Wednesday, April 18, 2012

World of Writing, Interview

-- Quote of the Day --

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." 

~ (Joseph) Rudyard Kipling

-- World of Writing Interview -- 

Author Robert Mazur joins us for a World of Writing Interview to talk about his book – The Infiltrator – and his life as a writer. The Infiltrator tells the story of Robert’s experience as an undercover agent in a deadly drug cartel. Pablo Escobar ran one of the deadliest and most feared drug cartels in the world. Mazur was assigned as an undercover agent to infiltrate the hierarchy of that cartel and their money launderers. What transpired from his work was hailed as one of the most celebrated stings in world history. Along with cartel leadership, the evidence Mazur gathered brought down the world's 7th largest privately held bank and its senior management.
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Q: Who inspired you to pursue a career in writing?

A: I was a federal agent for 27 years and worked primarily on international drug trafficking cases.  Part of that experience involved my working 5 years in deep undercover within a Colombian drug cartel.  I ultimately became an expert in the field of money laundering.  Because of my expert qualifications, Universal Studios, while researching to find an expert in the field of money laundering to work with director Michael Mann on the Miami Vice movie, found me.  They hired me to be a technical consultant to Michael Mann and to work closely with the actors in the movie, including Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gung Li, and others.  As Mr. Mann learned of my life story, he told me that he would love to make a movie about my life, but that I first needed to write a book about my experience undercover.  That was the watershed moment that inspired me to write my book.

Q: How does writing help you make a difference in the world?

A: I was a cop because I wanted to be a part of making a difference.  After I retired and I realized my experience was never shared with the world, I realized that writing my book would again contribute to making a difference.  The general public has no idea what is like within the underworld, or what it is like living a double life while you try to stay alive by simply using your instincts.  Writing this book gave me a platform to convey that and many other messages.

Q: Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a query letter or project proposal?

A: I sold my book before it was written by finding the right agent, Sterling Lord Literistic.  Finding that agent is a story in itself, but my agent guided me in the process of preparing a book proposal (an overview of the book, a summary of each chapter, one detailed chapter, a bio, and a marketing plan).  Following that formula is critical, and having the right agent get that proposal in the hands of quality publishers is a must.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

A: I operate an investigative agency that employs 10 former federal agents that were formerly employed by various agencies (the FBI, DEA, IRS – Criminal Investigation Division, Department of Homeland Security).  We service clients throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries (primarily law firms and public companies).  I am a court certified expert in the field of money laundering, so I speak on that topic throughout the world.  In the recent past and in the upcoming months my speaking engagements include appearances in Chile, France, Italy, England, Luxembourg, Antigua, the Isle of Jersey, etc.)

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in writing your non-fiction books?

A: Since I sold the book based on the book proposal, I was asked to deliver the finished product in 6 months.  That meant that I only had summaries for the chapters, other than the one chapter I had completed.  I accepted the deal and then had to put in work days that started at 7am and went until 2am the next day.  I did that every single day (weekends and holidays included) for six months.  During that time, I not only wrote my book, but I continued to run my investigative agency.  To say the least, I was exhausted at the end of that six-month process but it was worth it.  My book is now published in 4 languages and the movie rights are in development.

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