Monday, January 27, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'Hitler's Silver Box' Allen Malnak

Allen Malnak is the author of Hitler’s Silver Box, a historical thriller. Following medical residency, Dr. Malnak served as chief internal medicine, Army Hospital, Fort Sill, OK, and a clinical investigator in liver disease and medical director of the emergency department at Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital. A board-certified internist in the Chicago area, he was an assistant clinical professor at Stritch School of Medicine for 25 years. His interest in the Holocaust was sparked by the fact that his father’s entire Lithuanian family was murdered by the Nazis. Retired, Malnak lives with his wife in Florida.

Purchase Hitler's Silver Box on Amazon.   

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 
After many years of studying, practicing and teaching medicine, I felt like I had lots of stories to tell and writing about some of the experiences would be of interest to my readers and exciting for me. I took a course in writing fiction, and the novel Hitler’s Silver Box came about almost by accident.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
The perks are the interest of the readers and the excitement of book presentations and signings. The demand is the loneliness of sitting in front of a blank computer screen and waiting for the ideas to develop and come alive on the page.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I tried traditional and found four agents who asked for the full manuscript. Each said it was a great book, but admitted they rarely undertook an unpublished author’s book. So, I then found a small press that published the book.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
I’m very fortunate that my wife was very patient with me. We have a room with the desktop computer on which I wrote the novel. When I close the door, I’m left alone with my work. As for the rest, she was equally cooperative. True love and all that.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
Since, our Whippet Paige and our parakeet Kiwi kindly allow us to live in the house, they come before any silly distractions like finishing the last chapter of a long novel.

What about your plants? Do they actually still alive?
Fortunately, they live only because of my devoted wife. They would die if left alone with me for more than a few hour.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I pretty much ignored them all. Only my wife and the pets came before the writing, and I’d better not say which came first.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
Receiving personal letters from agents saying they were crazy about Hitler’s Silver Box but just couldn’t take on an unpublished author. They were each very encouraging telling me not to give up, when in fact they had given up on my historical thriller novel.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
At my age and stage of life, I found it hard to connect with the social networks. I did use Facebook, but I’m not sure how much value it brought to sales. 

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?
Book is on second printing. Have made use of many marketing tools. Best results from a combination of word of mouth, newspaper and internet reviews and many writing blogs.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
Young people don’t really understand what to them is practically ancient history, i.e. the Holocaust. By reading an exciting historical thriller that happens in this era but contains information about what happened during that atrocious time, they well be educated and entertained 

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I really enjoy reading great reviews of Hitler’s Silver Box and when strangers approach me and tell me how much they enjoyed the novel. Book presentations, especially at book clubs and book signings also bring me great pleasure. The good of writing a novel and holding the finished book in my hands far outweighs any aggravation.

No comments: