Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Michael A. Black: Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I am pleased to welcome Michael A. Black to Twelve Question Tuesday.

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
I’ll steal that line from the old Bill Murray movie by saying that “chicks dig me because I seldom wear underwear, and when I do it’s usually something really wild.” Seriously, I’m a very private person, it takes a while to get to know me, and I like to help people.

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
I’m both, actually. I’ve had a variety of both dogs and cats as pets and companions, but at present I only have cats. Dogs require more attention and I’m not in a position where I could give one the care it needs. Cats are more independent and are more adaptable to my current life.

3.  Tea or coffee?
Again, I like both. Coffee in the morning is preferable, but there’s nothing like a cup of tea in the afternoon to relax and contemplate the day. 

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Commando? Hey, I’m not that absent-minded. I wear briefs. 

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
I wrote my first short story in the sixth grade. It was a mystery with a private eye hero and a crooked cop for the villain. I kept badgering the teacher to let me write something other
than the “What I did on my summer vacation” type essay, and she told me one fateful Friday that I could write a story as long as I read it front of the class on the following Monday. I labored all weekend and finished it. After proudly reading it aloud in class the teacher summoned me to her desk, took the story, and scribbled D—Poor work across the top in flowing red script. “Don’t ever try this again,” she said. I was crushed, but little did I know that it was to foreshadow my entire writing career to come. I got my first assignment, deadline, and rejection all in the space of a couple days.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
After I got my first rejection slip—I just didn’t call myself a published writer.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
I’m proud of all of them, but perhaps the one that meant the most to me was an article I wrote on preventing police suicides called “Darkness, Come Take My Hand.” I wrote it in the hope that it would acquaint people with the danger signs of someone contemplating taking his own life as my ex-partner on the force did. I was the last person to talk with him and missed all the clues.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

There have been a lot of them. Getting shot at wasn’t as scary at the time as it was afterward, thinking about it. Most of the time I didn’t think about the danger when it was happening. I almost got dumped over a second story railing during a fight with a big ex-con I was trying to arrest, but once again, I can’t recall feeling fear until after it was over.

9.  How did you end up getting published?  
After about ten years of getting rejection slips, I decided to attend conferences and go to author signings to get advice on what I was doing wrong. It was a matter of getting through the University of Hard Knocks. I got one story back from a magazine with a few words scribbled on the return envelope: Close, but no cigar. Too long. Try again. I immediately revised and tightened up the story and sent it off again. It was accepted and became my first published work.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
I hate zombies. I’d mow through them like they were dead. Oh wait, they’re supposed to be, aren’t they. Actually, I would call Brad Pitt.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
The fine line between daring and stupid is sometimes hard to discern. I’d have to say it’s between using both hands to pull myself up on top of a roof where a bad guy was holding a gun, to wrestling a razor blade out of the hand of a 300 pound mental patient in a small washroom of a half-way house.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
I’d rather be rich. Then I could buy my own fame. 


My most recent novel is Sleeping Dragons, which is a Mack Bolan Executioner novel. The Executioner series was begun in the late 1960s by author Don Pendleton, but has evolving and continued to this day. Although Pendleton passed away in 1995, the publisher, Gold Eagle (Harlequin) has continued the series with several new authors. In Sleeping Dragons Bolan is sent to Hong Kong to investigate the “accidental death” of a CIA agent and finds that some Libyan terrorists are trying to acquire a devastating binary nerve gas, known as the Sleeping Dragons, from the Chinese gangsters and military. Bolan must face an array of Triad goons as well as PLA soldiers in his effort to keep the gas from being used in Tripoli as an international humanitarian mission, led by a beautiful female movie star, is about to begin.

Website: www.MichaelABlack.com

Blog: The Ladykillers Blog (http://www.theladykillers.typepad.com/)

You may purchase my works from any bookstore, Amazon.com, or directly from publishers Oak Tree Press (www.oaktreebooks.com/Shop OTP) and Crossroad Press (www.crossroadpress.com). I also have a new e-book, Dark Haven, available on Amazon.com. I also have three audio books available on Amazon or directly from www.booksinmotion.com

Michael A. Black is the author of 20 books and over 100 short stories and articles. He has a BA in English from Northern Illinois University and a MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He was a decorated police officer in the south suburbs of Chicago for over thirty years and was awarded the Cook County Medal of Merit for his police service before his retirement in 2011. His most current books are Sleeping Dragons in the Mack Bolan Executioner Series and Pope’s Last Case and Other Stories.


Holli Castillo said...

Welcome, Mike. And thanks for joining me today. You certainly have had a host of exciting (and scary)experiences as a Chicago officer. I would definitely want to be on Team Mike during the zombie apocalypse.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

I have to agree with you, Holli, and this is one of the most interesting interviews you've had. Well, recently, that is. All of them are well done and always fun to read. Nice job, Mike. I love your sense of humor.

Amy Reade said...

Thanks, Mike and Holli. Very interesting stuff today! Mike, it sounds like you've got some great stories to tell. I'd like to read your books!

Great interview, Holli!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

That was fun! Mike is a friend and a great writer. If you haven't tried any of his books yet you should. (As you can tell, I'm a fan.)