Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welcome Scott Pinsker Author of The Second Coming: A Love Story


Author bio:
A nationally-recognized Public Relations expert, Scott Pinsker has worked with professional athletes, musicians, comedians and countless celebs-in-peril, managing everything from crisis communications to reputation management.  His analysis of publicity trends and political brand-building tactics has been featured on FOXNews.com, the Washington Times and Jewish World Review.

Pinsker developed the concept for The Second Coming: A Love Story almost 15 years ago, while attending law school in Washington, DC.  As the author tells it:

“According to Christian theology, the Devil is thousands of years old and deviously brilliant.  I remember wondering one night, if such a creature didn’t want you to know who he was… how would you know?  How could you out-think a creature that’s not only smarter than you, but also thousands of years more experienced and capable of supernatural powers?  We get fooled by ordinary people every day – and most of the time, they’re not particularly clever!  So what prayer would we realistically have to outwit the Prince of Darkness?

Then I had a further thought: If the Devil really wanted to con mankind, he wouldn’t appear with a pitchfork and horns.  All those horror movies have it wrong; that’s too obvious.  Instead, his best option would be to appear as a holy man – and to attach himself to the faith of his target audience.  Because if I were Satan’s publicist, that’s what I’d recommend.

For the last 15 years, I’ve been obsessively researching the subject matter, studying ancient texts and combing through the delicate intricacies of Christian eschatology.  The end-result is The Second Coming: A Love Story.  You needn’t be a theologist to enjoy this “thought-experiment” but it certainly won’t hurt: I’ve woven-in countless clues and subtle references to the identity of the true Second Coming – and to the identity of Satan – throughout.  No matter your faith, no matter your background, this book will challenge you to reconsider the very nature of existence.  And that’s the God-honest truth.”

Scott Pinsker lives in Tampa Bay, Florida, with his wife, two young boys, two rescue cats and his 220-pound mastiff.  This novel is the first in a trilogy; the follow-up, Three Days Later: A Revenge Story, will be released in 2015.

Brief synopsis of your book:
Two men claim to be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Each claims the other is Satan in disguise – but only one is telling the truth, and the reader isn’t explicitly told who’s who.  The United States soon splits along ideological lines, with Red America swearing allegiance to the conservative “savior” and Blue America (naturally) worshiping at the altar of the other.  A furious Culture War-turned-Holy War erupts, with both sides waging a win-at-all-costs marketing campaign to prove their savior’s supremacy.

It’s finally happened: Red America and Blue America are headed for Armageddon!

Adding to the intrigue, the key characters are modernized updates of Bible heroes.  For example, Mary Magdalene is recast as Margaret Magdala, Esquire – an unscrupulous attorney who sells her “services” to the highest bidder, until a self-declared savior rescues her from a lifetime of sin.

But was she really saved?  Or damned to Hell?

And how well do any of us REALLY know the face of God?

Book title:
The Second Coming: A Love Story

Current book or project you’re working on:
This is an epic trilogy.  I’m currently completing the sequel,
Three Days Later: A Revenge Story

What moment or event sparked the inspiration for your novel?
This story is the direct result of a devilish thought-experiment:
If I were Satan’s publicist… what would be our marketing plan?

Over the years, I’ve worked with a vast array of unusual clients – including a Pro Bowl NFL quarterback who was incarcerated for dog-fighting, an ex-houseguest of OJ Simpson, multiple Saturday Night Live alums, plus tons of Emmy-, Grammy- and Tony-winners.  You know what I learned?  No matter their status, no matter their career trajectory, the one common denominator is that they all have a marketing plan: Every celebrity has a specific strategy for activating – and then monetizing – his or her target audience.

For Satan, his objective is obvious: He seeks to induce you to spurn God and choose him.  So what would his marketing plan be?

Well, a creature as old & wise as a 6,000 year-old Fallen Angel would recognize that very few people will do evil in the name of evil – but billions will gladly do evil in the name of good.

So his best marketing plan would be to pretend to be a savior.  And that’s what The Second Coming: A Love Story is all about.

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.

1) All the major characters are modern updates of Bible characters.

2) Many of the minor character are parodies of instantly-identifiable pop-culture icons, especially in talk-radio and cable TV news.

3) Every character is tortured with a specific moral affliction, and often paired with a character plagued with the opposite affliction.  For example, the character of Margaret Magdala is haunted by a purposeless existence and a cold, empty heart.  She’s often paired with a character named Peter Clay: As an addict, he feels and desires too much.

Who is the most complex character from your current novel?
God (and Satan!)

Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
Satan (and God!)

If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Billy Shakespeare.  (I suppose I should still refer to him as William Shakespeare, but after reviewing my story & becoming my friend, I’m pretty sure he’d be cool with Billy.)


What genre and age group does your book fall into?
Theo-Thriller / Paranormal / Mystery

What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
I guess the Bible.  (Either that or the collection of Playboy Magazines I found in my Dad’s closet.  Nah, let’s go with the Bible.) 
Why was the Bible so personally influential?  Easy: Not too many books can claim God as the author.  That kinda impressed me.  I mean, Seuss was a doctor, and that’s nice… but the Lord Almighty is on an entirely different level.  (Plus, Pop yelled at me when I hopped on him.)

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
With your kind permission, may I list four authors – as well as my favourite book from each?

1) Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged

2) Richard Bach - Illusions

3) Frederic Bastiat – The Law

4) George Carlin – Brain Droppings

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t wait to finish reading?
Absolutely.  It’s the tell-tale sign of a great book.  The best stories are the ones that stick with you, even after you’ve finished reading the final chapter – and better yet, even when you disagree with the authors’ conclusions.  I dig that.  It’s what I’ve strived to emulate in The Second Coming: A Love Story.

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Yes.  Reading is like breathing… it’s impossible to stop (and certainly not medically recommended).

The process:

How many books have you written?
One.  (This book is the first in a three-part series, so I’m writing parts two & three of the trilogy simultaneously.)

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
It depends what I want to write.  If I’m tackling something complicated with multiple moving parts, my preference is Diet Coke & total silence.  But if I’m writing about something visceral or emotionally troubling, I enjoy a few fermented beverages & music.  (Which occasionally requires Aspirin and heavy editing the following morning.  Hiccup.)
Music is like a bookmark: Just one song can transport you to a different time and a different age.  Isn’t it funny?  The opening notes of the right song will automatically lead your mind down a long-forgotten corridor… 
Sometimes an author must bloody his scars to evoke an emotional response – and as we all know, alcohol is our PED of choice for heightening emotions.
We authors bleed for you.  We really do.

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?

1) Time

2) Faith

3) Discipline

What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
I’ve learned that reading is a transaction: In exchange for the reader’s time, the writer promises to leave him or her with something so special, the reader’s life will never be completely the same again.  If the author fails to deliver, then he’s cheated the reader. 
That’s what motivated me in writing The Second Coming: A Love Story.  It would break my heart to cheat the reader, and no matter your personal beliefs or religion, I GUARANTEE YOU that this story will challenge your world-view.  Every line and every word has been painstakingly written to maximize the value the reader receives… because if you’re not happy with the transaction, it means I’ve failed as a writer.
And I don’t like failing.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
The great thing about writing is the “Delete” button.  Even if it’s drivel, just start over and continue writing!  Eventually, if you keep pounding away, you’ll work through your mental malaise.  The burden is on YOU not to surrender.
It’s what separates the authors from the wannabes.
Every story has its challenges.  Just don’t give up, and have the confidence to modify your outline when, for whatever reason, things don’t go according to plan.  In the words of the esteemed American philosopher Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan – until they get hit in the face.” 
There’s a lot of wisdom to that: You’ve either battle through the headshots or change your plan.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Nothing moves… until you personally push it.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
The opportunity to (briefly) excise the Demons deep inside my head.
(Or sometimes, just keep ‘em company for a while.)

What part of the process becomes the most critical for you?
By far, the most critical aspect is writing to the audience and not to yourself.  It’s the biggest mistake in the business world, too: Assuming that your personal likes & dislikes are identical to those of your target audience.  It’s the number one reasons why businesses die and marketing campaigns fail.
If you’re writing just to amuse yourself, then please, PLEASE don’t publish it.  It’s disrespectful to the reader.

How long does it usually take for you to complete a book?
Well, this book took me 15 long, tortuous, agonizing years!  Argh!!  If I live to be 75, this book will have devoured 20 percent of my entire life!
(‘Course, the metrics are skewed somewhat, because part of the time was spent developing the total story arc, which will include the next two books in the trilogy.  Still, it’s a lot of work!)

Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
Of course!  (My last film, National Lampoon’s Strip Poker, didn’t – ahem – win many awards.  I blame politics.  Interestingly, I also appeared in the Academy Award-nominated documentary A Perfect Candidate, and I starred in Academy Award-nominated director Brett Morgen’s film Ollie’s Army in college.) 
I’ll keep my casting wish-list to myself for the time being… but rest assured, Scarlett Johansson will be invited to the casting couch auditions.

Which book to movie conversion is your favourite?
The Shawshank Redemption.  Wow… what a masterpiece!

Do you watch a lot of science fiction or fantasy movies?
Yes… in particular, the adolescent boy in me still has a soft spot for superhero films.  (And whenever I get an X-ray at the doctor’s office, I’m always a little disappointed when it fails to give me mutant powers.  Eh.  Maybe next time.)

Do you study science, the planets, history, or anything special to help you with your writing?
I study all of the above, but not just for writing: I’m intensely interested in learning more about the universe.

What, who, and when first inspired you to write?
What inspired me was a love of books – but also a dissatisfaction with books.  All authors hope to capture an emotion, or tell a story, in ways never before imagined.  We’re driven by this obsessive need to take a blank canvas – and then paint a picture of such poignant originality, others are inspired by it.
There wasn’t one seminal moment that led me to be a writer, but a multitude of smaller moments.  I tried fighting it.  Lord, I tried fighting it!  But after the first few decades-or-so, I began to feel like I was constantly swimming upstream against the universal current, exhausting myself to stay some place I didn’t belong.

So I guess more than anything, I became a writer because I had exhausted all other options.

Personal info:
Drink – Yeungling / Rolling Rock
Food – Buffalo wings / nachos
Vacation – Anywhere with my family… heck, I’d follow ‘em to the ends of the earth (where I presume there’s a beach?)
TV show – All-time favourite: Sledghammer! & The Sopranos.  Now: Pardon the Interruption & Game of Thrones.
Movie – Roadhouse (You go, Dalton!)
Animal – My 10-year-old, 220-pound American Mastiff (“Woof!”) Leon
Sport – Football, boxing, politics
Book – Atlas Shrugged, The Law, Illusions, Brain Droppings.  (When I was a kid, I loved Tom Fitzgerald’s “Great Brain” series.)
Comedy – Airplane!
Struggle – Try not to.


How can people connect with you?
Official Website: www.secondcomingishere.com
Twitter: @ScottPinsker

Where can readers find your book?

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