ED- The Eerie Digest is excited to introduce mystery author Michael Balkind to all our readers. Michael, your writing is the stuff that our readers really love to read. Mysteries are the mainstay of our publication. How did you get started writing, and what influenced you to choose this genre?
MB- First, I’d like to say thank you for the opportunity to speak with your readers. I enjoy the Eerie Digest and am proud to have been asked to share my story with you. Now in answer your question above – In past interviews when asked how long I’ve been writing or how long I have wanted to write, my answer has always been for the last 25 years. Well, recently I had an old friend (3rd grade) find me on facebook who congratulated me on living my lifelong dream. He said he remembered me telling him that I wanted to write a book back in the 3rd grade. With all my characters and books filling my head I can hardly remember my high school or college days no less my 3rd grade dreams. My true writing career began about 9 years ago when I had a business crisis and lost almost everything. It kept me up night after night and what does someone who has always wanted to write do when he can’t sleep night after night. Answer – He writes! While I have always loved reading mysteries and knew I wanted to write one, I didn’t know what topic to write about at first. Then, while doing some cathartic writing about my past business problems, I was watching a golf tournament on TV that went into a Sudden Death playoff, that’s when the concept for my first book hit me, hard.
MB- For many years I wrote very boring business documents (brochures and technical stuff) for various companies I owned. About seven years ago I finally started writing for the fun of it. I couldn’t stop now even if I wanted to.
ED- You have a mystery series called ‘The Deadly Sports Mysteries’. Please tell our readers the main theme behind these.
MB- I have always been a bit of a sports fanatic. Not the technical stuff mind you; no statistics, no batting averages, no point spreads, nothing like that, just the love of playing or watching a game, almost any game or sport. Combing my passion for sports and my love of mysteries has made writing very easy for me. Yet, it has also created a bit of a stigma. Looking at my covers gives lots of people get the wrong idea about my books. They really aren’t about sports, they are murder mysteries that revolve around my protagonist who happens to be a PGA tour golfer. I’ve received many 5-star reviews from people who don’t even like sports. The books are filled with emotions, suspense, murder, action and romance, just like many other murder mysteries. The theme of professional sports brings with it, big money and some very big problems.
ED- You had written ‘Sudden Death’. Tell us something about the story behind it.
MB- Probably best if I just reiterate the product description from amazon.com – Reid Clark is a pro golfer at the top of the leader board during the PGA tour; he’s also a hothead with a reputation for trouble. Reid receives a death threat right before teeing off on the final day of the Master’s Tournament, and hires a P.I. to track down the perpetrator. Suspense builds throughout as Reid tries to compete in one of golf s most prestigious contests…and woo the woman he loves…while dodging death at every turn. I was very lucky to receive endorsements from literary greats, James Patterson, Clive Cussler and many others that are on the cover of Sudden Death. These endorsements have helped me and the book get a fair amount of recognition including interviews on ESPN and Comcast Sportsnet’s Daily News Live which are both viewable on my website.
MB- Dead Ball, the sequel to Sudden Death, takes place primarily at AllSport, an elite sports training facility introduced in Sudden Death. Reid Clark and his agent Buck Green describe a charitable foundation in Sudden Death called The Inner City Sport Foundation. The foundation recruits inner city athletes who show professional or Olympic potential in any given sport and brings them to AllSport for training. Many of these athletes had been members of street gangs. They are warned that they must remain clean if they want to stay at AllSport. No drugs, no fighting, no weapons. Combining these athletes with the finest training facility in the world and huge opportunity for fame and fortune proves to be combustible. A brazen murder is committed and the list of suspects with plenty of motive and opportunity is long. Then the body count grows. The sports world is one where all kinds of people come to play, not just the athletes, and rules of the game are sometimes subject to dangerous interpretation. Is murder just another form of competition? Is it no more than a price to be paid as a means to an end? “Where else can you find murder, mystery, elite sports, guns, greed, special ops, mafia, and glamour? Dead Ball has it all! Cutthroat tactics abound throughout the book, the players are many, and the high-stakes world of amateur & professional sports makes for a thrilling read. Dead Ball is full-throttle action from the very first page!” Rai Aren Award winning author of Secret of the Sands The review above is one of many 5-Star reviews the book received including ones from NY Times bestseller, John Lescroart and Late night TV personality, Alan Kalter.
ED-Can you tell us about the publisher for these two novels, and where we can find them?
MB- The first publisher of my books was Sterlinghouse, a small traditional publishing house. Recently I had to leave Sterlinghouse and I re-published them with Telemachus Press & Createspace while my agent is looking for a new home for all my work.
ED- You are also working on a manuscript called ‘The Fix’. Please inform our readers about this new work.
MB- The Fix, is a college football gambling story that I co-wrote with ESPN Anchor, Ryan Burr. The story is an exciting one and we have been told that it will make an excellent movie. My agent from Tribe Literary Agency (division of Wheelhouse Literary Agency) is helping with the editing of the manuscript now and has a few publishing houses waiting to evaluate it.
ED- Is there any other new projects down the road for you, and other genres in writing that may catch your interest?
MB- As I mentioned earlier, I currently have three projects in the works. Besides The Fix, I am working on Stealing Gold, an Olympic Ski mystery and also a young reader’s version of my sports mysteries. Stealing Gold is the third book in my Deadly Sports Mystery series and I am almost done with the manuscript. While writing Stealing Gold, I was contacted by Disney Publishing who asked me to write a young reader’s version of my sports mysteries that they would evaluate and possibly publish. They approved three sample chapters and are now evaluating the completed manuscript. Getting the request and meeting with Disney Publishing was very exciting. I really enjoyed writing this manuscript and have ideas for more books in this series. As you can imagine, my fingers are crossed. I’d also like to welcome everyone to visit my website where you can read my first chapters, enter very unique contests and more. I give away all kinds of signed sports stuff supplied by my co-author from ESPN. I also have Be Named in a Novel contest. I use real names in books all the time. It’s a lot more fun than making them up.
ED- Michael we, at The Eerie Digest, want to thank you for your time and wish you much luck in your future endeavors. Please keep us posted about all your projects so that we can keep our readers up to date with all that you do.