Interview with Mark Zaslove

Interview with Mark Zaslove

What genre do you write and why?
For this book I wrote in the thriller/suspense/smartass genre because I was reading a lot of Robert Crais, Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen and thought “Wait, these novels are fun and easy, and I enjoy reading them, why don’t I do one of those?” So, I did. My next book is more Joyce meets Marquez meets Kierkegaard, so, a tad more serious and less fun. But it uses words with many more syllables, so there’s that.

Interview with Mark Zaslove
Tell us about your latest book.
It’s a fast-paced thriller with laughs. Hopefully lots of laughs. It follows IRS agent Mark Douglas and his IRS buddies as they take on the Mongolian mob, a eunuch hitman named Juju Klondike, some plastic-surgery enhanced terrorists and a partridge in a pear tree in an attempt to find justice for his murdered friend and boss Lila. Oh, and there’s a conman magician, a romantic magician’s assistant, a strange BBQ-lovin’ billionaire, and a deranged and dilapidated ex-Mexican police force drug-sniffing dog, too. So, you know, the usual.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad or good ones?
Every reviewer has been incredibly nice and positive about the book, so I feel very flattered and happy that whatever the heck I was trying to do seems to be doing it. If/when I get a bad review, I have these fun-loving scar-covered Ukrainians I know, big, bruising hands-like-hams kinda people (the men and the women) who all hang out together when they’re not in prison and like to…you know, play with baseball bats and giver-of-bad-reviews’ knees. All as a lark, mind you, as I don’t think of myself as an angry or vindictive sort of person, but that’s probably how I’ll deal with any bad reviews. Or, I’ll get drunk and rage against the coming of the night.

Who are your favourite authors?
I’ve read EVERYTHING (and still do), but when I was younger, it was all the good highfalutin stuff. Nabokov was important to me. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was high on the list. Fitzgerald when I was starting out. Samuel R. Delany’s “Dhalgren” when I was a teenager. I remember reading Terry Pratchett’s imported first books and William Gibson’s short stories before anyone else knew about them. A lot of 20th Century poets. Jane Austen. Dinesen/Blixen’s stuff (second best plot creator evah). Kafka (first best plot creator evah). A LOT of Mexican, Central and South American writers. I don’t know, pretty much everything back in the day. Now I read scif/fantasy and thriller/suspense like eating peanuts. I go through a lot of books. Take away TV and movies but leave me my books!

What advice do you have for other writers?
Write EVERY day. Screw the rules, after a while you’ll realize they don’t work; they’re just there to sell “How to Write” books and give some structure for people just starting out. After you’ve written enough you’ll understand all that stuff is worthless. All that writing is about is creating characters then TRUTHFULLY watching them do what they do without your interference. You write truthfully and not get in the way, and you’ll write just fine. (Hey, I’m still learning that.) Oh, and write EVERY day.

Interview with Mark Zaslove
What's the best thing about being a writer?
I roll out of bed, do exercises, shower, grab coffee/tea/bubbly water and start to work by 6:30am. No muss, no fuss, no people to deal with (until later when the calls and skypes and discussions start), and just the work. My time is my own. Unfortunately, my time is my own and I’m ALWAYS working, seven days a week, and many more hours than 9 to 5ers if you add it all up. People think I have free time, and I don’t.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? is a good place. You can see my horrible picture, too! Whoohooo! I was going for the serious writerly-look. Ha! I sure fooled them! But there is a bio of me, and reviews and interviews and fun stuff like that. Also, for more interaction, there’s my FaceBook author page (, and my Twitter author page, ( and my Instagram (better pics there) author page ( where I try to actually be fun and witty and not too much of a stick-in-the-mud.

Who is you favourite character in your book and why?
The main character’s girlfriend adopts (against the main character’s better judgement while trying to avoid a eunuch hitman’s barrage of bullets at a vet’s office) an old, mangy, blueberry-vodka swilling ex-Mexican drug-sniffing dog El Repollo (The Cabbage…don’t ask). Why is he called The Cabbage you ask? Years before, when the dog was on the force, there was a drug bust gone bad and the ten Mexican policemen were ambushed by a hundred cartel members with machine guns in a cabbage path. The dog went into the cabbage path with the hundred cartel members, and only the dog came out. Hence the name.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
Well, I’d like to think there aren’t a whole lotta IRS main character heroes, so, hopefully, that will be interesting. I mean, the guy’s funny and rowdy and fights for right, as well as extra-specially auditing tax poseurs and skinny jean-wearing hypocrites. You gotta love someone who does that, right? Plus, I think the other characters are fun and friendly and bizarre and sexy, threatening and sometimes a little scary. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but if readers have half as much fun with my book as I did writing it, then I’ve done my job.

How long did it take you to write your book?
The funny thing is that in Hollywood, as a scriptwriter, I’m a structure specialist. I’ve had so many things produced that it’s automatic: structure, structure, structure. So, when it came time to have the freedom of a novel, I – knowing I knew structure – didn’t even bother with an outline. I jotted notes as I went along and did the whole thing in 60 working days. It was absolutely a gas!


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