I’m so excited to have an interview with Michael Balkind, the author of ‘Gold Metal Threat’, a book that I read in its very early days. I loved the book so an interview with him is very exciting for me. Thank you, Michael!
- Hi,Michael! It’s a pleasure to have you on my blog. Would you like to tell us something about you,please?
Hi Bianca, thank you so much for this interview.
A little about me –
I have to describe myself first, as a family man; my kids and my wife are my life (oops – and also our dog, Bode.) Next, I am an author. As far as that is concerned, I am not happy unless I have worked on one of my writing projects for at least a little while every day. It doesn’t matter whether I’m writing, marketing, or working with my cover artist or an editor – it all gives me satisfaction. I am also a big fan of many sports and an avid golfer and skier.
2. Would you tell something to us about your book?
I have three books published, another in the final stages of editing, and yet another that’s about 70 percent complete. So far, except for one, my novels are all murder mysteries with a sports theme. As they say, write what you know, and I know mysteries, as well as a thing or two about sports and, well… a little about murder, but don’t worry, not first hand.
Combining my passions for mysteries and sports has made writing a lot of fun and fairly easy for me. Well, at least the first drafts have been easy, after that, the editing is all extremely difficult. But, without all the editing, I wouldn’t let my work be seen by anyone.
Sudden Death is a suspense novel that was endorsed by James Patterson & Clive Cussler.
Dead Ball is the sequel to Sudden Death and is endorsed by NY Times bestseller, John Lescroart.
Gold Medal Threat is the first in my young reader’s series – it is endorsed by NY Times bestseller, Tim Green. And, Bianca – correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you know someone who loved the book enough to write a cover blurb, too? Yes folks, Bianca read the manuscript and wrote the wonderful cover blurb below! Thanks Bianca! J
3.How did the story come in to your mind?
The idea for my first novel, Sudden Death, came to me while I was writing a non-fiction piece about a business loss I was going through years ago. I had written about 100 pages when I took a break to watch the “grass grow” on television – yes, I’m talking about watching a boring golf match. The tournament ended in a sudden death playoff and, the concept for Sudden Death hit me – hard!
The premises for Dead Ball and Gold Medal Threat were each born from ideas in Sudden Death.
The idea for my current project, The Fix, a college football gambling story, was brought to me by my co-author, Ryan Burr. Ryan is a host on the Golf Channel (after 7 years as an ESPN TV Anchor.) He liked my first book enough to endorse it and asked me if I’d write The Fix with him. I loved the concept of the story and gladly accepted. The Fix will be released very soon. (We also have serious interest from a Hollywood movie producer that we are working with.
4.When did you start writing?
About 12 years ago after losing everything (financially) I had in a bad business partnership; I fell into a bit of a difficult mind state (some might call it depression – I prefer to think of it as the jump start of my writing career.) Having always wanted to pen a novel, I began to write about my misfortune. About 100 pages in, as cathartic as the writing was, my own story began to bore me. Luckily, I took the break that I mentioned above to watch some golf on TV, and even luckier, the tournament ended in a sudden death playoff.
5.Who or what inspires you?
My inspirations seem to change as I age. I was informed on facebook, by an old friend who I grew up with, that I told him when we were in 3rd grade that I was going to write a novel one day. My first “real” inspiration to write a novel hit me when I finished reading Robert Ludlum’s, The Bourne Identity. I have many “favorite” books and authors, but there was something in that book that really sparked my creative fire.
6.Which is your favourite book series or book?
Uh oh! Tough question. How does any avid reader answer that?
So many come to mind, but two that stand out are:
The Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
Jason Bourne is a powerful character; smart, strong, and relentless, yet definitely not flawless. And the dilemma that Ludlum creates for him in is like no other.
I am in awe of Ken Follett, who over the years has completely transformed his writing genre. His earlier books like Triple, Eye of the Needle, and Key to Rebecca, were espionage filled thrillers, and now he writes epics of historical fiction. Pillars of the Earth, World without End, then Fall of Giants have all totally captured me. With Pillars of the Earth I felt that I was working alongside the builders as they constructed a tremendous church in medieval England. Having never really enjoyed historical fiction I am amazed at how enraptured I become when I’m reading one of Follett’s epics.
8.Which is your favorite movie?
While I love to go the movies and forget that the world exists for a few hours, I really don’t think I have a favorite. My taste in movies has changed over the years.
As a young kid, I loved James & the Giant Peach (I will always love it.)
Then, in my teens, movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and most James Bond flicks struck my fancy.
I also loved Brian’s Song
My latest favorite has to be Argo. It was excellent.
9.What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish a book?
First the obvious, if you’ve already written your first draft, then it’s time to edit, clean, polish, and edit again, and then again, one or two more times. Don’t do it by yourself, have others, preferably professionals, edit your work. You can never do enough editing!
Then the dilemma every new author seems to face (me included) is how long to pursue the traditional publishing route before turning to Indie (self-publishing.) I published my first two books traditionally, and now I am going the Indie route. While there are positives and negatives to both, I have found that I prefer having more control and earning more from my hard work. The only problem with the self publishing world is too many new writers publish their work before it’s ready. Edit – edit – edit!!!
10. What kind of music do you like?
Lots – Rock, Jazz, Classical, Reggae, (we just got a new car with satellite radio, and as I was switching the stations, I fell apart laughing when I tuned into a Reggae station called – Joint. While I don’t partake in the green stuff, I absolutely love the music.)
I usually prefer to write in a quiet room, but sometimes I like Jazz playing quietly in the background.
11.Did you ever want to be a mystical creature?
What do you mean, want to be? I am one – isn’t every artist? J
12.How and when did you decide that you’d like to publish your book?
In third grade. Of course I hadn’t written it yet, but that’s when it all began.
Do you have a message for my blog’s followers?
I want to say Thank you to all your followers. First, for reading this interview – Second, for just being a reader. Most authors write because it’s our passion. I would probably write novels even if no-one ever read them. But, I truly love having my work enjoyed by readers of all types. Nothing makes me happier than when a new reader/fan tells me they loved on of my books.
One of the best things a young reader recently told me at a book signing was that my books have turned him into a reader. He said that he never enjoyed reading before, but after he read Sudden Death he realized that it wasn’t reading he didn’t like, it was just the books that he had to read. The fact that I have helped even one young adult realize that reading can be fun, fills my heart with joy!
I hope you’ll all read my books, especially Gold Medal Threat, my latest book that Bianca wrote the cover blurb below for.
“Gold Medal Threat is one of those books that puts a big smile on your face and makes your day better. I truly recommend it to everyone, at every age. I bet my grandma would love it too, because you can’t dislike a book like this. It’s so much fun! I loved it!” Bianca M. Calin
For more information about me and my writing, please visit my website: www.balkindbooks.com
You can also join me on facebook at: Michael Balkind – Mysteries & More
Oh, I just love this interview! Don’t you? Show some love to Michael! He has an amazing giveaway on his author Facebook page. Take a look here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Balkind-Mysteries-More/527879950561481?ref=hl