Interview with Mark M. Bello, Author of Betrayal in Black
17 Dec 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Betrayal in Black?
Like all of my novels, Betrayal in Black is a “ripped from the headlines” legal thriller. Here is the synopsis I wrote for Amazon:
Pulled over in America? When you’re white, you might get a ticket. When you’re black you might end up dead.
In a fictional Michigan town, a man is pulled over by the local police. The driver wonders: “What did I do wrong?” The officer asks for I.D.; the driver casually mentions he legally carries a gun. The officer panics—confusion reigns—shots ring out—an innocent man lies bleeding to death and the incident is captured on video.
The shooting becomes the national headline—the dead man is black—the shooter is white. A community is thrown into chaos. Protester on both sides of the racial divide take to the streets.
A widow struggles struggles to make sense of senseless tragedy. She turns to high-profile trial lawyer, Zachary Blake. Together, they dare to fight city hall. Will police lie to protect the status quo?
“Small Great Things” meets “The Hate U Give” in Mark M. Bello’s explosive new social justice legal thriller, Betrayal in Black.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I have drawn inspiration from a variety of legal and political thriller authors as well as authors in other genres. Harper Lee, John Grisham, Daniel Silva, Dan Brown, Scott Turow, Scott Pratt, Pat Conroy and others come to mind. However, the inspiration to actually sit down and write came from a very personal experience, a case and some very brave clients I represented in the mid-1980’s. My young client was the victim of clergy abuse and he and his mother took on a powerful institution, the Catholic Church, in a true David v Goliath struggle for justice. We exposed the offending priest’s predilection for pedophilia and the cover-up of his previous illegal and immoral behavior in prior parishes. We achieved a good result for our clients. I promised myself that I would, one day, write a book about the experience and that experience and promise was the genesis of Betrayal of Faith, my first novel.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides, Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, George R R Martin 5 book Games of Thrones Anthology, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Honorable mention for John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
God—Do you exist and did you really write the Bible?
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is that I write face-inspired fiction, and I can dictate the narrative as I see fit, in accordance with my own sense of social justice, limited only by my own imagination.
What is a typical day like for you?
I still must work for a living. I am an attorney, the general counsel for my own company. I am now a senior citizen and I take time off to travel—I write when inspired to do so. A typical day is spent at the office or at home with my wife. I enjoy reading, movies, and live theatre. Hopefully, we get a visit from one of my four children and hopefully, he or she brings one of my eight grandchildren along. Part of my winter is spent in Florida where I like to golf and play tennis or pickle ball. I look forward to full retirement from day-to-day office routine, perhaps to spend more time writing “ripped from the headlines” legal thrillers.
What scene in Betrayal in Black was your favorite to write?
I choose not to ruin a novel for potential readers. My favorite part of any novel. and Betrayal in Black is no exception, is the end, where surprises may happen, trial or settlement results are revealed, and a few hundred pages of hard work come to a dramatic (hopefully) conclusion. I like bringing a novel home. Betrayal in Black comes to an interesting conclusion—read it to the very end.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
From the Book of Deuteronomy, “Justice, Justice, Shalt Thou Pursue.” The Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Series is all about justice for the ‘little guy.’
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