October, 2011 – Author Brad Meltzer

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Author Brad Meltzer, the Compelling and Consummate Story Teller

By Marla E. Schwartz

 

Many people believe author’s who write political thrillers are very serious-minded individuals, and to a certain extent this is true. On the other hand, combine such a character trait with a wonderful sense of humor, love for one’s family and friends and a great appreciation for one’s fans there’s only one writer who fits this bill and this is the phenomenal Brad Meltzer.

 

Brad Meltzer. Photo by Eric Ogden.
Brad Meltzer. Photo by Eric Ogden.

It was at these packed to the  brim milieus, Miami Book Fair International 2010, Books & Books in Coral Gables and Barnes and Noble in Boca Raton, that his family, friends and fans all waited at the edge of their seats to listen to his every word. This #1 New York Times bestselling author spoke about his books THE INNER CIRCLE (released in paperback, October 2011), HEROES FOR MY SON and his most recent television show BRAD MELTZER’S DECODED.

 

 

 

 

 

This consummate gentleman is always thanking people for their support and is forever grateful to Mitchell Kaplan owner of Books and Books for offering him his very first book signing and the rest is history. And history perhaps should be Brad’s middle-name because he excels at not only telling compelling stories but by weaving them around historical nuggets therefore creating a place for himself within this highly exclusive genre.

It’s no coincidence that his work reflects American historical experiences, mysteries and conspiracy theories because the man himself has such a diverse background. Brad was a member of the Columbia Law Review and became a successful comic book writer who created a six-issue story arc for DC Comic’s Green Arrow; took over writing duties for thirteen issues for the Justice League of America series and along with artist Gene Ha received an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue for their work on issue number eleven. In addition to his other exceptional work in the comic book industry, including his mini-series Identity Crisis in which Wizard Magazine honored him as Writer of the Year, he also co-created the critically acclaimed television program Jack & Bobby. It’s Brad’s unflappable ability to traverse the realms of all these genres that has brought his career to the forefront of a worldwide audience. In fact, Brad has become such a celebrity that he appeared as himself as an extra in Woody Allen’s movie Celebrity.

This Brooklyn-born, Miami-raised, Ft. Lauderdale resident graduated from the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School . He’s the author of The Tenth Justice (1998), Dead Even (1999), The First Counsel (2001), The Millionaires (2002), The Zero Game (2005), The Book of Fate(2006), The Book of Lies (2008), Heroes for my Son {Non-Fiction} (2010) and The Inner Circle (2011).

AroundWellington: Is Beecher White, the Archivist in THE INNER CIRLCE, based on anyone in particular? The actual U.S. archivist, David Ferriero admired the way you combined history, myth and mystery in this book.

Brad Meltzer: Beecher is a combination of real archivists and my own nerdiness, with my own love of history sprinkled in on top. When I was with the Archivist of the U.S., he picked out his favorite line of the book. And it was my own favorite as well. So we history nerds stick together.

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer.
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer.


AW: In your course of writing this book you had access to many documents and places that most people will never see. What have you found more interesting, either in terms of research for your novels or personally speaking, the tunnels underneath the White House or the tunnels underneath Disney World?

BM: I love the underground tunnels below the White House, but I will say, the ones below Disney World were far harder to crack. Mickey and Goofy are sweet, but if you cross them, they’ll make your family disappear in the middle of the night.

 

AW: Did you pitch your idea for BRAD MELTZER’S DECODED, which premiered December 3, 2010 on the History Channel, before or after your book THE INNER CIRCLE was published?

BM: We got lucky. I was working on the book for two years. Then the show for six months. And they both came out at the same time. Total dumb luck.

 

AW: How did you choose the experts: Scott Rolle (a U.S. Army Reserves Major and trial attorney), Christine McKinley (a mechanical engineer) and Buddy Levy (an English professor and journalist), who appear on the program Do you know if there are any bloopers outtakes that may end of up YouTube one day?

BM: I looked for people who, basically, weren’t me. Our team brings very different skills than my own, as it should be. As for bloopers, oh, we’ve got them. Especially the team singing in the car.

 

AW: In the episode titled “2012” a journalist spoke about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She claimed if the relief well had failed the Macondo Well would’ve caved into the sea floor causing a tsunami that would’ve wiped out Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Alabama. In terms of future drilling, do we need to be concerned?
BM: On the show, I think of us as explorers. We don’t tell you: here’s the only answer. Because there is no one answer. We present the varied opinions. But I didn’t sleep easy that night.

AW: Do you know when new episodes will be aired?
BM: The second season premieres Wednesday, October 5 at 10 PM EST on the History Channel. In the new season the team examines questions surrounding topics such as the Declaration of Independence, Fort Knox. Billy the Kid, the Vatican and an ancient relic from the

Crucifixion.

 

 

AW: Your book HEROES FOR MY SON, a list of heroes whose virtues and talents you wanted to share with your son, is very heartwarming and inspirational. Now that both of your parents, Stewart and Teri Meltzer, have I’m sorry to say passed away, what is the significance of this book for you now?
BM: With the loss of both my parents, I’ve been spending far too much time thinking less about life…and more about legacies. What do we leave behind? These books are my legacies in my most hopeful sense. They are my beliefs in book form.

AW: You’ve also been writing Heroes for My Daughter – is it completed?

BM: Working on it now. My daughter asks every day, “Where’s my book!?” She drives me harder than my editor.

AW: How many years does it take you to write a novel, including the amount of research that’s involved?
BM: About two years total, with six months of research before I can even start.

AW: What is your process, do you prefer to write in the morning or evening, for example?
BM: I write better at night. But with a family, I like seeing them, so I treat it as a job and write during weekdays. I haven’t written on a weekend in years.

AW: Are you currently writing another novel?
BM: Writing the sequel to The Inner Circle right now. Beecher lives!

 

AW: In September 2006, you participated in a group effort at the Department of Homeland Security to brainstorm new ways that terrorists might attack the United States. Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, do you think terrorists are becoming less of a threat?
BM: They won’t stop. And neither will we.

 

AW: If you were writing a time travel piece in which two famous historical politicians would meet who would you choose and why?
BM: George Washington arm-wrestling against Abraham Lincoln. Why? Why NOT!?

AW: Do you have any advice for young people that are just beginning their writing careers?
BM: I got 24 rejection letters on my first book. And there were only 20 publishers at the time. But whatever you do with your life, never ever ever let anyone tell you No.For more information go toBradmeltzer.com and facebook.com/BradMeltzer. You can also go to the History Channel’s website, at: history.com and click on TV SHOWS or SEE FULL SCHEDULE to find out more information about BRAD MELTZER’S DECODED and view last season’s episodes.

 

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Marla E. SchwartzA Toledo, OH native, a graduate of Kent State, Marla E. Schwartz is a Senior Writer for Miami Living Magazine, afreelance writer for Lighthouse Point Magazine and the a cultural arts columnist for AroundWellington.com Her photographs have appeared in these publications, in many Ohio periodicals, as well as in The Miami Herald, The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and The Palm Beach Post. She has had numerous plays published and produced around the country. Her short play, America’s Working? was produced in Los Angeles at both the First Stage and the Lone Star Ensemble theater companies, in Florida at Lynn University and at an Off-Broadway playhouse in NYC. Her piece, The Lunch Time Café, was a finalist for the Heideman Award, Actors Theatre of Louisville. Please check out the re-prints of her interviews with authors Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson and Dexter novelist Jeff Lindsay in the October 2010 issue #2 and Chris Bohjalian in the April 2011 issue #3 of Duff Brenna’s ServingHouse: A Journal of Literary Arts at www.servinghousejournal.com. You can contact her at marlaschwartz@att.net.