Michael A. Black began his police career as a US Army Military Policeman. He subsequently entered civilian law enforcement and was a police officer in a south suburb of Chicago. He worked in various capacities in police work including patrol supervisor, SWAT team leader, plain clothes tactical sergeant, and investigations. He was awarded the Cook County Medal of Merit in 2010, and retired from police work in 2011. Black is the author of 25 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 has written two novels with television star Richard Belzer of Law & Order SVU. Black also writes novels in the Don Pendleton Executioner series. One of these, Sleeping Dragons, was a finalist for Best Novel in the International Media Tie-In Writer’s Association in 2013. His novel Payback was once again nominated in this category in 2014. His latest Executioner novels, Dragon Key, Desert Falcons, and Uncut Terror, are due out in 2015. Black’s latest novel under his own name, Chimes at Midnight, is a thriller set in Washington D. C.
I Am Not a Cop!
IN THIS CAPTIVATING, OFTEN HILARIOUS DEBUT MYSTERY, ONE OF THE GREAT COMEDIANS OF OUR TIME BLENDS FACT WITH FICTION, AS LAW & ORDER: SVU’S RICHARD BELZER’S OFF-CAMERA PERSONA COMES TO LIFE ON THE PAGE, EMPLOYING INVESTIGATIVE KNOW-HOW AND COMEDIC TIMING IN EQUAL MEASURE TO SOLVE THE MYSTERY SURROUNDING THE DISAPPEARANCE OF A TRUSTED FRIEND.
When Richard Belzer meets Rudy Markovich, NYC medical examiner, for dinner in Brighton Beach, he has little reason to expect anything more than a friendly bull session. But in the next twenty-four hours Belzer finds himself in the middle of a vicious street brawl, splashed across the tabloid headlines as an out-of-control celeb, and fearing for the life of his good pal Rudy — who police assume is sleeping at the bottom of the East River.
As Belzer finds himself increasingly required to call upon the resources he taps to portray Detective Munch on nbc, he maintains his sense of humor and carries us along on a rollicking ride through the underworld of New York City. With Rudy kidnapped, or worse, it falls to The Belz to track him down and solve the riddle to the vanishing act.
The lives of Detective Munch and Richard Belzer collide and mesh in I Am Not a Cop! as one of America’s great comics and TV cops brings all of his talents to bear in book form and provides a triumph of the mystery genre.
AND NOW FROM MICHAEL
- What tips would you give someone that is thinking about writing their first book?
I’ve usually tell people who are thinking about writing that first book to quit thinking and get busy writing. I teach a class on getting published at a junior college and tell people about the various types of would-be writers. One type, the idea man, is always coming up with these “great” ideas. The only problem is that he never gets around to writing about them. Another type is the endless reviser. He starts his novel, writes a chapter or two, and then goes back to revise what he’s written. Usually he gets caught in a loop, having a few really polished chapters, but never a completed manuscript. So I tell people, if you want to write, quit talking about it, put your behind in the chair, and do it.
- Why did you become an author?
I’ve been writing just about my whole life. I wrote my first short story in the sixth grade. I wrote an essay about this in a Writer’s Digest book called How I Got Published. It’s out of print, but I think it’s still available on Amazon. The name of my essay was “A Sixth Grade Education.” I guess to sum things up, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And while we’re on the subject, I think the most important trait of anyone who wants to me a writer is perseverance.
- Any new releases on the horizon?
Well, my Executioner novel, Desert Falcons, just came out in June. I write these under the name Don Pendleton. I have another new Executioner novel coming out in October 2015. It’s called Uncut Terror. The working title was Diamonds Aren’t Forever, which I figured they’d change, but they actually use it as a subtitle on the back cover. As I said, these books are published under the name Don Pendleton, who was the creator of the original series and characters. I always try to write a book that I hope he would have liked. I’ve got a thriller under my own name coming out next year called Blood Trails. The last book that came out under my own name was last year’s Chimes at Midnight.
- How did you find your voice as a writer?
Well, as I said, if you want to be a writer, you’ve got to write. The great Ray Bradbury once said you have to write a million words before you find your voice. While I don’t think everyone has to match that number, his point was well taken. As I said, I’ve been writing all my life and you have to keep writing, revising, and learning. I’m always seeking to improve my writing. It’s essential to get good feedback on what you’ve written, and then revise. I use Rolad Dahl’s quote, “Good writing is rewriting,” in all of my classes.
- Tell us about your writing process.
I try to write every day. I always have a pen and tablet with me in case I get an idea. There will be days when you have a million excuses on why you don’t feel like writing, but you have to force yourself. If you wait until you’re in the mood to write, you’ll probably never finish that novel. My procedure is to sit down and force myself to write two pages. When I finish that second page, I reassess the writing session. If it’s not working, I stop and do something else. But sometimes you can write yourself into the mood and continue. In any case, if you do two pages a day, you’ll have sixty pages by the end of the month, and a couple of novels done by the end of the year. Like I said before, if you want to be a writer, you’ve got to write.