classics inspire today’s authors?
It’s been so long since I was in English class, I’m not even sure how they teach the classics any more. I DO know that fine literature stands up to the test of time, and great prose will always be recognized as great prose, even when it sounds like an ancient language. In college, I spent a lot of time reading John Milton (Paradise Lost, Paradise regained, etc.) as well as Shakespeare and Chaucer and Robert Frost. While these authors have NOTHING in common with my style of thriller writing, fantastic writing is fantastic writing, period. And, at the end of the day, all of those authors were doing the same thing… story telling!
9. Do you have a favorite place and time of day you like to write?
Mornings! I hit the ground running and will go all day until my brain turns to much somewhere between two and four in the afternoon. I can edit at night, but I dream about my stories in the wee hours of the morning, and wake up ready to get it on paper.
10. Anything you won’t write about?
I don’t think there’s anything off-limits. I DO think there’s an over-abundance of erotica and trash “romance” written by folks who all want to get rich writing the next “50 shades of trash”, but I found that book so poorly written I couldn’t finish it. Don’t get me wrong—I’m thrilled for the author and glad she made a great paycheck! But she opened up a flood of wanna-be authors in that genre now, and I am SO sick of seeing ads for either kinky-erotica novels or yet-another serial killer. And I am NOT a prude. The follow-up to Forever Hunger (which is sitting in my hard drive) is so steamy that my wife insists it has to be “toned down” before I can release it. It’s also “way-back-burner” at the moment… I have 3 books under contract ahead of it!
Getting back to serial killers—crime thrillers sell well, and readers like Police stories. TV is full of cop stories from CSI to True Detective (which I liked a lot)… but how many stories do we need where innocent civilians are tortured to death by some sicko and the cops have to find out who he is? I’m sure I’ll write more crime stories myself, but I try my very best to avoid horrid violence just for the sake of “splatter film gore”. I have a few ideas in my head for books that will be “kinder and gentler” like DEEP DOWN… maybe vecause I’m getting old and soft and I’m sick of all of the violence in the world. In the same breath, the only way to stop the violence is through the total destruction of our enemies, the Islamic Jihadist Radicals who want to destroy everything we hold dear.
11. Do you have a favorite genre that you enjoy reading?
Thrillers of all types. Lee Child, Robert Crais, Nelson DeMille, Ken Follet and Michael Crichton to name a quick few. I actually end up reading a lot of non-fiction when writing, because research is important to me.
12. Do you keep anything handy in case a story idea hits from out of the blue?
Not really. I have my phone with me, so I occasionally jot notes in the note pad.
13. What book are you looking forward to reading the most?
Okay, this is going to sound like a terrible answer, but I want to read BURIED SECRETS. It’s MY book, that hasn’t been sold yet, and I think it may be my best. It’s quite a while away from being ready, but I dig the story and see it as a movie one day.
14. Can you name something that would surprise us about you?
I think authors in general are pictured as “bookworm” quiet types. I’m one of the most outgoing people you’ll meet and I LOVE to be around my family and friends, telling jokes, cooking, and enjoying every moment on this planet. It’s a short trip, folks. Squeeze in every bit of fun you can!
15. What are you currently working on?
THE TEAM 4.
16. Out of all that jobs that you have held, which one was your favorite?
This one! Author! Just let me do this every day forever, and I’ll be overjoyed. I think it goes back to my personality. I’m always the guy telling the jokes at the party. I love to make people laugh and have fun. If I can tell you a story that keeps you up late, makes you laugh, makes you cry—elicits SOME response from you, that makes me happy.
17. What frightens you the most about writing?
Nothing. Writing is fun. I’ll never run out of ideas. I suppose the financial end of the business is a little scary, because at the end of the day, I’d like to provide food, shelter and clothing to my family by writing… but writing itself? Nothing scary there.
Scary is being in Afghanistan, low on ammunition with your communication equipment out and injured brothers around you… making stuff up in my comfortable office? Nothing scary here… unless I run low on coffee.
18. If you could be a character from one of your books, which book and which character?
I suppose I would aspire to be as kind-hearted as Noah Barnes in DEEP DOWN. It’s a story about two brothers, and Noah takes care of his brain-injured brother. I have a brother and sister that I love very much. I’d like to think I always have their six.
19. Ever had to deal with writer’s block?
I suppose we all “get tired” sometimes. When that happens, I don’t force it. I free my mind with something I enjoy, and the creativity will return when its ready. This “rule” that a writer has to write a certain amount every day is a load of horsesh*t. There ARE no rules… which is why I LOVE this craft!
20. How do you come up with Titles and Character’s names?
That’s actually funny… I use friends’ names ALL the time, and I NEVER ask permission. LOL Be careful… you may end up in a book! Titles are tougher. That’s a marketing thing and the title and cover art are HUGELY important. Every time I come up with a title, I hope it’s the right one. The TEAM 4 currently doesn’t have one yet, and I am slightly panicked about that! 🙂
21. How do you keep track of people and events as you write?
I outline as a write. That is an absolute MUST. Especially with complicated plots. I always have 2 word files open. One is the manuscript, the other is the outline and character notes. The outline may only be a chapter or 2 ahead of where I am at that moment, but it reminds me of the previous 40 chapters in order of what’s going on. Staying organized it key!
BONUS QUESTION …. I had made a comment on a facebook post that David posted on his wall …. (word count of current book THE TEAM 4). Started talking about celebrating …
Me …….. How do you celebrate when you finish a book ???
DMS …….Interesting question… probably just a bottle of good red and a day off… the REAL celebration happens after it hits the shelf and sales start moving… celebrate or just sit numb and worry… LOL