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 since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.
Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.
Visit Mark’s website at http://www.iconicspirits.net.
Become a fan of Mark Spivak at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mark.spivak.3
Purchase a copy of Iconic Spirits at Amazon!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing since I was eleven. I have extensive experience in newspaper and magazines, but I also have had several careers outside the literary world (restaurant business, wholesale wine trade, etc.). I think I was fortunate in this, since it gave me a perspective that some writers don’t have.
Where did you grow up?
On Long Island, outside of New York City.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
Anytime during the day, but I find that the early morning hours are the vest. There are less interruptions.
What is this book about?
In Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, I chronicle the untold stories of a dozen spirits that changed the world and forged the cocktail culture. Some are categories and others are specific brands, but they are all amazing stories----stories that are unknown to the average person.
The inspiration came one day when I was thinking about Campari, about how bitter it is and how unpleasant it is to some consumers (myself included), despite the fact that millions of cases are sold each year. I did some reading about the physiology of taste, and realized that the taste receptors on our tongues function as an early-warning system that we’re about to drink something toxic or poisonous. Your brain is telling you, “Don’t drink this---it might kill you,” and yet Campari is considered to be one of the sexiest things on earth. The more I looked into other spirits, I found the same kinds of compelling stories.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My wife, followed by my agent, Kate Epstein. Kate’s advice tends to be a bit more practical and hard-noosed, and hence more valuable (I’m assuming my wife won’t be reading this).
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
I don’t join groups. I prefer to get feedback from individuals I respect.
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
It was incredibly smooth this time around, compared to the bumpy ride I experienced with previous projects.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Here’s my Amazon page:
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Don’t give up! Believe in yourself---you may have to endure years or decades of rejection, but success will come
What is up next for you?
I’m sworn to secrecy, but my next project will be focused on spirits and the enjoyment of life.
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