Tuesday, August 12, 2008



I'm very happy to relinquish my blog rights today to our premier MAN OF MYSTERY, Marcus Sakey. I first ran into Marcus when we participated in an authors panel at the Schaumburg Township District Library in August, 2006, right before his first novel, THE BLADE ITSELF, made its appearance. At the time I was very impressed by his talent and knowledge of the writing business. I still am and I'm not the only one. -- Morgan Mandel

Marcus Sakey’s debut, THE BLADE ITSELF, was a New York Times Editor's Pick and one of Esquire Magazine's 5 Best Reads of 2007. Ben Affleck purchased the film rights for Miramax.

Of his latest, GOOD PEOPLE, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Masterful…a stellar performance.” Film rights have been purchased by Toby Maguire’s production company. Find excerpts, appearances, and contests at MarcusSakey.com.

Sit back now and enjoy what Marcus has to say as Acme Authors Link presents our first MAN OF MYSTERY.


Hey all! It’s an honor to be guest blogging here today—thanks so much to the members of ACME for lending me the microphone. Suckers.

Before I started actually writing, I had an addiction. I know I’m supposed to say that it was to writing, that I would come home from my full time job, or wake in the middle of the night, and rush to the keyboard, eager—no, desperate—to download the stories that were brimming in my head.

But that’s a lie. No, my addiction was to books about writing. Most every time I went to the bookstore, after stacking seven or eight novels I absolutely had to have, I’d drift into the section on writing and browse there. I’d dip into it, buying one at a time, then taking it home and reading it as a sort of balm for not doing the thing I really wanted to be doing.

It’s a common enough addiction, and as they go, pretty low on collateral damage. Sure, my credit cards felt the body blow and my bookshelves sagged, but it beats heroin. And along the way, I read all kinds of advice on where stories come from. One of the most common methods, and you see it in a hundred different forms, was What if?

What if there was one ring that offered the power to control the world, and a force of ultimate evil was searching for it?

What if the Mona Lisa held a secret of incredible proportions?

What if a young boy living with abusive stepparents discovered he was actually a wizard?

And this is a great method to craft stories. It’s created some legends, stories that have become powerful myths. But it never worked for me.

I tried. I’d just sit and stare at the computer and think “What if…”

Problem was, that was as far as I got. Until I learned that for me, it was about a slightly different question. Not “What If,” but “What Would You Do?”

What would you do if you were a retired thief whose past wouldn’t leave him alone?

What would you do if you were a discharged soldier who found a similar war raging in your old neighborhood?

Bam. For me, that was the difference, and those became my first two books. I needed to make it personal. Not only that, where I could, I needed to make it into a central ethical choice.

My new novel, GOOD PEOPLE is about, well, good people, specifically a married couple that’s been trying to have a baby. They haven’t had any luck, and are being crushed by debt from fertility treatments, and that’s straining their marriage and their hope.

Then their tenant, a recluse whose rent had been barely keeping them afloat, dies unexpectedly. And in his apartment they find almost four hundred thousand dollars in cash.

And so the question. What Would You Do?

Sure, it seems obvious, especially to readers and writers of crime fiction, that the correct answer is to back away slowly, call the cops, and pray.

But if it was really you? Standing in front of all that money? Money that seems untraceable, completely unconnected to you?

Money that could make all your dreams come true?

Well? What would you do?

Marcus Sakey
GOOD PEOPLE, coming August 14th
"Masterful…tops his previous two novels.
A stellar performance."
-Publishers Weekly

You're invited to leave comments for Marcus below and/or visit his website at


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome, Marcus,
Make yourself at home.
Morgan Mandel

June said...

OOhhhh, I’m hooked, I’m hooked!

Thanks for blogging with us today—what great advice!


Debra St. John said...

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for joining us today. Now I've got another book on my to-be-read list! Debra

Margot Justes said...


Great premise-can't wait to read it...


Deb Larson said...

Hey, Marcus!
Thanks for visiting with us at Acme! I also ask the "what would you do" question. It's a great tool. Glad you shared it!
Good luck with your latest novel.
DL Larson

Marcus Sakey said...

Thanks for having me, guys! It was a real pleasure.

Now I'm off to wander around bookstores with a goofy grin on my face.

Maryannwrites said...

Thanks for the insight into part of the process. Interesting, and a great lead into your book. I'm hooked along with the others. :-)