Friday, June 10, 2016

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for stopping by It's Raining Books. What group did you hang out with in high school?

It’s probably fair to say that I was associated with the intellectual clique, particularly the subset that was angry and fighting against the system (this was the Sixties, remember, so fighting the system was chic).

What are you passionate about these days?

I’m passionate about women, family, Bourbon, sushi, politics, writing, caviar, travel, punctuality, telling the truth, wine and dogs (in no particular order).

If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d try to be more responsible in terms of personal habits. I had a very long and tough road to publication, and I’m sure most of my obstacles were self-inflicted. Had I been more focused, I think I would have been published sooner.

Ebook or print? And why?

Along with my other books, Friend of the Devil will be released simultaneously in both print and electronic form. I don’t have a preference as far as reading goes, unless I’m traveling---in which case a Kindle saves space and weight. I’ve notice recently that the trend toward ebooks seems to be reversing, so maybe readers are becoming more traditional.

What is your favorite scene in this book?

That’s a tough question to answer, because they’re all in there for a reason. I think the flashbacks to Mississippi in 1947 are probably among my favorites, which is interesting because I resisted including that line of narrative. Toward the end of the book, I like the verbal chess matches between David and the chef. I also like the ending, although I won’t give it away.

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The two young men emerged from the woods onto Highway 49. There were no street lamps, and Joseph was grateful for the moonlight. Slowly and deliberately, they walked toward the intersection of Highway 61. When they got to the Crossroads, the site was unremarkable: a small general store, a gas station, and miles of desolate blackness stretching in every direction.

“Here you go, baby.” Willy stopped a few hundred yards from the intersection and turned to face Joseph. “You on your own. Can’t take you closer than this.”

“Where are you headed?”

“As far away as I can git,” he laughed, “as fast as I can git there.”

“Thank you. I appreciate your help.”

“Well, this wasn’t no charity. You know that.”

“Even so.”

“You got some questions?”

“What do I do? Just walk up there and wait?”

“You won’t be waitin’ long,” said Willy. “The man’ll be along shortly. You don’t need no business card, neither. Trust me on that.”


“You’ll be fine.” Willy studied him carefully. “Shoot, you look like you don’t got a care in the world.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. But I’m here for a reason, of my own free will.”

“I understand.” He patted Joseph on the arm. “You look me up when you open your restaurant, hear?”

“I will.” He watched Willy head back for the woods. “I definitely will.”

“I’ll be here,” Willy called over his shoulder.

About the Author:
Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.

Amazon Author Page:
Barnes and Noble Author Page:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. I look forward to meeting readers, and answering any questions they may have.

  2. Happy Friday and thanks so much for the chance to win your great giveaway

  3. Great post! I enjoyed reading the interview. Ever since I bought my first kindle I've preferred e-books for the convenience but there is nothing like holding a good ol' paperback :)

  4. I agree completely about being able to hold the physical book in your hands, but that's probably a generational preference. Friend of the Devil is available both in paperback and for Kindle.

  5. It's good that your book will be out in both e-book & tree book.

  6. Those are some nice things to be passionate about.

  7. Those are some nice things to be passionate about.

  8. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

  10. thank you for the chance to win :)

  11. Have a fun Saturday and I want you to know how much I appreciate the giveaway. Thank You!

  12. Thank you for the giveaway and all the work put into this.

  13. What is the hardest thing about writing?

  14. The book sounds very intriguing, thank you for the reveal!


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?